Reticulated Python, Broghammerus reticulatus formerly Python reticulatus
The world's longest snake.

Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus, formerly known as Python reticulatus, Albino, World's longest snake, world's longest living snake. Photo by Raymond Hoser, Copyright, Unauthorised use prohibitedReticulated Python

Broghammerus reticulatus

Formerly known as Python reticulatus

World's longest snake.

The Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus is the world’s longest snake. Put another way, it is the world's longest living snake species. There are reports of fossil snakes that may actually exceed the Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus as being the world's longest snake ever. While there are reputed Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus of over 10 metres, it is doubtful if any exist at the present time of that length.

In fact no Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus of that size have ever been reliably reported (that is any specimens of Reticulated Pythons (Broghammerus reticulatus) lodged in Museums as bodies and the like. However the longest snake ever lodged in a Museum (from a living animal) is a Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus giving the species the title of the World's longest snake.

The longest Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus known to science are in the vicinity of about 8 metres or well under 30 feet in length.  There has been a reward for a 30 foot snake on offer in the USA for decades to try to find the World's longest snake and it has never been claimed. Hence all claims for the world's longest snake allegedly exceeding 30 feet, including alleged news clips, must be treated as false. 

It is known that humans have over long periods killed  large specimens of many species, including snakes, meaning that modern specimens are on average smaller than those from years past, when there were less humans around.  Hence it remains entirely possible that in years past there may have been some Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus that may have in fact got to thirty or more feet or close to ten metres.

Captive Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus are now bred in numerous places and there are numerous recognized races and formally named subspecies of Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus.

Broghammerus reticulatus is the world’s longest snake, but not the heaviest.  The Green Anaconda from South America, is shorter, but more stout (thicker) than Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus.

Distribution

The natural range of the Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus is south-east Asia.

Because it's known as the World's longest snake, the Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus is a sought after exhibit in zoos and private collections. In fact zoos and private keepers worldwide keep Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus .

Miscellaneous notes

There are reports of Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus killing people.  Usually Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus kill people either when a large Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus takes a baby in a rural setting or alternatively a keeper is attacked by a pet that confuses the owner with food.

Taxonomy

For many years the Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus was referred to the snake genus Python, with which it is superficially similar.  The obvious link being over-large size.  However in a 2003/2004 paper/publication and for the first time, Australian zoologist Raymond Hoser, known worldwide as The Snakeman, referred to many examined specimens and decided that on the basis of obvious morphological differences that the Reticulated Python should be moved to a new genus.  As no name existed for this taxon, the genus name Broghammerus was erected by Hoser to accommodate the Reticulated Python.

The name Broghammerus is in tribute to a well-known German herpetologist named Stefan Broghammer.

Following the erection of the genus Broghammerus, a group of misfits including serial wildlife smuggler David John Williams, with serious convictions for smuggling and cruelty to reptiles and his associate in unethical activity, Wolfgang Wüster, best known for dishonest academic activity in the form of plagiarisation (fraudulently misrepresenting other people’s discoveries as his own), commenced a campaign of misinformation in terms of the name Broghammerus, to try to claim the name was not appropriate for the Reticulated Python.

These men had an axe to grind following the reporting of the Williams criminal activity in the best selling Hoser books Smuggled and Smuggled-2, published in 1993 and 1996, including the detailing of a very sordid case where Williams was fined $7500 in the Cairns Magistrate’s Court for serious animal cruelty to reptiles as well as illegally trafficking (smuggling) them for profit.

Returning to the Reticulated Pythons, there was besides Hoser’s conclusions, very strong evidence in support of Reticulated Pythons being placed in the genus Broghammerus from considerable earlier data by herpetologist Sam McDowell and others.  In other words, it was somewhat unusual that it had taken so long for herpetologists to twig that something was wrong with the historical placement of these snakes in the genus Python.

In 2008, Leslie Rawlings and others looked at the DNA of the Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus  and other relevant python species and found that the arguments by Williams and Wüster totally lacked merit.
That paper is:
Rawlings, L. H., Rabosky, D. L., Donnellan, S. C. and Hutchinson, M. N. 2008. Python phylogenetics: inference from morphology and mitochondrial DNA. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 93, 603–619.
The paper can be found by doing a search of the internet if the linked text here doesn't find the paper.
Rawlings et. al. found that the claims against the use of the genus name Broghammerus for the Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus were false and that the genus name for these snakes as first assigned by Hoser in 2004 was appropriate.  They estimated a divergence of the Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus and the Burmese Pythons, known as the type species for the genus Python as being about 30-50 million years or perhaps even more.  For most well-known animals, a split of five to ten million years is enough to justify the erection of a new genus (e.g. Pan and Homo have an estimated 4.1 million year divergence from a common ancestor). In summary these authors conmfirmed the Hoser view that the world's pythons fell into three main supergroups, namely the Afro/Asian Pythons, excluding the Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus and it's close relative the Timor Python Broghammerus timorensis, those two species on their own as a separate group, and then the rest of the Australasian pythons, including the Aspidites species into a so-called "Super" Morelia group of common ancestry as seen in the phylogeny diagram reproduced in altered form below here. Other phylogenies for the group have made similar conclusions, however with time-lines virtually halved for all species/genus groups. Notwithstanding this differential, even at the shorter (more conservative) divergence times, the classification of the pythons into the named (coloured text in image below) genus groups, becomes the only logical, consistent and sensible option. Notable is that the genus Lenhoserus for the Boelen's Python is more secure than better known and more widely used generic names for species groups including, those for the Aspidites and Liasis splits, or the Morelia and Antaresia group splits. The phylogeny also shows that all other 'Hoser' and 'Wells and Wellington' genus names first assigned in the period 1984/2004 are in fact valid, as well as supporting the Hoser position that the genus Apodora should not be recognised.

In other words Hoser’s genus Broghammerus was secure in terms of the modern classification system used by most practicing zoologists and herpetologists and hence the name Broghammerus reticulatus was by end 2008 generally accepted by all practicing herpetologists, which was well after both the Hoser and Rawlings et. al. papers had been widely disseminated and made well known. By way of example on 2 December 2008, the internet junkie Wüster even posted on an internet forum that he accepted that Hoser was correct about Broghammerus and that he knew the name was generally accepted and the correct one at that. That forum thread is archived here.

More disgracefully, and even well after even Wüster had privately conceded on the forum on 2 December 2008 that Broghammerus was the correct genus name for the Reticulated Pythons, Wüster has been active in dishonestly deliberately spreading false misinformation about Broghammerus all over the place, including on countless other internet sites, including for example “Wikipedia" where in the three months to May 2009, Wüster attacked the “Python reticulatus” website (as user “mokele”) more than a dozen times to try to maintain the dissemination of false and defamatory information and the deliberate lie that most reptile experts did not recognise the Hoser genus name Broghammerus. The relevant page from Wikipedia, replete with Wüster's false and defamatory information (shown as such by cross-referencing with his 2 December 2008 forum post) has been archived as of 22 May 2009, as well as the two webpages of recent "editing" history, showing these facts and the total dishonesty of Wüster. They have been archived here and elsewhere before he gets a chance to delete his now documented trail of dishonesty, fraud and deception as has happened before when Wüster and/or associates in crime and dishonesty have been caught out falsifying material.
The 22 May 2009 Wikipedia webpage can be found by clicking here.
The most recent edit history for the page (as of 22 May 2009) is seen by clicking here.
And the previous edit history is shown by clicking here.
Similar falsification and misrepresentation of the facts by Wüster is seen in previous Wikipedia edits spanning years!

Wüster has made similar false and defamatory alterations on many other “Wikipedia” pages on snakes, making it a highly unreliable source of information on reptiles in general.

While the volume of internet activity and dishonesty by Wüster is way to vast for someone to catalogue in one place, some further material in relation to other earlier lies and misinformation by Wüster and convicted wildlife smuggler David Williams can also be found in a paper entitled:
Creationism and contrived science: A review of recent python systematics papers and the resolution of issues of taxonomy and nomenclature. By Raymond Hoser in Australasian Journal of Herpetology 2 (2009):1-34.
That paper is also published on the internet (see linked text) and worth reading in full by anyone with a serious interest in python systematics.

Other than the nominate race for Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus. There are several recognized subspecies of Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus. For details of these and other material, refer to the material below the phylogeny diagram below that is adapted from that first published by Rawlings et. al. 2008 (Showing a a divergence of more than 40 million years for the genus Broghammerus from the other Australasian pythons).

Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus, formerly known as Python reticulatus, phylogeny

These are:

Broghammerus reticulatus jampeanus, (Auliya et al. 2002) which is a Reticulated Python from the the Selayar Archipelago south of Sulawesi.

Broghammerus reticulatus saputrai, (Auliya et al. 2002) from the Selayar Archipelago and Sulawesi.

Broghammerus reticulatus dalegibbonsi Hoser 2004 which is a Reticulated Python from Ambon Island in the Moluccas in Indonesia.

Broghammerus reticulatus euanedwardsi Hoser 2004 which is a Reticulated Python from Nakhon Ratchasima, Central Thailand.

Broghammerus reticulatus haydnmacphiei Hoser 2004 which is a Reticulated Python from the Kapit District, Sarawak, (Borneo), Malaysia.

Broghammerus reticulatus neilsonnemani Hoser 2004 which is a Reticulated Python from the Kapit District, Sarawak, (Borneo), Malaysia.

Broghammerus reticulatus patrickcouperi Hoser 2004 which is a Reticulated Python from "Djamplong", South Timor.

Broghammerus reticulatus stuartbigmorei Hoser 2004 which is a Reticulated Python from Buitenzore, Java, Indonesia.

The paper by Hoser published in 2003/4, cited widely as Hoser 2004, did not mention the Auliya et. al. subspecies of Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus in the paper as it had been submitted for publication to the journal well prior to the earlier paper actually coming out.

The publication of the Hoser 2003/4 paper was delayed as a result of editorial discretion beyond any control of the author.  Contrary statements by the misfits named above are demonstrably false.

However fortunately for Hoser, the subspecies of Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus named by Auliya et al. 2002 weren’t named by him.

It is widely known that there remain several undescribed subspecies of Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus and it is only a matter of time before a major revision of the Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus gives a more accurate representation of the various populations of these snakes with one another.

Captivity.

Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus do well in captivity, breed prolifically and live for decades.

Numerous mutants Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus have been bred in captivity, including albinos, so-called “Granite form” and others.  Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus are expensive when rare mutants, but prices invariably drop as more are bred.

While some captive Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus are regarded as “aggressive” this is commonly a result of mishandling by keepers who are unduly rough with their snakes.  It is illegal to use tongs to handle Reticulated Pythons Broghammerus reticulatus in most jurisdictions.

Further Reading:

Hoser, R. T. 2009. Creationism and contrived science: A review of recent python systematics papers and the resolution of issues of taxonomy and nomenclature.
Australasian Journal of Herpetology 2 (2009):1-34.

Hoser, R. T. 2003/4. A reclassification of the pythoninae including the descriptions of two new genera, two new species and nine new subspecies. Crocodilian 4(3): (November 2003):31-37 and 4(4): (June 2004):21-40.
This is the paper naming the Reticulated Python genus Broghammerus.

Other links of interest:

Herpetology papers website at: http://www.herp.net

Rattlesnakes reclassified in 2009

 

This webpage with accurate information
about the Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus, the world's longest snake is by
Snakebusters, Australia's reptile experts.

Copyright Snakeman Raymond Hoser. All rights reserved
World's longest snake, world's longest snake, Reticulated Python Broghammerus reticulatus formerly Python reticulatus.