What It’s Like to Own a Reticulated Python

Jules Castillo By Jules Castillo, 16th Feb 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1oeamxaw/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Reptiles

Reticulated python (scientifically known as Python reticulatus) is a known species in Southeast Asia particularly in Indonesia and the Philippines. It is usually tended by those who are into exotic pets. It could grow up to an average of 10-20ft and weigh more than 50 kilograms. It is considered the world's longest snake. Reticulated comes from the Latin word reticulatus which means net-like.

The local name is "sawa"

In our locality, reticulated pythons which are commonly called "sawa" are often sold to reptile enthusiasts. Those sellers that I know usually sell reticulated pythons to the Chinese people in Tacloban City.

My Friend’s Experience

I also have friends who tend reticulated pythons. I got some ideas from them which I will be glad to share.

Tending python would cost you a lot, money and safety. It will really cost you in the long run considering the fact that they almost last forever.

A friend of mine named Mark shared his experience. His father in law tended a reticulated python which he had since 1997 (back when Mark was till courting the old man’s daughter). They gave it out to a family friend just two years ago.

They fed it with live chicken at least once a month. You would know when it's hungry as it raises its head with its tongue out. According to him, you have to be extra careful when feeding a hungry python. It uses its tongue as sense of smell too so you should be in a position that is against the wind direction when feeding. Based on his experience, he concluded that pythons are almost blind as they seem not to use their eyes when catching the chicken for its meal inside the cage. Pythons eat its prey live as it wants the heat from its body. It’s not a scavenger.

The cage that they used which was made of glass (like a big aquarium) has two divisions with the lower portion containing water where the python stays whenever it feels hot. (You may consider providing more space for your python too for more locomotion)

Good Luck

He shared an interesting experience with this python which they named Douglas. He once fed it with a native hen. The python did not eat it. His father-in-law told him to just leave it. The next day, the hen was still alive and it laid a single egg in the cage. A neighbor instructed them to take the hen and the egg out as it could bring them good luck. It sounded superstitious but that's what happened. They let it hatch. They took care of the chick which happened to be male. They raised it well and became a cockfight superstar despite the fact that it's native. They believed that part of the good luck also was the rapid reproduction of hybrid gamecocks owned by his father-in-law. Due to the increasing population, they started selling them and their house seemed like a bazaar for low -priced gamecocks.

More of Douglas

The circumference of the biggest part of Douglas body was like a regular fire extinguisher. It could have grown bigger if it dwelled in the wild as its muscles tend to grow bigger when it does a lot of locomotion.

It was only a foot long when they had it. His father-in-law even let it bite him when it was younger and he said that it didn’t hurt that much. He just enjoyed being bitten. He said that it’s free from infection as it’s cultured – unlike those that dwell in the wild. (I have to believe him for he’s a Doctor). He also takes the python while shopping when it was big enough to hang in his shoulders.

They were able to only keep Douglas (they were originally three however one was given to the security guard of the compound and the other escaped). After four years though, the one that escaped showed up in their back door. They believed that it grew up somewhere near the vicinity.

And I won’t forget

I have another friend who has a young python too which he feeds with baby rats. I have a friend who has three – all in one cage. I had a teacher who brings his python to school even in ordinary days. I won’t forget when I found a long-lost best friend selling reticulated pythons which were contained in his backpack. Back when I was in high school, it was reported that there was a huge one that could be seen sometimes when you go to Cebu by water (its scales were as big as rice winnower). I had a classmate in college who saw one as big as a log that was carried along by landslide. In my uncle’s place, a Pentecostal preacher who was gathering firewood saw one which he described to be as big as the trunk of a coconut tree. You can’t prove him wrong if you saw the hole where it came out and the traces in the grasses. When I was a kid, my cousins took me to a carnival where there was a show of the “Babaeng Ahas” (babae means girl, ahas means snake). There was that baby girl and a reticulated python.

That’s what it’s like to think of a python. How much more if you own one? It may not be venomous as a cobra but you have to be careful when it grows up…longer and bigger…. enough to have you as its meal.

Source Image:
Image 1 - wikimedia commons
Image 2 - freedigitalphotos
Image 3 - flickr
Image 4 - wikimedia commons


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Comments

author avatar Jerry Walch
17th Feb 2012 (#)

A very interesting and informative article, Cowboy. Great pictures.

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author avatar Jules Castillo
17th Feb 2012 (#)

thanks my friend sir jerry...

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author avatar ittech
17th Feb 2012 (#)

thanks for share

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author avatar Jules Castillo
17th Feb 2012 (#)

it's been a while my friend...welcome back

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
17th Feb 2012 (#)

Wow what great information on the Reticulated Python. I would have a hard time feeding them live food.

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author avatar Jules Castillo
17th Feb 2012 (#)

according to my friend, python won't bite if not hungry even if you put your hands inside its mouth... but i wont dare doing so...thanks mr moderator

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author avatar Buzz
17th Feb 2012 (#)

A python, when hungry, can swallow its owner whole; the owner, if a drunkard, can always resort can always concoct a recipe out of it..lol

Great article, kabz!

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author avatar Buzz
17th Feb 2012 (#)

Oh, sorry, please strike out "resort can" there.

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author avatar Jules Castillo
17th Feb 2012 (#)

pulutan Kabz anu.... honestly nakakain na ko ng python....

niloko ako ng mga tambay don samin na nag-iinuman....manok daw yung pulutan...tanong ko naman, bakit puro leeg...yun pala, sawa na kinatay

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author avatar Tess Irons
17th Feb 2012 (#)

Kabz, it's giving me goosebumps. Nakakatakot naman yan.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
17th Feb 2012 (#)

Thanks for a stimulating piece, cowboy, and for the anecdotes on reticulated python. Children have to be extra careful as your area seems to have many as pets.

We had a teacher in high school who was not popular. And he had a python as his pet. He wanted to take a photo with the the pet around his neck. It started squeezing him and he almost suffocated! Luckily, my friends were nearby and heard his desperate cries which they thought was made for fun! But they soon released him from the death embrace of the "pet". Later, some used to joke that they should have left them alone - the teacher did not mend his ways! siva

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author avatar richardpeeej
17th Feb 2012 (#)

A very interesting read Cowboy. A python is a very unusual pet I must say. Thank for sharing your story my friend...

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author avatar Sheila Newton
18th Feb 2012 (#)

Must admit I cringed when I saw the photos. I'm TERRIFIED of snakes. Gotta say though - as far as snakes go - this one's a beauty. Should have had a yellow star for this Mr Cowboy - WOWboy!

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author avatar Songbird B
18th Feb 2012 (#)

I am surprised that no Star adorned this article too Cowboy. I thought the images were stunning, but like Mark, couldn't face feeding one live prey....

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author avatar ppruel
18th Feb 2012 (#)

Kabz Buzz - when I was a boy I loved touching it. It is also edible and I had eaten some of its meat - they tasted like chicken meat.

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
20th Feb 2012 (#)

This is such an interesting page. However, I think the snakes should all go back to their natural habitat. The idea of feeding the snakes live food horrifies me. I checked previously on several sites and also called the Houston Zoo and it is confirmed that it is best for the snakes to have pre-killed food.
Love you Buzz. . .

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author avatar Delicia Powers
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Great information, but not a pet for me, thanks cowboy, well done!

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author avatar Funom Makama
10th Mar 2012 (#)

I wonder where the Star went to...This is simply intriguing

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
10th Mar 2012 (#)

Cowboy: I took the star away. It is cruel to feed live creatures to a python. Perhaps some keepers of snakes come back to earth as mice and suffer the horror of being swallowed by a python.

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