Malaysian Python Might Be Largest on Record

Herme Herisyam/ Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force
Image: Facebook

If big snakes make you nervous, it might be time to stop reading.

Still here? You were warned.

Workers on a construction site in Malaysia got more than they bargained for when a giant reticulated python showed up on the job. The crew, working in the tourist destination Paya Terubong on the island of Penang, called authorities when they spotted a python estimated to be eight meters — or 24 feet — long.

For comparison, a two-story house is about 25 feet tall. And reticulated pythons aren’t exactly vegetarians. Though attacks on humans are rare, there are several documented deaths-by-python, both in the wild and in captivity. They are one of the only species of snake known to prey on humans. Just in case that’s not freaky enough: scientists say it’s definitely possible for a fully-grown reticulated python to open its jaws wide enough to swallow a human teenager. These guys won’t just eat you; they’ll eat you whole. 

Creative Commons/Thai National ParkImage: Creative Commons/Thai National Park

Herme Herisyam, a Malaysian official with the department who arrived to capture the snake, told the Guardian it took authorities nearly half an hour to capture the Malaysian reptile.

“It is eight meters in length and weighs about 250 kg,” Herisyam said. That’s more than 550 pounds.

The python died a few days after it was captured, and while the exact cause of death hadn’t been determined, Herisyam said the snake died after laying an egg.

The Guinness Book of World Records title of “longest snake ever in captivity” is held by Medusa, a reticulated python that lives in Missouri, at Kansas City’s The Edge of Hell Haunted House. In the 2011 edition of the record book her size is listed as 7.67 meters and 158 kg.

Creative Commons/Bernard Dupont
Image: Creative Commons/Bernard Dupont

Reticulated pythons, named for the intricate grid pattern of scales on their skin, are the world’s longest snakes. They typically grow to between nine and 18 feet long, and can be found in and around rivers in Southeast Asia. There have been unsubstantiated reports of even longer specimens. In 1912, hunters in Indonesia reportedly shot a python that measured 30 feet.

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