Reticulated Pythons are somewhat
slender for their length & develop a very muscular girth that tends to stay
round, instead of flattening out as in other large constrictors. These giant
pythons are extremely variable, with net-like or rope-like patterning on a
silver or tan-silver background. The dorsal pattern is typically the base color
of the snake and bordered in black and yellow, orange or brown. The lateral
blotches are light in color. The entire body radiates an iridescent sheen.
Wild-caught Retics tend to be extremely nervous and defensive animals that will bite to escape handling. On the other hand, captive-bred specimens often mature into docile, intelligent animals that are a pleasure to interact with if the keeper is properly set up to do so. Acquiring a CB Reticulated Python can make a huge difference in your snake-keeping experience.
This snake is not for the beginner. It is recommended that only advanced snake handlers. Reticulated Pythons generally behave how they were raised. If reticulated pythons were kept by an experienced, knowledgeable handler and treated well you will have a nice reticulated python. If mistreated or abused you may end up with a big snake with a very bad attitude.
Juvenile reticulated pythons seem to do well in smaller enclosures that make them feel more secure; a small snake in a big cage can become overwhelmed & stressed. For large reticulated pythons, a minimum cage size should allow the snake to stretch out at least half its own length, and longer is always better. Also, if you must choose between the width of the enclosure & the height, always choose the extra width, as your reticulated python will appreciate the extra floor space. Remember that ALL enclosures must allow for a proper thermal gradient that the snake can utilize, with a hot spot on one end and a cooler spot on the other. No matter the age of the snake, reticulated pythons are extremely strong and should have a secure cage with a strong lock. Accommodating the enclosure requirements for adult reticulated pythons is something that MUST be considered prior to acquiring one of these giant constrictors.
|Temperatures & Heating|
Provide your reticulated python with a basking spot of 88-92 deg Fahrenheit and an ambient temperature of 78-80 °F. The Nighttime temperature should not fall below 75 °F. A great way to monitor temps is to use a digital indoor/outdoor thermometer with a probe. Stick the thermometer to the inside of the cage on the cool end and place the probe on the warm end, and you'll have both sides covered at once. There are several ways to go about heating the enclosure: undercage heating pads, basking bulbs (both regular daytime & red "night" bulbs) are just a few. With bulbs it is necessary to really keep an eye on the humidity within the enclosure, especially if combined with a screen top, as both will dry the air quickly. Use of a rheostat and/or timers to control your heat source.
Providing proper humidity for reticulated pythons is important to ensure a healthy environment and aid in shedding, but as stated previously too much humidity can be as problematic as too little. First off, let's establish "humidity" as the amount of moisture in the air. To provide your snake with a humidity level of 50% - 60%, you have a couple of options. To maintain humidity you can make a "humidity box" for your snake. This consists of packing a plastic container with damp sphagnum moss (think well-wrung-out wash cloth to gauge moisture), cutting a hole in the top or side & placing it in your python's enclosure so that it can access the box as it needs to.
Keep in mind that if you have a screen top on the enclosure you will probably want to cover it most or all of the way with plastic, a towel or some other means of keeping moisture from escaping. This is also where having proper, reliable ambient temperatures (back to that thermometer!) is important, as warm air holds more moisture than cool air. You want the enclosure to be humid, not WET. A soggy cage can eventually lead to bacterial & fungal infections and consequently, death.
Feed your snake an appropriately sized rodent weekly. A baby reticulated python should begin feeding on small adult mice or rat crawlers. They can eat rats from the time they are young - starting off with rat pups or "crawlers" for younger snakes & moving up in size as the animal grows. At 3', the snake is large enough for weanling rats. At 4', it is typically capable of consuming adult rats. Do not handle your snake for at least a day after feeding, as this can lead to regurgitation.
Most reticulated pythons have a terrific feeding response and are generally pretty easy to convert to frozen/thawed or pre-killed rodents. Never leave a live rodent unattended with ANY snake. Feed at least once every 10 days, especially with younger reticulated pythons. While it is somewhat possible to control a snake's growth rate through maintenance feeding, remember that feeding too infrequently will leave you with a hungry snake that is constantly searching for food, resulting in stronger feeding responses during interaction with handlers. On the other hand, frequent feedings of 1 - 2 times weekly will result in quick growth, so It may be wise to consider how large you wish the snake to get over a certain period of time.