A giant python was found lying under a fallen tree at a construction area in Penang. Is this the world’s longest snake? According to Malay Mail Online, the massive reticulated python – believed to be between 7.5m to 8m and weighing 250kg – could set a new record as the longest snake ever to be caught.
Unfortunately, in a sad development, it was reported that the famous python died in captivity after laying an egg.
A representative from the Civil Defence Department (JPAM) told BBC News that the snake’s imprisonment and unwanted attention over the past few days likely compounded the stress of laying eggs. The Malaysian snake was scheduled to be transferred to the government’s Department of Wildlife before it died.
The python drew international attention after it was discovered by construction workers near their work site in Paya Terubong last Thursday (7th April) evening.
“It is the largest and longest python caught by the department in Penang so far. Six of them had to walk about 100m from the nearest road to reach the spot. They found the snake under a fallen tree and took more than 30 minutes to bring it down to a safe place,” Mr Herme Herisyam, operations chief for Penang’s JPAM told The Star.
Stephen Secor, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama, commented that a snake that large could easily lay up to 75 eggs at one go. Could the process of laying eggs have contributed to the reptile’s death?
“Snakes have two oviducts (structures that pass eggs), but a lodged egg can block the other eggs that have yet to be laid. The blockage can cause medical problems, sometimes even death,” Secor said. An animal autopsy would certainly help clarify matters and to see whether more eggs were left inside of the snake.
Alternatively, the python could have died because it was traumatised from its capture.
A 7.6m long python named Medusa is currently the record holder for the longest snake in captivity. She is housed at an attraction called “The Edge of Hell Haunted House” in Kansas City. There are other reports of larger snakes, some as long as 10m, but many are unverified.