Talk:Reticulated python

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Stopping an attack[edit]

If a person is ever attacked there are a few easy things that you can do to ward off the snake. The first one is to get alcohol and pour it over the wound and into the snakes mouth, causing it to release almost immediately. The next thing you can do is get warm to hot water and pour it over the snake and this should also make it let go almost immediately. The final thing to do only works on the family Boidae, take the tail about 4-5 inches up and bend it backwards, causing it to let go.

I removed the above text from the article. It is very interesting and probably true but it is hard to verify. Furthermore, is there a liability issue involved? Please advise. Comatose51 01:22, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

No liability issue - every single page of Wikipedia has a link to Wikipedia:General_disclaimer at the bottom. True and/or verifiable? I don't know. I think you did the right thing to move it here. FreplySpang (talk) 01:27, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Report of 49-foot retic[edit]

Just a story you might want to keep an eye on a possible 49ft Retic http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3845750/ns/world_news/t/-foot-python-captured-indonesia/#.T6rGOOuZ3k8 QueenAlexandria (talk) 20:39, 09 May 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, but that one's come and gone - when someone went out there with a tape measure, it wasn't even 20 feet, IIRC, and certainly nowhere near 50 feet. Exactly why media reports are not reliable sources for this topic. HCA (talk) 20:14, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

I disagree with the above:[edit]

I do not agree with removing this section and merely discarding it. I think it should be investigated and if found correct, returned. My reason is that if someone is bitten by a pet snake (or in some circumstances a wild one -- especially when snake-catching) and does not know these methods beforehand, they are liable to panic and, despite preferring not to, use brute force against the animal injuring it, and probably themselves, unnecessarily. If the methods do work, they are easy to learn, prepare for, and use.

As an example of what I mean see the video at :

     video deleted

This is a group of policemen who are trying to manhandle a large anaconda (not reticulated python) into a cage. One is badly bitten and another is bitten mildly. Had they come pre-prepared with a bottle of alcohol (ethyl, hopefully rather than methyl, but possibly also isopropyl if it works) to deal with eventualities like this, the release of the man's arm would have been easier and the snake less beaten up. Throwing mud over it's eyes before picking it up, and keeping on applying additional mud to blind during the carrying, might have averted the bite in the first place and not harmed the animal.

Years ago when I lived in Singapore I saw preople next door to where I lived catch a twelve foot python in the park across the road -- I think they may thrive on the rats in the open storm drainage ditches there. To avoid being bitten, they held it with a noose on a stick, very heedless of its suffering, jerking it up in the air by its neck to show people who were curious, and eventually selling it in some sort of snake market where its bile or something was to be used as tonic. I would have felt better if they'd handled it by hand. If knowing the above information would have made them more willing to do this, then it should be in Wikipedia if valid. It was twenty years ago and I still feel awful for the snake.


Are there really fifteen times more reticulated pythons than people in Indonesia? This strains belief when the population is about 250 million... that's 3.7 billion pythons, or about 1,950 per square kilometer. Even with python farming and the relatively large amount of non-farmed land in the country outside Java, I doubt this. Assuming three years (?) to slaughter, we're talking about a billion python skins per year -- a couple of wallets for virtually every single man, woman, and child on earth! Can anyone cite a reasonable source? FurnaldHall 07:16, 2 February 2007 (UTC) FurnaldHall 07:17, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I can't particularly vouch for the stuff about escaping (the alcohol sounds like an old wives tale) but at least small pythons do let go when their tails are tickled/pressed. I have seen this done with Ball Pythons. Vultur 00:16, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

While I think if I were bitten by a thirty-foot python I might be able to go get some alcohol, I could probably first reach some other foul-tasting brew. After getting rid of the snake, I'd go drink some alcohol, then pour some warm water over myself. But to report such techniques WP:V requires sourced material. (SEWilco 03:40, 24 June 2007 (UTC))


FurnaldHall replies:

Look, I have no idea if this works. I'd like to know. We need a professionally experienced opinion..... anyone know?

'pet' retics[edit]

The relative merits of keeping a retic outside of a zoo are hotly debated as with any number of giant snakes.

A blanket statement that the 'best' pet for a first snake is specifically and always a Ball Python is a gross oversimplification. Individual snakes have individual temperaments. Ball pythons may well not be suitable for some people. Personally, I'd recommend a Columbian Red-Tailed Boa over a Ball Python due to a more 'cuddly' and affectionate temperament, though they get much larger and cost more to feed. Burmese pythons are very popular, though this is partly due to a misconception that they are the mildest-mannered of pythons -- something that is often true but untrue often enough to lead to the occassional disaster. Blood pythons are also sometimes kept for their temperament, though this widly fluctuates from blood python to blood python, and the most common reason for keeping a blood is the pretty ankh on the forehead.

However, there are also plenty of non-python, non-boids that would also make suitable pets. Western Hog-nosed snakes in particular often have mild dispositions when socialised, and as to the 'brag' factor, a hog-nosed owner can honestly state that they own a venomous snake (though the venom only has a mild anaesthetic effect and is injected by back-facing fangs inside the throat, which means one would have to shove a finger down its throat in order to get a numb finger). King snakes and black racers (both colubrids) have also been often found as good starter ophidians.

If more detailed advice as to the keeping of a retic as a pet or not is to be given, it might be pointed out both that retics who have grown over a certain size should certainly never be kept without special facilities (however a four-foot adolescent is no different than any other mean-tempered, moody snake -- many ball pythons come to mind), and that there is a smaller option, the Dwarf Retic, which has not been seen to ever get large enough to swallow its owner, unlike a egular retic. : 66.199.69.117

Herpetoculture vs. Herpetology[edit]

A number on interesting things have been done with reticulated pythons over the past couple of 10 years in the field of herpetoculture . A variety of new strains have developed through the selective breeding efforts of private breeders producing snakes for the pet trade.

It is unfortunate, however, that this article has more information about keeping reticulated pythons in captivity rather than it does about the animal in the wild. --Bezbaq 01:49, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

"Fatalities"[edit]

Reptile enthusiasts are quick to note, however, that there are far more human deaths each year caused by dogs than by large constrictors.

THe above is an absurd statement. Of course there are more deaths attributed to dogs than snakes: one could say there are more deaths per year because of dogs than of unicorns. I removed it.


Re: the above...

It has nothing to do with snakes, but by far the majority of human fatalities attributable to dogs are not from lethal attacks per se but from rabies contracted from dog bites in less developed countries (especially India and nearby countries) where for economic reasons, dogs are not widely vaccinated against the disease.

With regard to snakes, there are actually a fairly large number of human deaths each year from snake bite in the areas of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia with which I am familiar but these are almost invariably from venom, not constriction, coupled with local unavailability of antidotes. Going barefoot at night on rural paths and roads without a light is an important, but not the only, risk factor. These incidents are not rare, though many or most people survive a poisonous shake's bite. Just for a rough sense of frequency, my closest friend's grandfather died this way in one south Asian country, and my wife's close relative almost died from snakebite in South Korea a year or two ago (he was hiking).

Eating People[edit]

As a herpetologist myself, I have *never* seen a single, verifiable report of any snake eating a person, ever. Killing, yes, but not eating. Snakes simply can't distend their jaws far enough to get their mouth around human shoulders. Although it is possible that at some point, a small child has been eaten by a snake, I have removed that section from the article as this is a popular misconception I'd like to not see spread still further. If someone feels that this is important, factual information, please cite a reliable source. 69.92.141.242 02:41, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

  • In the edit that I add that, I also add a single source, located in the Sources section. You can view the entire edit here. Given that I actually do cite a source, I think it should go back. Wikibofh 03:32, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

I would prefer something more easily checked than just a single book that I don't have access to. Or failing that, how about a compromise where you actually quote a brief section of the book in question word for word? What I'd like to convey is that snakes eating people is by and large fiction, and not have the public walk away with the impression that large snakes regularly, or even rarely, eat people. If you track down one source in a book where they found an uncorroborated report in the 1800s where someone was supposedly eaten, I don't think that should be included. As I don't have access to the book in question, or know what exactly it says I have no way of knowing whether or not it's reliable, and given all other articles I've read about it previously, I'm much more inclined to believe it to be unreliable and / or verifiable.69.92.141.242 03:48, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

  • My recollection is that this was a paraphrase from the book. It said something like "One of a few snakes documented to eat people". I checked this book out from my library, so don't have it handy. If you would like verification I can check it out again, scan the page in and post an image of it. It would be a while before I got this done. The book seemed by a reputable author (here is a list of the books he's published). There are also some online sources that say the same thing. In a quick google search I even got some rather gruesome images. For something like this, I can't prove a negative. I think the preponderance of evidence would suggest it's true, but rare. Wikibofh 04:02, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

As far as those images you linked, they were debunked on snopes. [1] In my opinion, the evidence usually tends towards snakes not eating people, however, as people tend to believe that they do, such rumors are widely propagated. Although I don't deny that an exceptionally large Reticulated Python is physically capable of eating a human (and much smaller snakes are capable, physically of eating a child), in practice they don't. My belief is that at some point, someone somewhere has probably been eaten by a snake, however I've never seen what I would consider to be good, factual coverage of such an incident. Although there may be 'documented cases', again, I doubt whether the sources the author was citing were reliable.69.92.141.242 04:10, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

  • How about something like this for a comment:

"This species of snake is one of the few that have documented, but not verified, cases of eating people. Given the size it grows to, it is possible, although likely exceedingly rare."

Oh, and good job on the snopes reference. I was sceptical, but hey it's late and I get up early. :) Wikibofh 04:19, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

I would find that agreeable; I mostly wanted to convey that if it happens at all, it's highly unlikely, and mostly an urban legend. 69.92.141.242 04:24, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Ok, I added that sentence in, with a minor adjustment on the wording. Thanks for coming by. I'm always up for reasonable compromise. :) Wikibofh 04:29, August 23, 2005 (UTC)


Removed attack in Indonesia. Cited reference was in no way relevant to claim. Cited reference was a study on retics feeding on sun bears. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.0.131.236 (talk) 09:11, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Pictures (dubious or not)[edit]

I found some pretty convincing pictures of a human found inside a reticulated python, although I'm not sure whether this is a child or a really small adult. This could be the 1998 Mangyan case. See the link --24.132.210.122 (talk) 01:33, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure it's the same case. Mokele (talk) 01:51, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Python Eats Man!![edit]

On February of 1998, Philippines, a "Mangyan" (native of Mindanao) was reported eaten by a reticulated phyton.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.90.68.65 (talkcontribs) 22:42, September 19, 2005
  • Source or citation? Wikibofh 00:03, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
  • source: ABS-CBN News (Magandang Gabi Bayan)
—Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.90.68.199 (talkcontribs) 17:05, September 21, 2005
  • A search of their website returns only one, non-relevant, hit for python, so it can't be verified. Do you know of anything that can be verified? Wikibofh 17:25, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

A statement apparently about this was just removed from the article, asserting that the statement was unsourced. However, the source (p. 166, first paragraph) says "Schmidt (1998 in Auliya, 2003a) reports of a 32 year-old man eaten by a 7 m python". Citation (name = "Fre05"): "Fredriksson, Gabriella M. (2005). "Predation on Sun Bears by Reticulated Python in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo" (PDF). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. 53 (1): 165–168. . —BarrelProof (talk) 18:21, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Still, the precise details in the removed statement aren't in the source: no location, ethnicity, or date other than the ref (which may be published years later). Honestly, I think it's silly and pointless to even have this list at all. IMHO, it should be on its own page, linked to from the main article, because it's just getting too long and out-of-proportion. HCA (talk) 18:28, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

It's true that some of the details aren't there, but it does refer to a 32-year-old man eaten by a 7 m python in 1998. There's already a prefixing statement saying that the various reports tend to be unverified and sparsely documented, which ought to suffice as caveat. I do just now notice, however, that it doesn't exactly say the python was a retic. —BarrelProof (talk) 18:38, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Which is longer?[edit]

The Green Anaconda article says that it grows up to 10 meters, but is the second longest species to the Reticulated Python, which - according to this article - only grows up to 9 meters. Now granted, my metric is a bit rusty, but if the Retic only grows to 9 meters, and the Green Anaconda grows to 10, wouldn't the anaconda be the largest?

  • Metric is longer in the western hemisphere. ;) I provided the source for the max length on the python, and it is out of the book I provided in sources. I suspect that is no corresponding reliable source for the anaconda and that should be changed. That article needs to be cleaned up by a snake person anyway, since it has a lot of unsourced speculation on max sizes. Wikibofh(talk) 20:16, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

A reticulated python was found in Thailand (cited article) that was forty nine feet long. This is the longest confirmed snake in the world at present.

No it was not, Your so called "Forty-nine foot snake" was actually just 24 feet long upon quick further investigation. you really should try to look for a reliable up to date source outside the article before you repeat what everyone else has been falling for. Were all so gullible to believe that a living species of snake could be 49.7 feet long (14.85 meters long). whoever wrote that is clearly a cryptozoologist. No snake today could get that big though two Paleocene species, Giganthopis garstini and Madtsoia could grow to be 60 feet long (18 meters long). But they died out a long time ago. Any claims of living snakes that gargantuan are quickly discredited and mocked through critical evaluation and scrutiny. --Jj. hoaakkey 00:45, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
True the fact that it was only 22 feet shows just how blown out of proportions things can get although honestly a 30 foot anaconda wouldn't surprise me that much and 34 feet may be possible but I do agree though a 50 foot snake is generally regarded as unlikely and probably erroneous although let me remind you that no species of extinct snake from what we know ever reached 60 feet long although due to the high temperatures and available food sources it certainly could have happened at those times however there have been a few articles that have said that anacondas 40-50 feet may be found in the "future" and although I still have doubts on it there is one thing about that statement future that caught my attention because our earth's temperature is rising and this is the same reason the polar ice caps are melting away it could come to a point were some really enormous snakes could once again make an appearance on this earth the only reason that I would have a bit of doubt on it is because even if the tempratures get right the only place that seems to have enough large prey to support superlarge snakes is Africa and maybe South America even though it is rich in mostly small too medium sized animals the only large animals really being crocodiles, caimans, tapirs and jagaurs. Another claim of two alleged 55 foot snakes have come from China in which the workers accidnetly kille done of the snakes while the other one crawled away. There are two reasons I doubt this claim One a photograph has emerged all over the internet reportedly showing the huge snake on a crane and photos can be doctored and Two if the snake was dead there is no excuse for the men to have not brought the body back using the crane as far as I can see this is the worst giant snake report I have come across here is the link to the article if anyone is intrested in reading it:http://zuzutop.com/2009/11/photo-of-huge-55ft-snake-shocks-world/ —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.83.100.52 (talk) 19:53, 14 November 2010 (UTC)


—Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.83.100.52 (talk) 21:33, 28 October 2009 (UTC) 

There's several good reasons for doubt: lack of managable prey to justify such an increased size, current low atmopsheric O2 (all "supergiant" snakes are from the Eocene, during higher oxygen levels), current low temperatures even in the tropics, the ease of spotting such a giant while basking, the resulting ease of shooting it and bringing back at least the skeleton, etc. But most of all - 'doubt is the foundation of all science. No claim is accepted without evidence, whether it's claims of 50 foot snakes or just claims that a particular gene does what you think it does. Everything must be supported by evidence. Anything else isn't science, it's science fiction. Mokele (talk) 02:52, 29 October 2009 (UTC)



Although I do agree with you on the high temperatures but Asia has a population of elephants, rhino's,tigers and huge crocodiles so I don't see how a large serpent couldn't feed on those animals which are just as big as some of the large fauna that the prehistoric supergiant snakes fed on and another thing pythons found in Asia as well as pythons found everywhere that inhabit very wooded areas are that they tend to hide in burrows a lot of the time or even in caves which would mean a large snake probably wouldn't be seen so easily it is true pythons tend too enjoy hiding under ground a lot of the time during the day time hours the only other really good point you made that they would probably seen when basking in order to warm their bodies.



More about that "49 foot snake"

I think I'm the user who originally posted the article on the "49 foot snake" on Wikipedia(not the comment just above though) but it was Java (a major island in Indonesia), not Thailand, and as you said, the creature inexplicably "shrank" when examined by a journalist. See the next article just below it about this "shrinkage" which I also posted at the same time. I had intended my comment on the first article to indicate it was unreliable, but didn't want to go so far as to use words like "lie" "false report" "mendacious" etc. One cannot really be sure of anything at a distance, but clearly the zookeeper had a potential for financial gain in claiming to have the world's largest captive snake if anyone believed him, and reports of his behavior suggest he was not unaware of this. I was intrigued by the two Paleocene species you mentioned above and wondered if you could write articles on them. FurnaldHall 07:16, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Back to the question in the heading – i.e., "which is longer?": My understanding is that the general consensus is that the longest retics seem to be a bit longer than the longest anacondas, although it is basically universally agreed that the biggest by weight is the anaconda (and that 49 feet is nonsense). —BarrelProof (talk) 18:44, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Range[edit]

Can anybody add the range of the wild python to the article? Casual users will probably want to know where these pythons live. The article focuses too much on the aspect of petkeeping and warnings and not enough biological information. Thanks!--Chicbicyclist 21:04, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

This is a good idea. A map would be ideal or a link to one since it transmits a lot of data in a single glance. FurnaldHall 07:21, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

 Done Dysmorodrepanis 15:17, 4 September 2007 (UTC)


Thanks for the map. I am curious whether anybody can add anything about the history of the snake's filling this range. A cursory glance at the map suggests that the snake dispersed during (or before) the last ice age when the Greater Sunda Wetlands connected many of the areas where it now is found. Is this correct, though?

In the "Farming" section further below there is a vague comment about Europeans having introduced the species (or farming it -- it is not clear) as an exotic to Indonesia in the 1500's, which, though it sounds doubtful, would suggest that the above hypothesis of the history of dispersal is incorrect.

I used to see a python kept in a cage in the street of a red light district (in an alley off Serangoon Road) in Singapore near my house there. I had the feeling that it might have been some traditional custom, rather than just a casual pet. Does anyone know anything about this?

What I mean to get at is that if the snake has any local (though Singapore is mainly Chinese) traditional uses, which is not that far-fetched a possibility, that involve people keeping it in captivity, some of the dispersal may actually have been human-aided. I know of some places (Taiwan, but this is recent) snakes are encouraged around grain warehouses to keep down the rodent population. Unlike a house, warehouses have stacked bags of grains, and cats can't get in between them; snakes can, making life difficult for the rats and mice, which also can. Possibly a snake on a boat, if it could survive, would usefully serve the same function, and... ahem....from the point of the view of the sailors, a nice sleepy 6-foot python or two seems to have certain undeniable advantages over a Cobra.FurnaldHall (talk) 02:16, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Quality[edit]

This page has obviously been heavily vandalized. While often hilarious, it still needs to be cleaned up.

FurnaldHall replies:

Hope you don't meen me! Am I outside Wikipedia guidelines, particularly with the humour? If so, I don't mean to be. Clarify if necessary....--FurnaldHall (talk) 22:59, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Subspecies[edit]

Look this part's not important as a lot of biologists don't recognise subspecies, BUT, the page needs updating to reflect the genus Broghammerus Hoser 2004, as confirmed by Rawlings and others in 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 203.38.148.186 (talk) 01:13, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Hoser's a joke. I wouldn't wipe my ass with his papers. That aside, we only recognize taxonomy from the ITIS database - it prevents us from having to change pages with every new paper. Mokele (talk) 01:27, 23 December 2010 (UTC)


The introduction says that no subspecies are currently recognised yet in the taxonomy section it implies that three subspecies are recognised. Either the claim in the introduction needs to be removed or it needs to be made explicit that P. r. jampeanus and P. r. saputrai are not official subspecies. In any case some wise herpetologist needs to make the article more consistent in this respect 129.67.158.52 23:23, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

This depends completely on the taxonomy you use. For these snake articles, the taxonomy available through ITIS is used, which does not (yet) recognize jampeanus and saputrai. Others, such as the taxonomy available through the New Reptile Database, do recognize these subspecies. However, the NRDB is more bleeding edge (often making mistakes), while ITIS is more conservative. That's good for Wikipedia too, since it means we don't have to keep updating our articles all the time. --Jwinius 02:03, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

The maximum largest length noted in the article has been surpassed, by A LOT![edit]

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3845750

a63 ---- —Preceding unsigned comment added by A63 (talkcontribs) 09:51, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

This case is already mentioned in the article: Description section, second paragraph. The animal turned out to be only half as long. This is a good example of why it's not smart to rely on the mainstream media for this kind of information; they have a long, long history of exaggerating the facts. --Jwinius (talk) 10:08, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but in the article all it said was the villagers were claiming the snake was that size. Then said if confirmed would be the world record. Landon1980 (talk) 03:02, 9 June 2008 (UTC) They also done a follow up on the story telling of the extreme exaggeration by the villagers. Landon1980 (talk) 03:02, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
See the article "Stay still, will you?", published by The Guardian on 5 January 2004. The animal turned out to be less than half as long as the villagers thought it was. --Jwinius (talk) 17:35, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

The intro is misleading[edit]

"Adults grow to more than 32 feet (9.75 m) in length and are probably the world's longest living snakes, but are certainly not the most heavily built."

This is similar to writing "Humans adults grow to more than 8 foot in height..."

A less misleading sentence would be:

"Adult males typically reach a length of up to 15 feet (4.57 m) and 20 feet (6.09 m) for females, with one known example at a record 32 feet~ (9.75 m) and are probably the world's longest living snakes, but are certainly not the most heavily built."

Or to keep it shorter I would like to use:

"Adults typically reach a length of up to 20 feet (6.09 m), with one known example at a record 32 feet~ (9.75 m) and are probably the world's longest living snakes, but are certainly not the most heavily built."

I would like some experienced input before implementing this. Perhaps some wiki editors could offer their advice on structuring the sentence. Thanks for your time.Nudles (talk) 00:36, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Does that look any better? It would not be safe to assume that there is only a single record for specimens over 32 feet in length. Also, I don't have any good references for the average adult length. I know we could probably quote a web page, but those almost always make really poor references. --Jwinius (talk) 00:54, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Hi Jwinius, the Guinness World Records puts the longest snake at 9.75m (reticulated python). It is safe to assume that is the current known and verifiable "longest snake known" to date. As to the typical size the Retic tends to reach, I will get sources. Bob Clark and the like do claim sizes which they put on their respective websites. Sites that are known world wide and are a respected source of information.

On a separate issue, could you please stop inputing unverified and speculative information about the green anaconda possibly being a longer snake than the reticulated python. This is not a controversial issue. the evidence is lacking, unless one suggests anacdotal evidence trumps the empirical evidence that is widely accepted.

What you wrote in regards to maximum is an empirical statement that is not proven, it also does not make sense in context with the sentence. I will undo that, but will not put my reversions in, please don't do any more edits of the like without discussing them here first. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nudles (talkcontribs) 03:02, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Also, I don't think the parts you replaced are correct either, but you must discuss it here first before making changes like you have done.Nudles (talk) 03:06, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I think we can both agree this statement needs to be replaced "Adults grow to more than 32 feet (9.75 m) in length...". How about "Adults have been recorded up to a maximum of 32 feet (9.75 m) in length...". Very neutral, non controversial and not claiming anything unverified.Nudles (talk) 03:10, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
We can put maximum in there, but all of these measurements were recorded and reported at some time. For statements such as these, including a reliable reference is enough. --Jwinius (talk) 09:42, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I think based of Colossus a maximum length of roughly 29 feet is more likely considering Colossus was a few inches longer than 28 feet. It is not being neutral writing 32 feet ,all it is just accepting an questionable claim without hard evidence.

The Bangladeshi woman that was swallowed by a snake[edit]

I don't see why "it is almost certain that it would not have succeeded". The major problem with snakes swallowing human beings is the size of the shoulders, and the article says the she was swallowed up to her waist (!). If it's true, it would be very possible for the snake to swallow her body whole. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.127.96.141 (talk) 21:14, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. I've removed the offending paragraph on the grounds that the source (Associated Press) is not reliable and the exact species unknown (it could have been P. molurus). I also find it difficult to believe that a mere 10-foot python was capable of swallowing a person. --Jwinius (talk) 22:51, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Can we actually confirm 32 feet?[edit]

The article mentions twice that they have reached 32 feet. However, that's merely a report from the field, without an actual specimen to back it up. Given the long and lurid history of exaggerating this snake's size, I strongly suggest that we omit any mention of the 32 foot 'record', and instead report the longest *confirmed* length, which is 28.5 feet for Colossus, a retic held in the pittsburg zoo in the 50's. Accepting a claim without evidence is nothing but mere heresay, and does not belong on WP. Mokele (talk) 19:49, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

If you think there's reason to doubt the 32' claim, that 28.5' is the most reliable maximum measurement, and you have a good reference for this, then I'm all for it. And don't forget to edit the Pythonidae and Snake articles as well! However, in this article I do think that a mention of the 32' claim and its reference should be retained -- along with the reason why it is not believed to be accurate -- if only to prevent others from trying to "correct" things again later on. I've done the same thing already in articles such as Boa constrictor. --Jwinius (talk) 20:53, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Debate regarding length claims made by various zoos[edit]

A debate has been going on for the past few days, mostly here, about the inclusion of information that started with this Fox News report regarding "Fluffy," the allegedly 24-foot specimen at the Columbus Zoo, which is claimed is the largest in captivity and helps to attract over a million visitors there every year. To recap, the arguments against mentioning information from this report, and others like it, include:

  • The facts regarding this case are only available through a report carried by the popular press. According to WP:RS, such sources should not be relied upon for statements of fact.
  • It is almost impossible to accurately measure the length of such large snakes when alive, so the statement of length is probably inaccurate. This problem is explained in the Eunectes murinus article and should also be explained here.
  • There are undoubtedly lots of zoos around the world that claim to house the largest specimen in captivity.
  • Neither the Columbus Zoo nor Fox News have an interest in checking the veracity of this claim (that they house the largest), which is impossible to verify anyway.
  • Citing multiple news references doesn't make the information any more accurate. Often, all of them can be traced back to a single Reuters article.
  • Including this information can be regarded as an advertisement for the Columbus Zoo. How can we even be sure that User:Achilles11719 is not associated with the zoo?
  • Including information from stories like this one from the popular press is in general not a good idea, because these parties have no interest in dispelling the misinformation that has surrounded these animals for so long. Only factual information from reliable sources can do this.
  • If we include information from this story, what about all the others about snakes in the popular press? Should we include them too? Where do we draw the line?
  • The only references we have for this story are news reports. These tend to be retained on the news websites for only relatively short periods (a year or two). After that they will become dead links and this information will have absolutely no references anyway.
  • Debating the value of information and merciless editing are simply part of the editorial process at Wikipedia.

On the other hand, the arguments in favor of including this information in the article include:

  • Kids want to know about the largest snakes in captivity.
  • There is no reason the supposedly largest specimen in captivity should not be mentioned.
  • It is a fact that Fluffy is being billed as the largest specimen in captivity.
  • This article is intended to be of general interest and this information is of very broad interest.
  • It is important to remember and embrace the collaborative nature of Wikipedia. It is not our policy to contain only empirical data; cross-disciplinary discussion (science, history, pop culture, etc.) is a hallmark of the project.
  • To force the exclusion of material, a very strong case has to be made that it really hurts the article.
  • Wikipedia is not censored.

Any further opinions regarding this debate would be welcome. Thanks, --Jwinius (talk) 12:44, 12 February 2009 (UTC) Disclaimer: the above summary is totally unobjective and slanted towards my own POV. --Jwinius (talk) 14:10, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Experienced editors will quickly recognize the obvious straw man you have created by distorting the opposing viewpoint, selectively taking comments out of context, combining them to suit your purpose, and pretending the debate is about a single, obnoxiously-named specimen. Your "disclaimer" does not diminish this. --Boston (talk) 18:56, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
The first argument in favor is from an edit summary by Achilles11719, the second is from one of your edit summaries, and the rest are your arguments from the discussion on your talk page that you recently removed. I believed they were accurate, but since you disagree, perhaps you can explain.
Regarding your recent edits to the article itself, adding more information to the article of the kind that is disputed was an idea you mentioned, but I don't see how it is making the article any more accurate. Now it just contains a larger amount of unreliable information with similarly poor references. --Jwinius (talk) 22:09, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Boston - let's just concentrate on one issue, then. Why should we include unreliable and unverified information? Mokele (talk) 01:49, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
  • We should not. What we should include is published information from news sources and other available sources about some very large captive specimens. Along with this should be included caveats regarding length claims. All of this is encyclopedic, useful, and interesting. --Boston (talk) 02:06, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
  • So, on the one hand you agree that we should not include unreliable and unverified information in our articles, but on the other we should just go ahead and include stuff like that anyway whenever somebody thinks it's interesting enough. Just as long as we let people know that the information is unreliable and unverified. Right? --Jwinius (talk) 11:16, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Re: "we should just go ahead and include stuff like that anyway whenever somebody thinks it's interesting enough," I'm fed up with your inappropriate tone. You're either borderline uncivil or outright uncivil (as here). I object to your continual attempts to miscategorize my position. Perhaps if you could argue your point better you would find it a better conversational tactic than distorting mine. --Boston (talk) 13:21, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
If you admit the articles are unreliable, what possible basis can there be for including them? Whether something is interesting or not is irrelevant if it's simply wrong. Mokele (talk) 13:30, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Colossus[edit]

Just wondering, is this claim really authentic? I've heard that claims from Zoo's should not be taken too serious. How is this claim verified, is there any convincing proof? --24.132.210.122 (talk) 01:38, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

IIRC, the zoo had a professional herpetologist as curator (which, sad to say, is rarely the case anymore), who measured her and published the length in a scientific journal. Mokele (talk) 01:56, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Are there any pictures of this snake, and if so, where can I find them? I'd love to see how a 28 feet snake looks like, so I have some sort of reference. :) --24.132.210.122 (talk) 02:17, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I've seen one of her head being held by a keeper, and a putative one of her being force-fed once (though I suspect that one is another snake), both in books I don't have and can't recall the names of, sorry. Mokele (talk) 14:09, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I read somewhere that the book “The Giant Snakes” by Clifford H. Pope. has a picture of this snake. Did you meant this picture (with the head)? I'm suprised it's so hard to find a picture, because the zoo surely must have been very proud of this record breaking specimen and must have taken good pictures of it to proof their case. --24.132.210.122 (talk) 20:57, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

It probably is that book, yes. It's not entirely surprising, though - remember, at that time, photographs required a fair bit of skill, expense, and bulky equipment, and it would *also* require having at least two people (handler and photographer) be in the cage with or handle a tremendous and extremely unpleasant python. Plus it's entirely possible the zoo does have more photos, and they're just moldering away in some filing cabinet or storage area, completely forgotten about. Mokele (talk) 16:44, 25 April 2010 (UTC)


So Colossus wasn't this giant snake after all? Even smaller than recent giants like Fluffy or the Indonesian specimen? This certainly improves the unique status of these other large specimens and it will also change the general consensus on maximum length. The Anaconda may now even be the longest snake after all. The downside is that you can't even rely anymore on the word of an herpetologist. I suppose this will shake things up quite a bit... --24.132.213.61 (talk) 21:55, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Verifiability[edit]

  • Did I, as you say, "admit the articles are unreliable"? No, I agreed pythons are difficult to measure. The Milky Way is difficult to measure too but that doesn't mean we forbid mention of its size in an article. When something merits discussion, such as the Age of the Earth , we discuss it.
  • No one has determined that the reports made by world-class zoos such as the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Bronx Zoo are inaccurate. I have cited their claims. You have cited nothing that refutes their claims.
  • This is not an article solely about the physiology of P. reticulatus. It is an article about that species which has room for several topics. One of those topics is captive specimens and their supposed lengths. That is encyclopedic information.
  • There is no misinformation presented here. In each case, it is a verified fact that a claim was made. Again, you have presented no contrary evidence other than your own opinion and/or experience. Please review guidelines regarding original research for a discussion of why this is not appropriate.
  • Most importantly, please refer to the opening lines of Wikipedia:Verifiability, one of the most basic guidelines we have. Quote: "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—that is, whether readers are able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether we think it is true." (Bold emphasis is in original text, not added) The news reports used are reliable sources for the information given. --Boston (talk) 14:59, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Your analogies to the milky way and age of the earth is false - it's not the difficulty, it's that in those subjects, the measurements are published in scientific journals and subject to peer-review. *That* is the difference. A "report" could come from any method of measurement from on a drugged snake to just eyeballing it, and without a thorough and proper methods section, it's impossible to determine the reliability. That "world class zoos" made the claims is irrelevant without detailed description of HOW they made the measurements - do you *really* think they're going to drug the animal and risk it's death, or forcibly stretch it straight and risk it killing a keeper?

And frankly, I don't give a crap if the news articles meet some overly-vague WP rule - by that rule, we'd have to list reticulated pythons as 1000 feet long, because someone, somewhere claims to have seen one that size and it got reported in the ButtfuckNowhere Times (circulation: 35). In order to retain any sense of validity or usefulness, we should stick to peer-reviewed scientific journal sources ONLY. Mokele (talk) 17:03, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Agree with Mokele. Boston, you are twisting the truth around in order to prove your point. Yes, the opening line in WP:V says that the threshold for inclusion is "verifiability, not truth," but that only applies to the content. The same sentence goes on to say that the information (whether true of not) should come from "a reliable source." Your links, as well as Fox News, are all dime-a-dozen unreliable sources. An encyclopedia is supposed to be a summary of knowledge -- not of misinformation. There's plenty of that on the web already, and our task is not to summarize it here. --Jwinius (talk) 17:52, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
  • The references are adequate sources for the content as presented. cygnis insignis 19:28, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Mokele, your opinion that "we should stick to peer-reviewed scientific journal sources ONLY" is directly contrary to our guidelines. Since you don't "give a crap" about our guidelines, perhaps we'd all be happier if you spent your energies elsewhere. By the way, please again be reminded of WP:civility. It is also one of our most important policies which you choose to disregard. Both you and Jwinius are so clearly determined to operate contrary both to the spirit and the letter of our policies, I'm done talking to you. If you have a problem with this content, take it to arbitration. --Boston (talk) 20:18, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Cy me a river. I see absolutely no reason to listen to a mere amateur. Come back when you have a graduate degree in herpetology. Until then, stop wasting our time. Mokele (talk) 21:57, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Ok, does this [[2] perhaps? - William M. Connolley (talk) 23:09, 14 February 2009 (UTC)] revision work? It gives the links, but adds a huge, heaping dose of caution, as is appropriate. Mokele (talk) 22:36, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

  • In consideration of what I choose to consider your good faith effort to improve the article, I will respond. Your edit must be reverted because firstly, your statement that "each claimed to be the largest in captivity" is not supported by the references. Secondly, the specific names and supposed length of individual specimens was encyclopedic and will be included in this article. I suggest you devote a paragraph to the discussion of the difficulties in assessing length; I agree that is an important topic. Then we might together decide (or not) to restructure the article so that discussion of maximum length might have its own heading separate from captivity. BTW, I agree that the verified length of Colossus should be the length quoted in the opener along with some indication that more extraordinary claims are discussed elsewhere in the article. I do have to revert your edit but hope you will add the material I suggest without removing encyclopedic content. I have also restored the "mere amateur" personal attack above as this talk page is a record of dialogue and behavior which is relevant. Nevertheless, I optimistically hope this is an early indication of your willingness to again contribute your professional knowledge in a manner that supports a common agenda. At the very least, please respect the 3 revert rule and wait 24 hours before attempting to remove this content. --Boston (talk) 22:59, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Firstly, you are aware that 'compromise' does not mean that you simply be more persistent than everyone else, right? Second, if they aren't billed as the biggest, why is the reference there? Should we list every 20+ foot retic in captivity, because there's several hundred? If this section is talking about the claimed biggest, remove the listings of the others. Finally, an article should not contain every single scrap of information from the entire internet - I see absolutely no reason why the in-text stuff cannot simply be removed and left as references as I did in the edit. The info is still there for anyone who wants to click it, without cluttering up the page. There's no worthwhile reason to simply repeat what the links say. Mokele (talk) 23:13, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

(after an edit conflict)
Amazing. The last discussion/debate/dispute I took part in lasted over two months and generated over 0.5 MB of text. Tempers only started to fray a little towards the end, and it was during that stage that I, among others, was accused to being uncivil. Not long after, however, my accuser (the guy who started it all) was considered by others to be in breach of WP:Civility and WP:Point, and was accused of WP:Wikilawyering and general disruption of Wikipedia.
In this case the only thing I've been disrespectful of are Boston's arguments. However, rather than argue his case, he quickly accused me of being in breach of WP:Civility, went on to actually expand the disputed section of the article with more of the same, which is a clear violation of WP:Point, and has now unilaterally declared this discussion over, despite the fact that there is no consensus. It's been only three days and he's saying he's done arguing and we have to go to WP:ArbCom.
Boston, stop being so petulant. It was your choice to enter into this discussion, so either defend yourself or move aside. I know that there is very little tolerance among experienced natural history editors for information from the popular press. Thanks to this discussion, though, I've learned that WP:RS has a section on news organizations, which says specifically:

For information about academic topics, such as physics or ancient history, scholarly sources are preferred over news stories. Newspapers tend to misrepresent results, leaving out crucial details and reporting discoveries out of context. For example, news reports often fail to adequately report methodology, errors, risks, and costs associated with a new scientific result or medical treatment.

This is what Mokele and I have been driving at. I've contributed to many of these articles myself and have always tried to avoid (or remove) information from news organizations, which almost always turns out to be incorrect. What's more, the topic itself that is at issue here -- claims of record-length captive specimens -- is both frivolous and virtually impossible to verify. It proves only that zoos are often willing to exaggerate in order to attract more visitors, a phenomenon that has likely as old as civilization itself. Therefore, I'm still in favor of removing this information from the article altogether. --Jwinius (talk) 23:04, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Mokele, to clarify further, I think your sentence "For this reason, scientists do not accept the validity of length measurements unless performed on a dead or anaesthetized snake which is later preserved in a museum collection" is possibly a good addition to the article, but it needs to be referenced. Don't forget, also, that dead snakes are not necessarily immune to exaggerated claims and that the hides from which some post-mortem specimens have been measured may be stretched considerably past the actual length of the once-living snake. Jwinius, calling another editor "petulant" is a personal attack (click and read what that means) and as long as that is your frequency I'm not discussing specific points with you.--Boston (talk) 23:16, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
I've got an excellent ref that covers Colossus, the problems with hides, and why we need to use dead snakes to measure, but I'm loathe to make any more edits lest the effort get lost in the flurry of reverts over this unencyclopedic crap. I've got much more important things to do (namely a peer review that should have been done a month ago), so when you're ready to make a good-faith effort at compromise, let me know. Mokele (talk) 23:21, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Boston, my problem is primarily with your opinions, but you're the one who started making the personal accusations. You are "petulant" as in "irritable:" to so quickly accuse someone else of being uncivil, simply for pointing out perceived flaws in your arguments, is thin-skinned to say the least. You're not going to get your way here simply by accusing your opponents of anything you can think of. So, please stop this and instead argue your case. This is an academic subject and I feel Achilles11719's edits make a mockery of it. At the very least, your prompt expansion of his disputed edits is in breach of WP:Point. --Jwinius (talk) 23:44, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Someone requested a third opinion at WP:3O. Because there are more than two editors involved, I have removed the request. Please consider alternative routes of dispute resolution, if needed. Thanks! (EhJJ)TALK 20:41, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I too was asked for an opinion (who hasn't been?); it is here: [3]. To add: scientific sources are to be preferred; newspapers are very often unreliable William M. Connolley (talk) 23:15, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Arbitration[edit]

I have been asked to give a view on this dispute. This I could do, but there seems little point unless there is some agreement that the opinion is unbiased and may have some value. I do admit that I have spoken to Boston before. Are others interested in my view. I am an admin with a fair scientific knowledge but with no particular interest in snakes. Victuallers (talk) 22:47, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Yes, please, for the love of all that is holy put an end to this. I'm 100% convinced that nothing good will come of this until someone steps in, for reasons amply laid out elsewhere. At this point, I don't even care what the resulting decision is, I just want it to freaking end. Mokele (talk) 23:58, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Crashed to a halt[edit]

  1. User:Mokele edit summary Put up or shut up, amateur. Show me this mythical "outside arbitration", because you seem to lack the balls to use the talk page anymore
  2. User:Mokele comments Cy me a river. I see absolutely no reason to listen to a mere amateur. Come back when you have a graduate degree in herpetology. Until then, stop wasting our time.
  3. User:Mokele comments And frankly, I don't give a crap if the news articles meet some overly-vague WP rule - by that rule...we should stick to peer-reviewed scientific journal sources ONLY.
  4. User:Mokele comments: Yes, how dare we get frustrated by a user who repeatedly inserts garbage into a page in spite of being given very good reason not to

This, rather than the unwillingness of any of us to compromise, is the reason the collaborative editorial process has crashed to a halt. --Boston (talk) 23:21, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Collaborative? That's fine, but Mokele and I have been at this for a while and we're just trying to maintain a certain level of quality in this article. In our judgement, the recent edits by User talk:Achilles11719, followed by those of Boston, are, for various reasons that we have tried to explain, simply not fit for inclusion. Unfortunately, Boston seems to hold this article to a different (non-scientific) standard and apparently thinks that everyone has a right to add any information they want to it as long as they believe some people might find it intereasting. That includes all news items, which WP:RS specifically advises against.
Then, only one day into the discussion, on Boston's talk page on the 11th of February, after I had pointed out my preferred approach (at 21:49), Boston argued that to reject the information would amount to censorship. When I tried to remind him that this is the normal editorial process at Wikipedia and that he shouldn't "go making silly accusations," he accused me of being uncivil. The conversation deteriorated from there, with Boston repeatedly reverting our edits while refusing to communicate, and threatening with WP:ArbCom. We've even attempted to compromise, but apparently he just wants it his way and is not taking no for an answer.
In short, as soon as Boston felt that he was not going to get his way by arguing honestly, he quickly resorted to making accusations (WP:CIVIL), wikilawyering and proving his point experimentally (WP:Point). For someone who apparently has over 20,000 edits, you'd think by now he'd know better. --Jwinius (talk) 02:01, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

thx for the welcome[edit]

Thank you for the welcome. I hope to read all the stuff tomorrow... and yes I will only manage most of it. Hopefully I can then put forward a view. Although I'm not a wikilawyer so you will get a mixture of my understanding of wikiprocedures and common sense. Any last comments? Victuallers (talk) 18:39, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, it would be appreciated, but it seems to have burned itself out. Boston has gone off to edit other pages and left our current version alone. Mokele (talk) 19:11, 15 February 2009 (UTC) ... THE current version, I think. It belongs to us all. Victuallers (talk) 09:25, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Oh ... well ...[edit]

I was going to propose that there are 1.7 million articles and that this particular snake whilst important is not pivotal to wikipedia. Some of the name calling as you will appreciate has been silly. Some very famous scientists did not have degrees and some very silly ones had first and second degrees. The newspaper v. academic sources needs a bit of discussion. In my view I would expect the Loch Ness article to mention all the wildlife including some that has been reported in newspapers.(for example, Nessie) It is interesting that there is a man who is eight feet tall and maybe even that there were reports in the 1500's of a man being "ten feet tall" (I made that up). A graph showing the upper and lower quartiles (for instance) throws these ideas into perspective. i.e. maybe there has been a ten foot man .... but its doubtful. I will leave this on hold as it could be that some people have sensibly gone off and found a new place in wikipedia to contribute, until this is resolved. If so then I will return, otherwise I still thank you for your welcome and maybe we will meet again. Victuallers (talk) 09:23, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Indonesian giant[edit]

I'm curious as to how the Python captured in Indonesia some years ago is doing these days. I believe it was captured in 2003 and was later carefully measured by a journalist as being close to 23 feet. If this snake is still alive, how long would it be right now? The almost mythical "Colossus" was captured when he was 22 feet and grew to 28 feet in only a couple of years. So I'm really wondering how large the Indonesian specimen is right now, if it's still alive in the first place. Does anyone know?

Here's some information taken from a topic above:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/jan/05/animalwelfare.indonesia

--24.132.210.98 (talk) 00:04, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Removed "probably erroneous"[edit]

In the "Description" section:

"Numerous reports have been made of larger snakes, but since none of these have been measured by a scientist nor have the specimens been deposited at a museum, they must be regarded as unproven and probably erroneous."

I have removed "and probably erroneous", simply because lack of evidence for something does not constitute evidence against it.

Heavenlyblue (talk) 20:51, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

I've replaced it, as it's accurate. Size isn't a random number - it's one of the most important features defining an organism's physiology, ecology, and natural history. It's also incredibly well-sampled - literally millions of these snakes have been captured for the pet trade, skins, bushmeat, and scientific specimens. Once you have a big enough sample size, absence of evidence *does* become evidence of absence, especially for traits that cannot vary freely (size is limited by ecology and physiology).
Imagine if I claimed to have two "giants" - an 7 foot long corn snake and a 22 foot long papuan python. Although both are roughly the same percentage bigger than the norm, they don't arouse equal skepticism - the former is an exceedingly common species whose size range is well known in captivity and the wild, with well-known ecology, while the latter is extremely rare and poorly known, with almost no ecological data. Outliers in a small data set are more likely to be genuine, while outliers in big data sets are likely to be errors or extreme circumstances (pituitary problems, etc.). HCA (talk) 21:45, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Sounds entirely correct. Perhaps this rationale for the statement should be noted in the text following. At present, it reads as a somewhat vague claim. Incidentally, I have no dog in this (size) fight. I came here after stumbling upon a very interesting article that seems to contradict the claim in the "Captivity" section that "They do not attack humans by nature....":
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Dec11/SnakesGreene.html
Heavenlyblue (talk) 23:13, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Here are a few quotes. (Sorry for their length, but I think they may interest some people. Perhaps the rarity of attacks in modern times simply reflects lack of opportunity and the larger size of most modern people.):
"More than a quarter of the men in a modern Filipino hunter-gatherer group have been attacked by giant pythons, reports a study that also concludes that humans and snakes not only eat and are eaten by each other, but have long been competitors for the same prey."
"His survey of 120 Agta revealed that 26 percent of the men (15 out of 58) and 1 out of 62 women, who spend much less time in the jungle, had been attacked by the pythons.
There were, for example, six fatal attacks between 1934 and 1973. In one such attack, a father entered his dwelling to find a python had killed two of his children and was swallowing one of them headfirst. The father killed the snake with his bolo knife and found his third child, a six-month-old daughter, who was unharmed. " Heavenlyblue (talk) 00:26, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Longest specimen in captivity[edit]

Apparantly Guinness has recognised a python named Medusa as the longest in captivity, measuring 25 feet in lenght, which is impressive if it's a reliable measurement.

Guinness page

Here's a good picture of the snake: click

It definitely looks to be over 20 feet in lenght. --95.96.192.45 (talk) 01:14, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Kind of funny how much drama was on this page five years back, and now it's a ghost-town. Added information from Guinness to substantiate the claim on Medusa. --Sennsationalist (talk) 13:07, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 23 June 2015[edit]

Updated info for largest python http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-snake-ever-(captivity)


173.247.200.247 (talk) 08:54, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Also, we already mentioned the world record in the article. Altamel (talk) 03:17, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Requested move 22 August 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved. Jenks24 (talk) 14:02, 30 August 2015 (UTC)



Python reticulatusReticulated python – This species has a well-established common name, so we should use that WP:COMMONNAME as the article title per WP:NCFAUNA. —BarrelProof (talk) 19:49, 22 August 2015 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Python reticulatus length[edit]

Does anybody besides HCA care to talk about the maximum length of this snake, according to a poorly written science report the maximum length is 22 feet. Then it goes on to state a 25 foot snake by the name of Medusa was captured. If you read up above you'll see the size of the snake has been repeatedly compromised from 29 feet to 28 feet now to 22. Does anybody agree a different source is needed?--76.107.252.227 (talk) 00:10, 29 August 2015 (UTC)


Ok, since you cannot be bothered to read the talk page you've just posted on, let's lay this out from start to finish so you can understand. Here are the indisputable facts: 1) Snake length is prone to "big fish" tales. One need look no further than the ludicrous exaggerations (>200 foot snakes) of 18th and 19th century explorers to prove this. Modern times has seen more moderation, but even a cursory google will find claims of 50 foot snakes in the Amazon and forced-perspective tricks to claim 15 foot rattlesnakes. Facebook is a cess-pool of these. 2) In the 1930's, skeptical scientists at the New York Zoological Society funded a prize for evidence of a snake over 30 feet. It has never been claimed, even though it current sits at over $50,000. 3) Innocent mistakes can lead to false lengths. All through my childhood, I heard from many, many sources that boas reached over 18 feet long (and many sources still claim this); someone located the museum specimen and it was a mis-identified green anaconda. A green anaconda record shrunk by 1/3rd instantly when someone took the time to write to the person who found it, who clarified that the measurement (reported in number of surveying rods) had used the 2 yard rods, not the common 3 yard rods. Outside of snakes, a great white shark grew twenty feet when a tired reporter types "36" rather than "16" when reporting on a fishing tournament (the reporter confirmed this, again, when someone actually bothered to locate him and ask about it). 4) Snake lengths are notoriously hard to measure, especially because the only constant-length part, the vertebral column, is deeply buried within the body and covered with fairly mobile skin. I am literally harassing my co-authors right now about a methods paper using a new technique, specifically because of how terrible other methods are (no COI because it's inapplicable to these records). Running a rope down the snake's back can yield 10% errors, attempting to straighten live snakes is even worse. Better methods are often lethal, dangerous (anaesthesia), or impractical for large species (squeeze boxes). Shed skins and tanned skins can stretch by over 50%. Photographs must be taken under tightly controlled circumstances to prevent forced perspective or perspective distortion, which can alter length in unpredictable ways. You cannot just send out some random person with a tape measure and hope to get anything close to accuracy. Quality measurement is the difference between the truth and aother of the mistakes given in section 3. 5) This topic has been discussed, in great length, on the talk pages of the reticulated python and green anaconda. The consensus was that, because of the poor quality of measurements, the tendency to exaggerate, and the plethora of poorly-substantiated reports out there, it was best to apply a high degree of skepticism to new reports. For instance, this Medusa section will be deleted as soon as we're done here, or at least moved into the "reported but not confirmed" section. I have no doubt that this snake exists, that someone measured her, and they claimed 25 feet. I doubt that they did so accurately, because the details of the measurement methodology was not reported at all, and, given her "celebrity" status, I doubt it was one of the more accurate methods requiring euthanasia or anaesthesia (still a dangerous procedure in snakes). 6) Two exceptionally high quality sources exist on this topic: Murphy's book and the Barker article (linked in the page). Quality of scholarship trumps quantity of webpages. Barker takes the necessary steps of actually locating the remains of a famous python (Colossus), determines they don't measure up even to the zoo reports, and finds out they were "adding a few feet to compensate for kinks" (a common but inaccurate practice of low-quality measurements (see 3). Murphy goes through a huge range of at least semi-plausible reports (including your 33 foot claim), digging up original letters from archives, finding museum specimens where possible, and thoroughly examining the data, eventually weighing which seem plausible and which don't. These are not "just two more sources", these are high-quality, thorough, careful scholarship. Not reading them before weighing in on this topic is like editing the muscle articles based on fitness magazines without ever opening a physiology textbook. 7) We are not in terra incognita here. Based on studies of a variety of snakes, including species so unassuming nobody really cares to exaggerate them, there seems to be a general rule (Pritchard's Rule) that the largest individual of a species is between 1.5 to 2.5 times the minimum size of the species at sexual maturity. This works reasonably well for large snakes too - the largest boa constrictor subspecies is around 6-7 feet at maturity, so the largest adult would be expected to be 14.5-17.5 feet, and the actual record is 16.5 with no convincing evidence of larger specimens. Retics mature at 9-10 feet or so, so the largest should be 22.5-25 feet (making Medusa plasuible but in need of better measurment, but the 33 foot report highly unlikely). To put it in terms of another of my favorite animals, greyhounds are typically between 65-75 lbs, so while there's plenty of 85 lbs big boys and 50 lb peanut females, truly huge greys in the 100lb range are highly rare (I know of only 3) and dogs below 40 lbs are probably whippets or mixes.

In short - this is a topic where there is a lot of 'big fish stories', measurements are often poor (even if well-intentioned), and all of the supposed 30+foot records have evaporated upon careful examination. Consequently, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This has been discussed at length on the pages with many editors, as you can see if you bother to read above; I am merely the one online right now. Please, before continuing to edit, read this, read the talk pages, and read the sources I indicated. HCA (talk) 00:24, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

Ok, HCA let other users have their say no need to get butthurt. I want the length of the snake to be right to a fucking T. I wouldn't make such a big deal out of it if it wasn't the fact the in the lead it says the length is 22 feet, then scroll down and wallah 25 foot long Python captured.

"In the 1930's, skeptical scientists at the New York Zoological Society funded a prize for evidence of a snake over 30 feet. It has never been claimed, even though it current sits at over $50,000."

Yes that was for the anaconda if I'm not mistaken not the python.

Anyways, I just wanted to see what other users think of the Maximum length possible for a Python. Keep in mind everyone Island gigantism Exists among Snakes as well as birds and mammals. --76.107.252.227 (talk) 00:39, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

Actually, the reward is for any species - read the book I keep mentioning.
Also, snakes seem to go for island dwarfism in all the cases I know, including retics. You can go online and buy "dwarf retics" and "super-dwarf retics" with positively tiny adult sizes (6 feet in males), naturally occurring, collected from small islands. Same thing for boa constrictors. HCA (talk) 00:55, 29 August 2015 (UTC)


(edit conflict) (I haven't yet read the above replies.) My understanding is that no one really knows the maximum length with certainty, so no particular estimate or measurement should be stated as an unquestioned fact. Snakes are hard to measure, and measurements are prone to exaggeration, and skins stretch, and most specimens have only been measured once – often in the field, with only one specialist present (or none), and perhaps only by "eyeball" rather than tape measure. Ideally, on such matters, there would be a big snake that is living somewhere that could be measured independently by a dozen different teams of herpetologists and the entire measuring process could be videotaped for posterity and posted on the web. But that basically does not happen. The article should simply acknowledge that a diversity of different estimates and alleged measurements exist, and should report some of them. There was edit warring today about a measurement from more than 100 years ago that was reported in a sensationalistic "book of world records". 100 years is a long time in science. —BarrelProof (talk) 00:41, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
You're right BarrelProof 32 feet maybe wrong just like 22 feet maybe wrong. I wish there was a way to question these so called scientist that are sourced in the lead over there findings, asking them things like "Why is your report superior to other reports of snakes growing too a shorter of longer length?", but you are right it is hard to determine the maximum length for any animal--76.107.252.227 (talk) 00:52, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
After reading the above remarks from HCA, there are certainly some aspects of this that I wasn't aware of (and I'm really impressed with how quickly that lengthy reply was written). I guess it should not be a surprise that some people have devoted a lot of attention to this question. Regarding that reward post by the Zoological Society, my understanding is that the reward was for any snake of that length – regardless of species. —BarrelProof (talk) 00:54, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
Actually, you can have many people measure a snake: that's why we put specimens in museums, for just this purpose (though usually it's more about species identification and definition than just "what's bigger"). Which is part of why scientists get skeptical of any length not linked to a museum specimen they can check themselves. I actually know someone who thinks he found the longest snake in the Americas, a cribo he found on his fieldwork, but it got away in spite of his mad dash for it, and to this day, he says he can never really know how big it really was and never really make that claim (until beer number 3). HCA (talk) 00:58, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
"snakes seem to go for island dwarfism in all the cases I know" Considering The 32 foot snake was found on an island I highly doubt that. Like I said before the 32' length snake might be wrong, but so might be the 22 foot snake. I'll have to keep an eye on this talk page in the mean time.76.107.252.227 (talk) 01:04, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
You are aware that Sulawesi has a greater area than the entire state of Wisconsin, right? HCA (talk) 02:52, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, thats a False equivalence because the smaller the island the bigger the snake *rolls eyes*--76.107.252.227 (talk) 23:13, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
Really? So care to explain why the retics on Kayuadi are only 10 feet long, maximum? Ditto for Madu and Kalatoa (which have even smaller retics)? All islands so incredibly tiny that they barely even merit mention as anything beyond a source of tiny retics? By your logic, the snakes on those islands should be 100 feet long, at least. I'd suggest this paper: http://users.dickinson.edu/~bobacks/pdfs/boback%20island%20main%20snake%20body%20size.pdf , but, since you refuse to read sources other than your own and generally disdain science, I doubt you will. HCA (talk) 00:01, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Great, Now you are making personal attacks against me? I make sure to bring this up If you try to make an emotion block request against me. Also can you care to explain why Guinness has accepted the 32 foot long snake when 49 snakes have been brought up--76.107.252.227 (talk) 22:27, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Since Guinness is not a scientific journal and don't publish there methods, I have no idea. That's what makes them unreliable and unsuitable for a topic like this. They have unknown, unverified, undocumented methodology which is as much tabloid as source. HCA (talk) 14:13, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

It may also be worth keeping in mind that the maximum length is really not such useful information. If someone looks for the maximum height and maximum weight for homo sapiens, they would find a few extremely large outliers, but those outliers are unhealthy people who aren't really proper representatives of their species. Very heavy and very tall people have serious health problems and generally achieve that status because some part of their metabolic system is not functioning properly. A more reasonable and interesting question, from the perspective of encyclopedic knowledge, is what is an estimated length for the 90th or 95th or 99th percentile (if it is possible to obtain an answer to that question) – not just what is the most freakishly huge single individual that has ever been encountered. —BarrelProof (talk) 23:34, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

Agreed wholeheartedly, but it's also exactly the sort of trivia people use WP (and, previously, other encyclopedias) for. Regardless of its statistical irrelevance, it's the sort of thing people want to know, so the best we can do is supply an accurate maximum. HCA (talk) 00:05, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
No, it's not if we can't come to an agreement it should be removed. That is not accurate, It is a pseudo sourced scientific report. we can't come to an agreement cause You refuse to add multiple sources. You refuse to accept Guinness as reliable even though it's the EXACT same source mentioned below, and You been blocked before for edit warring and I can see why. This is no longer a debate and adding back my source end of story.--76.107.252.227 (talk) 22:20, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
I find it highly ironic that you call me out for refusing to accept Guinness, yet I will bet a $20 donation to WP foundation that, as of the timestamp of this posting, you have read *neither* of the sources provided on this page and indicated by me which refute this record. Tell me the first word of on the 3rd page of the relevant chapter of the Murphy book to prove you have it or have access via a library, and I'll fire off $20 to WP. And you do not get to unilaterally declare this discussion over. HCA (talk) 14:13, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Also you are going against WP:ONUS which states, "Consensus may determine that certain information does not improve an article". The amount of policies you have broken on Wikipedia is Astounding--Fruitloop11 (talk) 23:22, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
I have read your source. but I'm not telling the first word of the 3rd page, because you are trying your hardest to humiliate me, and it's not gonna work. I've dealt with a lot of people like you. Your source is still there I just removed it from the lead, which makes sense cause the size should be in the description not the lead. I've also found out that snake experts at the University of Michigan accepts the 32 foot 9 1/2 inch record (http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Python_reticulatus/). It's funny you have this big PH.D, but you still don't know how to compromise. You keep stating the same silliness over and over again without making any changes to the article, and at the same time trying to belittle me for not agreeing with your source or wanting a better source.--Fruitloop11 (talk) 23:43, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
All I ask for is evidence of an assertion; hardly an extreme position. To date, you have provided nothing other than a widely-repeated "big fish story" which has been examined and found wanting in the best available source. And, by the way, your new source has a serious problem:
"Disclaimer: The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students. ADW doesn't cover all species in the world, nor does it include all the latest scientific information about organisms we describe. Though we edit our accounts for accuracy, we cannot guarantee all information in those accounts. While ADW staff and contributors provide references to books and websites that we believe are reputable, we cannot necessarily endorse the contents of references beyond our control."
Look, I'll make this simple: You claim to have read Murphy's book, including the section discussing this specific record. In light of that, what justification do you have for the 32 foot record? What makes you think Murphy & Henderson's conclusion is wrong? Do you have a specimen you can point to? Some significant documentation? Something other than "A lot of people say it, so it must be true"? I've explained that, due to the prevalence of "big fish" stories about these snakes, we can't just accept every claimed report (otherwise the maximum size would be 150 feet long), so what actual evidence makes you think the 32 foot report is real? HCA (talk) 16:10, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
"Disclaimer: The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students." liar trying to get your way. It;s still reliable or it wouldn't be used here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_snakes) You are once again stating the 'if my source isn't right no source is". I am not addressing anymore questions from you until you start answering mine. Why won't you add more sources? Why won't you remove the 25 foot long snake record? Why ain't you talking about how to improve this article instead of turning it into WP:WINNER? Get over it your source is still there while mine is not. You need to act your age. I'm starting to wonder if you actually do have a PH.D cause you are acting very unprofessional. How about you we both just let it go and move on. quit with the mudslinging there are other articles to edit.--Fruitloop11 (talk) 05:36, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
I haven't removed the 25-foot link because I perceive it to be part of this discussion (in regards to the reliability of Guinness measurements), and thus doing so prior to reaching a conclusion here on the talk page would be "edit warring". I have made it clear in previous statements that I think it should either be removed or couched in very equivocating language reflecting my concerns, and anticipate such edits being made once this discussion is concluded.
Regarding sources, let me try to describe what I see as the "chain of reasoning" here. 1) Reports of reticulated pythons (and anacondas) over 30 feet but less than 40 feet are repeated in a variety of secondary sources, some of which you located. Although there are many modern sources, all ultimately trace back to two particular reports (one for the anaconda and one for the retic). 2) I have pointed out another source, written by two established authorities in the field, which examine these original reports in detail and categorize them as likely false. 3) You have refused to acknowledge or address the criticisms raised by that book, and insist on the inclusion of your source regardless of its veracity, seemingly based on some sort of notion of "fairness" and "equal time". Not all sources are equal. Do you have something to add beyond this? HCA (talk) 15:00, 3 September 2015 (UTC)


What is the big deal here? Your source is still there whil mine isn't. I have played be your rules "going to the talk page" and "listening to everything" you have to say. You started this cause you didn't want me posting the 32 foot 9 1/2 record as claimed by Guinness? Well guess what it's still not there. like really every source you have posted is still there. Also this discussion can go on for months long after we have gone on our way. --Fruitloop11 (talk) 23:22, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
My previous comments notwithstanding, I agree that a discussion of typical and maximum length/size is of keen interest to readers and should be included in the article. I just think we need to strive to provide the most realistic and useful information that we can, add all appropriate caveats, and be careful to avoid tabloid-level reliance on dubious unverifiable reports that stretch the bounds of credulity. —BarrelProof (talk) 06:33, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Yet again.
In April 2016, a python captured on the island of Penang in Malaysia was measured at 26.2 feet long (8 metres).<ref>{{cite news|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/11/python-captured-in-malaysia-believed-to-be-worlds-longest-snake/|title=Python Captured in Malaysia Believed to be World's Longest Snake|website=The Telegraph|date=April 11, 2016|accessdate=April 11, 2016}}</ref> However, it died three days after capture while laying an egg.<ref>{{cite news|url=http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/easy/931001/huge-malaysian-python-dies-after-laying-egg|title=Huge Malaysian Python Dies After Laying an Egg|website=Bangkok Post|date=April 12, 2016|accessdate=April 12, 2016}}</ref>

Surely it would be appropriate to discuss this here rather than dismiss it. It contains two substantiated fact- one something was found, and it is now dead and we have photographs. There was a fair discussion in the guardian as to its length- and a couple od subeditors miss labelled the story. We have a problem that our length fact is possibly now outdated. Could we have an expert read the linked articles and just modify the posting. --ClemRutter (talk) 18:39, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

Sensational newspaper reports are not worth paying much attention to. The Telegraph article refers to "initial estimates" of length and "estimated" weight. The Bangkok Post article is similarly vague and includes an estimated length in units of Yao Mings, which doesn't inspire great confidence – and says they expect to hear more from the Civil Defence department later. Neither of them quotes any herpetologists. Civil Defence officials are not who I would seek for reliable information about reptiles. It is not clear whether any scientist will ever see that snake. —BarrelProof (talk) 19:12, 13 April 2016 (UTC)
I trust your herpetological judgement. So how do you suggest that the facts of the media interest are integrated into the article. Should it be a separate section or a paragraph we can't just ignore it -that makes Wikipedia look silly. I don't like media sections- thats just a personal POV. How about starting a paragraph with the phrase:
There are regular claims in the media that the RP is the worlds longest snake, for instance in April 2016, a python captured on the island of Penang in Malaysia was measured at 26.2 feet long (8 metres).[1] However, it died three days after capture while laying an egg.[2]. These reports are sensational rather than reliable, the Telegraph article refers to "initial estimates" of length and "estimated" weight, while the Bangkok Post article relies on the reports from civil defence officials rather than a herpetologist and then go on to reinforce the point about reliability. ClemRutter (talk) 21:07, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ "Python Captured in Malaysia Believed to be World's Longest Snake". The Telegraph. April 11, 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Huge Malaysian Python Dies After Laying an Egg". Bangkok Post. April 12, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2016. 
I think that since Wikipedia is WP:NOTNEWS, we don't need to put something in the article just because some new vague, brief, and unreliable report showed up in recent news. The article already says that numerous unproven and unreliable reports of especially large specimens have been made. Also, a more recent report has appeared in which it was reported that when the unfortunate snake's dead body was measured, it was only 7.5 metres long, whereas "Medusa" was reported as being 7.67 m long in 2011 (specifically, 17 centimetres (6.7 inches) longer), and thus there is no longer a claim that the Malaysian snake was the world's longest. Further straining the credibility of the government spokesperson, we also now have this tidbit: "'Maybe she committed suicide', Mustapha said. 'Maybe she felt threatened so she killed herself.'" Snakes, of course, do not commit suicide (as is pointed out in that report). So although it now seems clear that the idea of this snake being a record-holder in length has been withdrawn, I still have my doubts that even the more recently reported shorter length is accurate. Another new report says "It will be impossible to investigate the death of the giant python since the body was incinerated." This gives me further reason to doubt everything reported about that snake. No real expert apparently had access to it, and the people in possession of it apparently decided to destroy the evidence. —BarrelProof (talk) 16:38, 14 April 2016 (UTC)
I disagree about not mentioning the claim, because in the target 'general readers' mind- there is in now a long snake, and there is an enquiry . Readers may wish at a future date to discover/refer to a this dubious claim- so the wording has to be better than I could achieve. Maybe we should be more specific in explaining why we are dismissing it. You alerted me to your scepticism- and my instincts had already been triggered by the a snake being exactly 8.00 metres long, and the incineration of the remains really does clinch it. As the world tech reference says "the Penang government has requested that the Wildlife and National Parks Department produce a report on the matter", it seems this story will be around for some time. My thoughts are with the poor python. --ClemRutter (talk) 19:19, 14 April 2016 (UTC)

The Thai toilet attack[edit]

I wasn't so surprised that my mentioning the recent well-publicized biting of a chap's privates by a retic from his toilet oldid=722409505 was reverted; the comment being that the incident was "not really sufficiently important". Clearly WP:NOTEVERYTHING and probably WP:DUE are relevant here. But as well as giving the snake a little infamy, does it not reveal something of the snakes behaviour? And perhaps the anecdote adds a little frisson to the article? Batternut (talk) 22:37, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

"normal" adult varies by region.[edit]

so I removed that language in the bit where it says a 130 pound reticulated python couldn't swallow a normal human. In a lot of its territory, it sure could. citation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_body_weight — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.22.38.204 (talk) 14:05, 2 June 2017 (UTC)