Reticulated Pythons as Pets: A Complete Guide with Pictures

If you are considering purchasing and taking care of a pet snake, or more specifically a reticulated python, but you have no idea how to care for it, I have done the research for you.

What do you need to know about keeping a reticulated python as a pet? Reticulated pythons are an interesting species. They have been said to be large and quite aggressive, so that is what most believe. But it is important to note that reticulated pythons are just aggressive feeders, and that their temperament can be quite calm. However, it is not rare to hear of their behavior causing danger to their owners.

Along with their temperament, there is a lot to consider and think about when choosing a reticulated python as a pet. They live for quite a long time which makes them a long-term commitment. And while there are a numerous amount of beautiful morphs they require a special amount of care in order to live a long time. Below will be a guideline to caring for your reticulated python and some of the dangers that can come with it. 

Appearance and Cost of a Reticulated Python

Reticulated pythons are a beautiful snake species; they have complex color patterns when bred by professionals. While in nature they can be olive, dark green, black, white and gold colors. Some say they are so beautiful that it makes up for their suspected bad temperament.

They also come in numerous amounts of morphs which can be purchased from breeders. Three of the most popular morphs are called Tiger and Super Tiger, Albino, and Dwarf. If you would like to know about these morphs you can look at the subheading following this one. 

Here is a chart listing different types of morphs and how much you can purchase them for.

(The more unique the morph, the more expensive it will be.)

Name (Reticulated Pythons)PriceLink to Purchase
Albino Phantom $750 Here
Fire Super Tiger $650Here
Jaguar Fire Tiger $675Here
Lavender Albino$375Here
Phantom$650Here
Pied $2000Here
Reticulated Python $125 Here

Regarding their size, reticulated pythons are quite large, and they are heavy as well. It is important to know before anything the size and weight of your python or to be able to know the size and weight it will grow to be.

Terrariums fit for your python cannot be an average 20-gallon tank, it will most likely be a custom built cage. As hatchling and young snakes, they can fit into a 10-gallon tank easily, but will quickly outgrow the tank.

Reticulated pythons grow to about 16 to 33 feet long and weight about 150 to 320 lbs. The record length of a reticulated python was 32 feet long and it weighed about 350 lbs. That gives you an idea of how large they can grow to be. 

They are one of the world’s largest snakes and a python that is well taken care of in captivity can live to 23 years whereas in the wild they live to about 25-29 years. 

Reticulated Python Morphs

Morphs of reticulated python can be quite popular to own because of their different patterns and vibrant colors. These different morphs do not live in the wild but they are beautiful nonetheless. Within a past number of years, there have been a growing amount of these morphs that add up to over 200 different varieties. 

While it is nearly impossible to list almost all of the morphs, there are few that are quite popular and are known to be rare to own. 

  • Anery Tiger Reticulated Python (video
  • Albino Tiger Super Sunfire Reticulated Python (video)
  • Renick Ghost Reticulated Python (video)
  • Tribal Reticulated Python (video not available)
  • Platinum Sunfire Genetics Stripe Reticulated Python (video)
  • Platinum Avery Golden Child Reticulated Python (video)
  • Platinum Sunfire Phantom Reticulated Python (video)
  • Super Tiger Reticulated Python (video)
  • Sunfire Citron Tiger Reticulated Python (video)
  • Albino Motley Tiger Sunfire Reticulated Python (video
  • Marble Reticulated Python (video)
  • Black Golden Child Reticulated Python (video

Check out these beautiful morphs by clicking the video link. 

Below are three of the most popular morphs in the reticulated python species:

Dwarf

They are a recent breed that has shown up in the breeding industry. Many breeders look to create this morph in order to sell it. It is popular for its small size which can be quite handy when you think of the average 10 to 12 feet reticulated pythons grow out to be. Dwarf pythons grow to about 6 to 8 feet if it has a significant amount of dwarf blood in it. If it has a small percentage it can grow to the average size of a regular reticulated python. 

If you are thinking of purchasing a dwarf reticulated python, be aware that the higher percentage of dwarf blood it has the more expensive it will be. 

Video Link 

Tiger and Super Tiger 

This tiger morph has a pattern that is located towards the mid-dorsal area and has few markings of stripes on their body. Both the tiger and super tiger morph are missing a black stripe that is usually on the head of a normal reticulated python. There are also white spots that are on their side that appear larger and elongated. Super Tiger’s have a tan, yellowish color to their entire body and thin black stripes overtop. 

Tiger: Video Link        Super Tiger: Video Link

Albino

This morph of a reticulated python is considered to be one of the most beautiful pythons in the world and tends to be a morph many people look for. There is a total of three different colors of this albino morph. Lavender, white and purple. And because these pythons lack in pigment they have a darker look to them, with a pairing of pink eyes. 

Video Link

Diet of a Pet Reticulated Python

The interesting thing about reticulated pythons is that they are strictly carnivorous. They have about 100 sharp teeth that are shaped in a curved way that faces the back of their mouth.

They use all their teeth to latch onto they prey and squeeze to keep it from going anywhere. The squeezing will take the breath of the prey away and cause its heart to stop pumping blood, which is how it is killed. 

When feeding pythons can kill their prey in minutes and swallow their food entirely, in one single gulp.

That prey is digested entirely into the snake’s stomach and because the snake has a low metabolism they can go a long period of time without eating. 

Which brings about the topic on how often should you feed your python? Listed below is a guideline to feeding your python by following its weight and age.

As hatchlings they tend to eat more frequently because it helps them grow, whereas the larger they get the less they need to grow and the less they will need to be fed. 

  • As a hatchling, you should feed your python reasonable sized mice every 3 to 4 days.
  • When your python reaches 4 feet you can switch the reasonably sized mice to medium sized rats.
  • From 4 feet to its sexual maturity (which is about 10 feet long with females, and 8 feet long with males) you can feed your python one or two large rats every 7 days.
  • As it grows to about 6 to 7 feet you can then go to 3-pound rabbits, and increase the size of the rabbit as your snake starts to grow.
  • From sexual maturity to about 3 years of age you can feed your python one to two rabbits that are the same size once every week.
  • From three years and so on you can feed your python one to two rabbit every 10 to 14 days, but you can adjust this schedule to however large or small your snake appears.

You may or may not follow this guideline. It is important to note that every owner comes to know their pet better than someone over the internet. It is advised to watch your snake’s eating habits and that way you are able to create your own feeding schedule.

If you are still unsure about creating your own feeding schedule, you can always contact your local vet for some professional advice. 

How to safely feed your python 

Since this species of snake grows to a very large size and holds a great amount of strength the older it gets, you will need help when feeding it. 

Or you can start to develop safe ways to feed your python without getting hurt. Some things to help you feed your python safely are:

  • Always have the prey you are about to feed it within easy reach
  • If you have more than one snake, only feed one snake at a time 
  • When you go into your snake’s enclosure to remove the leftovers always use a snake hook (shield, wooden board, or another hard barrier) to place between you and your snake. 

Some additional things to follow to keep yourself safe when feeding your python are: 

  • Always feed your python pre-killed prey, live prey can be a danger to your python. If you decide to feed your python a large-sized rabbit, that rabbit can scratch and bite your snake. gets 
  • Another top would be that larger snakes enjoy eating fowl (when it comes to fowl it does not matter what kind it is or if it is pre-killed or alive.
  • Even though they enjoy eating chicken it is best to keep it as a last resort.
  • Chicken is usually fed to a reticulated python to fatten it up when it does not want to eat. Some people even feed them chicken to prepare them to breed since they do not eat for that period of time. 

Please follow at least some of the recommended ways of feeding your python since it can be fairly easy to get hurt by them. The snake’s nature isn’t to intentionally harm their owner, but one wrong moment or if you are holding the prey too close to its mouth you can seriously get hurt. 

Enclosure of a Pet Reticulated Python 

1

To begin creating an enclosure for your pet python you will want to make sure you have enough room in the tank you choose.

It was mentioned above that these pythons are known to be one of the largest snakes in the world. They can grow to about 10 to 20 feet long and weight almost over 250lbs. 

There have been some reports of these pythons growing to 32 feet long and weighing a whopping 350lbs. That means you will need a pretty large terrarium to hold them in. 

Not only do you need to buy a pretty large enclosure, but you will also need to figure out a space to place them within your own home. If you are not able to make that space, I would suggest reconsidering on purchasing a snake like this. 

2

Once you have measured and set aside a space to place them within your own home you can go ahead and start looking up some breeder to purchase your python from. 

It is important to know that not every breeder is the same as the next. You need to do some research on which breeders are the most reputable. By doing this you are increasing your chances of receiving a healthy, and well tended to python that does well in a life of captivity. 

3

Creating an environment that is large enough to fit your python in can be difficult, but if you make sure to measure the length of your python and accommodate that you will be fine. 

Since these snakes are quite large you will need a cage that is at least 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide by 6 to 8 feet long. This should also be quite large. Your snake should have enough room to roam around but the tank cannot be large enough for the temperature hard to control. 

This tank should be made of strong material, that is waterproof and can be easy to clean. 

  • If you currently have a baby python you do not need to worry about placing it within a large tank. They have an easy time surviving in a smaller area since they are just starting to grow. 
  • But once your python gets to its full length, you will then want to think about getting a lock put onto its cage. These creatures are very curious and will find a way to escape from their enclosure. 

You do not want your snake being out on its own, so make sure to have a way to secure its tank. 

4

Next up is providing some substrate. You python will most likely need something rather comfortable to be slithering on when it spends its time inside the cage.

Newspaper and newsprint are two of the most commonly known substrates, but there are other options to which substrate to use such as:

  • Aspen 
  • Cypress mulch 
  • Pre-cut corrugated cardboard 

Whatever you choose to use make sure you check it daily for any waste that the snake leaves, and be sure to replace it when it needs to be replaced. 

Make sure that there are no sharp objects or corners within your snake’s cage. these pythons again, are curious and can possibly hurt themselves because of their curiosity.

5

Hiding spots are perfect for snakes because they are not very active creatures, they like to be able to hide away somewhere cozy and dark. So create that for them! 

You can have an entrance within your tank that is large enough for your snake to find comfort in, and be able to enter and exit easily. A small box should suffice!

6

Lastly, temperature! 

This is extremely important to get right if you are planning to own a snake or if you already have one. A snake’s temperature is vital to its health and happiness. 

Try your best to provide different temperatures in the different parts of your snakes environment.  You can change the temperature from 76 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit and that depends on what part of the cage your snake has a tendency to stay in. 

Some ways you can create heat in parts of your snake’s cage would be to install a heating pad or a heat lamp. If you decide on using a fixture for the snake’s enclosure, make sure it is secured so the snake doesn’t have a chance to pull it off. 

Temperament of a Reticulated Python

As hatchlings, reticulated pythons can be quite nervous and this is because they view humans as a larger predator that can attack them. As fearful hatchlings, they may hiss or strike at you in order to protect themselves. But by handling your python often they can become confident in the fact you aren’t hurting them.

Some often think that reticulated pythons can be quite aggressive and vicious creatures all the time. This is false, by nature reticulated pythons are aggressive feeders. So be aware that every time you open the cage they will be thinking of food. 

Some advice to handling your python would be to first use a paper toilet roll to pet the top of their head, to show them that you have no intention of feeding them. Once their head moves away and any signs of them looking to strike or bite you are gone you can proceed to handle them by hand.

Be sure to have another adult present if the python is significantly larger than you can handle. They can also help with keeping the pythons head away from yours and anyone that may be nearby. 

Watching your Python’s Health 

This is something you should keep watch of like any other pet you may own. Pythons can become quite susceptible to diseases and other health problems that could kill them. 

If you seem to notice something odd about your snake, take it upon yourself to perform some first aid but it might be best to take your snake into your local vet for further observation. 

If you snake seems to be healthy right now, here are some things to look out for in the future. By having preparation in what your snake may be suffering from you can make a quick judgment to whether you should take them into the vet. 

Parasites

Some captive snakes, like the one you have, are likely to get mites (which are known to attach to the body of the snake, and they fill themselves with the snake’s blood by puncturing their skin) and other external parasites.

If you notice these little parasites crawling on your snake’s skin  (they can look red, black or white) make sure to soak your snake in a warm bath for a few hours to get the mites to fall off.

Once they do, and your snake appears clean you can disinfect the enclosure. 

Respiratory infections

More specifically Pneumonia is something that can be quite common in reticulated pythons. It can be easily prevented by making sure the heat gradient in their enclosure is set properly. 

some ways to know if your python has pneumonia is by listening to their breathe. If it sounds wheezy, they might have it and if they have their head elevated. 

Foaming from the snake’s mouth and lower throat is another symptom but this is it is more advanced. If this is the case, contact your vet immediately. 

Inclusion Body Disease (IBD)

This disease is very serious and deadly for your snake. It tends to affect pythons and boa constrictors the most. Snakes that carry this virus, (like HIV can be carried in humans), and it is a painful death. 

The snake may start showing signs through some neurological problems such as “stargazing”, which is when the snake twists its head and neck upward to look at the sky, as well as refusing to eat. Or even if it does eat, it will regurgitate its food. 

What Happens When Your Python Bites you?

A reticulated python can bite but it is not a serious danger to worry about. Sure, it will be painful for the time being until it heals but it is important to keep in mind that you will not die from a direct bite. 

Most bites from snakes can be pretty painful simply from the bite, but there have not been any serious problems that have been caused by a snake bite. Unless, of course, the snake is poisonous. Then the bite could be quite dangerous. 

In this case, a reticulated python is not poisonous. But keep in mind that if you leave a bite untreated it can become infected. 

One thing that needs to be known about owning a reticulated python as a pet is that you need to be aware of some of its constricting tendencies.

Since these creatures constrict their food before they eat it, be sure to constantly feed your snake. It isn’t unknown for these creatures to constrict their owners to death. 

They have a great amount of strength that can cause an adult man to have trouble keeping them off. 

There have been cases of them to cause deaths both in the wild and even in captivity. In those cases, they can consume people but then again those cases have been rare.

Related Questions 

How long can a garter snake get? Garter snakes are relatively small, they grow to about 23 to 30 inches long but there have been some cases where they grow to about 5 feet. Can a garter snake hurt you?

Do all snakes have teeth? Most snakes have at least four rows of teeth on top and two rows on the bottom. Though not all snakes have fangs. Only the poisonous snakes have fangs.

Do snakes eat their babies? No, snakes do not eat their babies. Some snakes take care of their eggs for a small amount of time after they have hatched. But most snakes do not take care of their eggs, once laid they leave them behind. 

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