Reticulated Python Care Sheet

The Reticulated Python is the largest living snake in the world. They can be found throughout most of South East Asia and a Dwarf and Super Dwarf form exists.

These snakes are excellent swimmers and spend a lot of time in water. They have even colonised small islands in their range by swimming to them from nearby islands.

This is one of the few non-venomous snakes that has the ability to kill an adult human. Thankfully they are usually quite docile and attacks on humans are very rare.

The genus that the Reticulated Python belongs to is called Malayopython. This genus is native to India and South-East Asia and contains only two species. The other species in this genus is the Timor Python.

Reticulated Python

Reticulated Python Description

The Reticulated Python is the largest snake in the world in terms of average overall length. The often grow to up to 20ft long with exceptional specimens reaching even greater lengths.

However, there are individual locales of Retics that do not grow to such enormous lengths. The Dwarf Reticulated Pythons usually doesn’t grow any larger than about 12ft while the Super Dwarf Reticulated Python generally doesn’t exceed 8ft.

While the Retic is a muscular snake, they are not as stocky as the Green Anaconda. In fact, a Retic can weigh almost half that of a Green Anaconda of the same length.

The colour pattern of this snake consists of a complex geometric pattern containing multiple different colours. Different populations in the wild and captive bred morphs have produced a huge variation in colour and patterning of these snakes.

Natural Habitat and Distribution

The Reticulated Python can be found throughout most of South East Asia. They can be found from Bangladesh to Indonesia and can vary greatly in size and appearance in different regions.

They can be found in countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia as well as on many if the Malaysian and Indonesian islands. They can also be found in the Philippines.

These snakes thrive in a wide range of habitats which is why they can be found over such an extensive geographical range.

They like to live in Rainforests, Woodlands, Grasslands and other humid environments. They are usually found around bodies of water such as rivers and lakes.

They are extremely good swimmers and can stay submerged for a long time. It is even believed that they populated many of the Islands in South East Asia by swimming to them from the mainland.

Reticulated Python Behavior

The Reticulated Python is a solitary snake. They spend most of their lives alone and are usually only found with other snakes while breeding.

They are an ambush predator and will sit and wait for a meal to come within striking distance. They are highly intelligent and will often wait in high traffic areas to maximise their chances of getting a meal.

While the Reticulated Python is generally a fairly docile snake, there are exceptions. They are also very food orientated and you need to be careful not to trigger a feeding response.

Reticulated Pythons as Pets

A Reticulated Python is not your typical pet snake and should only be kept by the most experienced keepers. Their massive size and feeding response could be a deadly combination in the wrong hands.

These snakes require extremely large enclosures and shouldn’t be housed in small setups. If you cannot provide the snake with the necessary space it needs, you should look at getting a smaller species.

This isn’t a snake you should be buying after you obtain your first Corn Snake. It is important to have experience with other large snakes before getting a Reticulated Python.

Reticulated Python Care

It isn’t all negative when it comes to these snakes. The Reticulated Python is one of the most beautiful snakes in the hobby, with more and more new morphs being produced each year.

If an extremely large snake isn’t for you, you may still be able to own a Reticulated Python. The Dwarf and Super Dwarf Retics don’t grow as large and may be a more suitable alternative for many people.

Feeding a Reticulated Python

Reticulated Pythons are known to be very food-oriented snakes and will very rarely refuse a meal. Juveniles can sometimes be reluctant to eat frozen rodents at first, but once converted, they will readily feed on frozen thawed rats.

A Reticulated Python should be fed an appropriately sized meal every 7-10 days. The size of the prey item should be slightly smaller than the girth of the snake at its largest point.

Once the snake has reached adult size, it can be fed less frequently. A feeding schedule of once every 2-3 weeks may be all the snake needs. This will depend on the size of the meal.

Be careful not to overfeed your Reticulated Python. As these snakes are very food-orientated, you can easily think that they are always hungry or you are not feeding them enough.

Try to judge your feeding schedule off your snake’s body shape. If the snake looks muscular and lean, then continue with your normal feeding schedule. If they are overweight or underweight, you will need to adjust your feeding schedule accordingly.

A large water dish should be present in the cage at all times. It is important to change the water regularly and sanitise the dish. This will help prevent the build-up of bacteria which will quickly grow in stagnant water.

If possible, choose a water dish that is large enough for the snake to soak in. This isn’t always possible with large snakes so some people often allow them to soak in the bathtub, especially before a shed.

Reticulated Python Housing

As this is a large, powerful snake, the most important aspect of a Reticulated Python enclosure must be security. A large, secure enclosure with a lock is very important. If they snake escapes, it could easily overpower and kill an adult, let alone a child.

A Baby Reticulated Pythons can be kept in small enclosure measuring 2ft x 1ft x 1ft. As the snake grows, it will need to be upgraded to a larger enclosure. These snakes will likely need to be upgraded multiple times before they are fully grown.

An adult Reticulated Python will need to be housed in at least an 8ft x 3ft x 3ft enclosure. This may even need to be larger if the snake is really big. These enclosure are not commercially available so a custom built habitat will be required.

Most people build custom enclosures out of wood. These do a good job but they also have their drawbacks. They are good for maintaining temperatures and are cheap to construct. However, the wood is prone to rot and isn’t suitable for humid habitats.

An alternative is to build a cage out of sheet PVC. This will be constructed the exact same way as a wooden enclosure but will have the additional benefit of not rotting. PVC can be quite a bit more expensive than wood though.

You must have at least two hides in the enclosure. One should be places at the warm end while the other should be located at the cool end. These hides should be tight enough so that the snake can feel fully secure in them.

Light and Heat

Temperatures in a Reticulated Python enclosure should be around 90F on the hot end. On the cool side of the enclosure, temperatures can drop as low as around 75F.

It can be very difficult to maintain these temperatures in such a large enclosure. Often one heat source isn’t enough so you may need two or more heat sources along the length of the enclosure.

You can use a number of different methods to heat a Reticulated Python enclosure. These include heat mats, spot bulbs, ceramic bulbs or radiated heat panels. You can even use a combination of these heating methods.

Whatever heat source you choose, you must control it with a high quality thermostat. This will ensure the temperature remains constant inside the enclosure.

These snakes don’t require any special lighting. If you do choose to install a light fixture in the enclosure, it must be turned off for 12 hours every night. This will provide your snake with a natural day/night cycle.


A Reticulated Python will do well on a wide range of different substrates. Some cheap and easy to clean options include unprinted newspaper or cut to size corrugated cardboard. Paper towel isn’t practical for adults but can be used for juveniles.

You can also choose to use a more aesthetically pleasing substrate such as Aspen Bedding or Cypress Mulch. These substrates look great but you will need a lot of bedding to fill the floor space of a large enclosure.

You should check your enclosures daily and spot clean when necessary. You should then do a deep clean of your entire enclosure every month or so. There are plenty of commercially available reptile cleaning products that you can use.

Handling a Reticulated Python

You should always handle a large snake with caution. If it bites or tries to constrict you, it could cause serious damage. It is recommended to always have at least one other person with you while handling.

Depending on the size of the snake, you may even need more than one person with you while handling. This is very important to ensure that you can safely get out of a difficult situation.

As the Reticulated Python is a very food orientated snake, it is a good idea to get into a routine before handling. If you open their cage and put your hand straight in, you may be mistaken for food.

Simply pulling the snake out with a hook, knocking on the enclosure before opening it or other simple steps may be enough to inform the snake that it will not be getting fed. The key here is to have a consistent routine.

Reticulated Python Care Sheet

Breeding Reticulated Pythons

A male Reticulated Python can reach sexual maturity at around 1 years of age. This is usually when the snake is around 7 or 8 feet in length. A female takes much longer, maturing at around 4 to 5 years of age and about 12 foot in length.

The first step of the breeding cycle is to reduce temperatures inside the snake’s enclosure. This is usually done around November. Before these temperatures are reduced, it is important to ensure that their last meal has been fully digested. To do this, stop feeding the snake 2 weeks before you begin reducing the temperature.

Retics can have the temperature in their enclosure reduced to the low 70’s. This should be done gradually to reduce stress to the snake and prevent other issues such as respiratory infections. It is important to note than many breeders don’t put these snakes through a cooling cycle and still have great success breeding these snakes.

After 4 or 5 weeks, you can start pairing the snakes. You can keep cycling the pair for 3 to 4 weeks. This should be enough time to ensure copulation has occurred. Around 45-60 days after ovulation, the female will go through a pre-lay shed.

This will give you the best indication of when to expect eggs as she will generally lay them after about 30 days. Female Reticulated Pythons can lay anywhere from 20 to 80 eggs in a single clutch.

Clutch size is highly variable and can depend on many factors including the size and health of the female, age, number of times she has been bred and genetics.

After the female has laid her clutch, remove her from the enclosure before attempting to remove the eggs. This should be done with extreme caution as the female can become quite aggressive at this time.

These large Reticulated Python eggs can be incubated at 90F. The hatchlings will emerge from their eggs after around 80-100 days. Babies will usually weigh around 250g-300g when they emerge from the egg.