Discover the Largest Snake Found in Vietnam

Written by Colby Maxwell
Published: June 7, 2022
Image Credit Opayaza12/Shutterstock.com
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Southeast Asia is home to some of the most exotic wildlife on the planet. Among that diversity are a plethora of snakes, especially large ones. In fact, the longest species of snake on record resides across Southeast Asia and in the country of Vietnam! Today, we are going to take a look at this interesting snake and see what we can learn. Let’s discover the largest snake found in Vietnam!

What is the largest snake found in Vietnam?

Discover the Largest Snake Found in Vietnam
The reticulated python is the longest snake in all of Asia, including Vietnam.

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The largest snake found in Vietnam is the reticulated python.

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Southeast Asia is home to an incredible variety of snakes, but of the 200 species that live in Vietnam, only one can be the largest. The reticulated python is easily the largest snake species in Vietnam and is in the running for the longest snake in the world. Reticulated pythons get their name from the genetic patterning that creates vivid patterns across their backs. The patterns resemble a colorful net, and since “reticulation” means a “formation of interlacing lines,” the name reticulated python stuck!

There are three subspecies that have been proposed by scientists. The different species are separated by geography but still belong under the larger binomial name Malayopython reticulatus (reticulated python). The three subspecies are:

  • M. r. reticulatus – The asiatic reticulated python
  • M. r. jampeanus – Kayaudi reticulated python or Tanahjampean reticulated python
  • M. r. saputrai  – Selayer reticulated python

In addition to these three subspecies, additional dwarf subspecies occur.

How big do reticulated pythons get?

Discover the Largest Snake Found in Vietnam
Reticulated pythons can easily grow over 20 feet long.

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The reticulated python is the largest snake native in Asia and is listed among the largest snakes in the world. On average, reticulated pythons measure between 4 ft 11 in and 21 ft 4 in. Additionally, they are known to weigh between 2 lbs and 165 lbs, depending on their length. As a general rule, pythons longer than 19 ft 8 in are quite rare but still occur in the wild.

A few individuals have gone into the running for the longest reticulated python to ever live. One specimen was captured in Balikpapan, Indonesia, measured 22 ft 10 in, and weighed 130 lbs, despite not eating for three months. A captive reticulated python was recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records. It measured a whopping 25 ft 2 in and weighed 350 lbs. Captive pythons are usually overweight and obese, however, and don’t have measurements comparable to those in the wild.

Reticulated pythons are listed as the longest species of snake in the world and are among the top three heaviest snakes in the world. Currently, the green anaconda is listed as the heaviest snake in the world, and the Burmese python is listed as the second-heaviest. The reticulated python comes in third.

Where do reticulated pythons live?

Reticulated pythons are native to Southeast Asia and the surrounding islands. They can be found in South and Southeast Asia in the Nicobar Islands, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Indo-Australian Archipelago, and the Philippines. Each of the three subspecies has a specific range within their global distribution, helping to classify them.

Within their range, reticulated pythons have varied habitat preferences. They have been found in rainforests, grasslands, woodlands, and more. Still, they generally prefer locations near water, particularly streams, lakes, and rivers. Due to their swimming prowess, they have colonized many islands in the surrounding regions. Reticulated pythons have even been seen far out at sea, looking for more habitats to inhabit.

What prey do reticulated pythons eat?

Discover the Largest Snake Found in Vietnam
The reticulated python can eat prey that weighs as much as itself.

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Reticulated pythons are ambush predators that use constriction to kill their prey. Due to their size, they can take down some of the largest animals that snakes are known to kill. Most of their diet is made up of mammals and birds, but the exact diet depends on their size.

Small pythons are known to eat rats, rodents, bats, and shrews. When they grow later, they are known to regularly eat civets, binturong, monkeys, other primates, pigs, and deer. Prey weighing up to 50 lbs has been recorded being killed and eaten by a reticulated python.

Are reticulated pythons dangerous to humans?

Of all the nonvenomous snakes in the world, only a few select species pose a threat to humans. Among those few species are reticulated pythons. When reticulated pythons are fully grown, they are known to attack humans and have a rather aggressive nature. Due to their size, an adult python is able to kill and potentially eat an adult human. In fact, there have been documented cases of pythons killing and eating humans. Generally, only teenagers and children are at the most risk, but plenty of adults have been killed as well.

Can you keep a reticulated python as a pet?

Discover the Largest Snake Found in Vietnam
Reticulated pythons are often kept as pets by reptile enthusiasts. (Children’s python shown above).

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Despite the inherent risks associated with owning a massive snake with the ability to kill a human, people still own reticulated pythons as pets! In fact, captive breeding of reticulated pythons has increased in recent years as people look for rare genetic colorations such as the tiger and the albino morph.

Owning a reticulated python as a pet is dangerous and should only be attempted by people with experience handling large constrictors. Even if the risk of death is low, bites can be serious enough to require stitches. Pythons are available online in the United States, sometimes for as little as $175.

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