Reticulated python teeth hold no venom.
But they can still do some damage.
If you suffer a reticulated python bite and the snake detaches itself, the slender fangs scarcely leave a scar. But if the snake is forcefully removed, the wounds can be much more severe, thanks to the curved teeth.
The snake usually bites as a form of defense. If it intends on making a meal of you, it will also wrap its coils around you, blocking off you airway and cutting off blood circulation to the brain.
Even though this is a fairly docile snake when mature, be careful how you handle it.
If you are nervous, you can put it into defensive mode. Never position your face or body over one of these snakes when they’re nervous. They may see you as a threat, which could result in a serious bite.
If you do get bit, let’s find out exactly what is in store for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 Reticulated Python Teeth
- 2 Reticulated Python Bite Force
- 3 Reticulated Python Info
- 4 Reticulated Python Bite: Final thoughts
Reticulated Python Teeth
In the wild, these snakes will eat monkeys, wild pigs, birds, and even porcupines. In captivity, however, they are fed a rabbit every few weeks.
Human beings can potentially also appear on this snake’s menu, but this is extremely rare. You may think that a rabbit every other week is too little for such a large snake, but it has a low metabolism and doesn’t eat for weeks, or even months, in the wild.
When you think of eating, you think of teeth. The Reticulated Python is a carnivorous snake, using its sharp teeth that are curved towards the back of the mouth. It uses these teeth to hold onto its prey which it swallows whole. The entire animal is digested in the snake’s stomach.
The teeth of the python are also used in combat. Male snakes often fight, and this combat action turns the teeth into ‘weapons of war’ that are used to inflict wounds on the other snake.
These pythons have about 100 teeth – 70 in the upper and 30 in the lower jaw. You can’t see the teeth as they’re sheathed inside the gums. Muscles pull the gums back, baring the teeth when they strike. When that happens, you can see that the Retic’s teeth are curved towards the back of their mouth.
These snakes have a strong jaw grip, but their small teeth aren’t capable of drawing too much blood. The bottom line is that non-venomous snake bites pose no real threat. However, all snake bites are susceptible to infection if not treated carefully.
Reticulated Python Bite Force
Unfortunately, the force of a Reticulated Python bite hasn’t been studied very well, but it is estimated that a python can exert a force of 200 psi. The psi of snake bites isn’t something too many scientists are interested in.
Brains, in general, can’t withstand powerful acceleration. When we do experience strong acceleration, blood goes to our feet and the brain is deprived of vital oxygen. If it happens too quickly, blood can’t return quickly enough to the brain and we lose consciousness.
But what about snakes?
A snake like the reticulated python manages to find a way around this when striking its prey with such force. It is thought that the structure of the snake’s skull makes provisions for this. Their skulls are mobile with joints that allow for stretching. Snakes, in other words, can absorb shock.
There have been Reticulated Python attacks on human, and it is interesting to look at the force these snakes exert during constriction.
According to a pressure reading, after one such attack on an Indonesian field worker, biology experts tell us that the python generated almost 300 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure during constriction. Such a force can do a lot of internal damage to the prey.
Even after this test, snake experts believe we don’t know the full strength of a large reticulated python.
Reticulated Python Info
The Reticulated Python is the world’s longest snake and also a widely distributed serpent. Most times people simply refer to them as Retics or Tics for short. They are a subspecies of the Python family.
The longest Retic so far is documented at 33 feet. On average, however they grow to between 14 and 16 feet. A Reticulated Python in captivity can reach between 12 and 20 years of age.
The Origin Of The Name ‘Reticulated’
It is unfortunate that this snake is hunted for its skin, and we can only hope that this large non-venomous constrictor doesn’t hit the endangered list. It has an interesting skin pattern which looks like mesh or netting, and this is precisely how this snake got its name.
Scientists use the word ‘reticulated’ when describing a net-like formation of a pattern – a pattern like a network of lines. The word ‘reticulate’ means ‘network’. In nature, reticulated pythons are a mix of colors – dark green, olive green, white, black and gold, but there are also many morphs.
Intelligent Enough To Know Their Owners?
These are intelligent snakes. Some python owners report that their snakes have shown recognition and responsiveness towards them.
But be warned: even if you think your snake is ‘familiar’ with you, remember the saying “familiarity breeds contempt.” It can definitely apply with this snake. While being handled, this huge snake can turn on you, so always exercise caution (just watch the video above, to see an example of this).
Some Reticulated Python owners allow these serpents to come out of their huge enclosures and to slither around their home. They feel they know their pet snake and that the snake should be allowed to roam freely from time to time, like the other pets in the home do.
Other python owners speak from experience and issue a warning to not allow this, more so when there are small children and animals in the home. These pythons are known as ‘psycho’ snakes by some people who have had a bad experience with them.
Some snake lovers might take offense to a name like this, saying these are gentle snakes. But they are wild animals and their temperament can be unpredictable. Yes, they are fairly solitary creatures and you could go as far as saying that they are somewhat docile, but you can never let your guard down, particularly because the snake is so powerful.
Leave Reticulated Pythons To More Experienced Snake Keepers
Reticulated pythons are known for having an aggressive temperament in the wild, but captive-bred Retics can make awesome pets with the right kind of care. However, because of their huge size, we only recommended them for those snake keepers who have experience with snakes and who understand the different species.
Younger Retics are more prone to bite, but as they mature, they become more familiar with their owners. Always be sensitive to your pet snake and never, ever let your guard down.
Never become too familiar with this python of yours. Even familiar, satiated, content snakes can have that bad day and strike out at you, ensuring that your name hits the news as the next human being to become lunch for their pet Reticulated Python.
A Safer Python Alternative: The Ball Python
Ball pythons don’t have fangs as such but they do have teeth. Most people just refer to them as fangs, regardless of size. These snakes constrict their prey, and their teeth move the prey into position to be swallowed.
Many people just assume that a snake is synonymous with a bite, and they’re often reluctant to keep them as pets. The great thing is that there are so many non-venomous snakes that make great pets, and which are not likely to bite.
Yes, if the Ball Python is startled or irritated, it can bite. A Ball Python bite will just give you a few puncture marks and a pin-prick of blood to show for it.
The chance of a Ball Python biting you is actually rare. Captive bred snakes are tame and have become used to people and to being handled. Most of these snakes are fairly docile, which is why they are always recommended for beginning pet snake owners.
How To Avoid Ball Python Bites
The best way to avoid bites from your Ball Python, and any animal for that matter, is to avoid giving it any reasons to strike out and nip you.
- Hunger can cause your snake to bite you. Ensure your snake is fed in a timely fashion.
- Feeling threatened is another reason a snake such as the Ball Python will bite you. When a snake is afraid due to quick movements, it becomes agitated and stressed and will strike out.
- A snake that is shedding also just wants to be left in peace. A snake’s eyesight changes during shedding. It can sense your hand probing around in the cage and will likely want to strike out.
- When approaching your Ball Python, always come from behind to handle your snake. Remember, if you are in any way nervous around your docile Ball Python, you can invest in a pair of reptile hand gloves. These gloves are bite resistant, are multi-functional and are ideal for use by veterinarians, pet shop workers, and pet owners.
Reticulated Python Bite: Final thoughts
Even the best, most gentle of snakes can have a bad day, which can make them irritable and want to bite. But some snakes are more docile than others.
The Reticulated Pythons is also docile, but due to its size, it is more dangerous. It also requires much more space, effort and experience to care for it properly.
A bite from a reticulated python will hurt, but it will not do lasting damage, unless it becomes infected. Nevertheless, you should not get one of these huge snakes unless you know what you are doing.