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Publication #WEC294

Florida Invader: Reticulated Python1

Steve Johnson and Monica McGarrity2

Figure 1. 

Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus) Credits: Photo by Patrick Lynch, South Florida Water Management District, 2009


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Report Reticulated Python sightings immediately:

1-888-IveGot1 (1-888-483-4681; live animals only)

www.IveGot1.org (provide photos if possible)

The Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus) is native to southeastern Asia. Although escaped or released pets have been found in the wild, this species is not yet breeding in Florida. This is a large, nocturnal predator that may grow to more than 20 feet long and kills its prey by constriction. In Florida, Reticulated Pythons could prey on many native mammals and birds. Several threatened and endangered species could be at risk, particularly wading birds such as the Wood Stork. In their native range, Reticulated Pythons inhabit tropical rainforest and depend upon nearby water sources; urban canals and tropical landscaping could provide a hospitable environment for introduced pythons in Florida. Females can breed at two to four years of age and lay up to 100 eggs (usually 2–6 dozen). Lifespan is 15–25 years.

Figure 2. 

The Reticulated Python's head is tan with a dark center line and thin, dark eye stripes. The eyes are a distinctive reddish color. Credits: Photo by Patrick Lynch, South Florida Water Management District, 2009; Illustration by United States Geological Survey, 2009


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Figure 3. 

The Reticulated Python's body is tan and marked with a dark, net-like pattern. The net-like pattern is accented with yellow and white markings. Credits: Photo by Patrick Lynch, South Florida Water Management District, 2009; Illustration by Monica E. McGarrity, University of Florida, 2010


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Figure 4. 

The Common Boa, shown here, looks very similar to the Reticulated Python, but has much wider facial bands (not thin eye stripes) and its back is marked with tan, oval markings—like saddles. Credits: Photo by Patrick Lynch, South Florida Water Management District, 2009


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Acknowledgments

This project was made possible in part by a grant from the South Florida National Parks Trust and the Ferris Greeney Family Foundation, and by the USDA-RREA. This document was created as additional reference material for the Introduced Reptile Early Detection and Documentation training program, also known as REDDy. For more information, visit http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/reddy.shtml.

Footnotes

1.

This document is WEC294, one of a series of the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date August 2010. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Steve A. Johnson, associate professor and Extension specialist, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, University of Florida/ IFAS–Plant City Center, 1200 North Park Road, Plant City, FL 33563; Monica McGarrity, biological scientist, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, University of Florida/ IFAS–Plant City Center, 1200 North Park Road, Plant City, FL 33563


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.