At the Detroit Zoo
In 2011, the Detroit Zoo created a striking new home for an 18-foot female reticulated python at the Holden Reptile Conservation Center. The centerpiece of the 20-by-8-by-8 foot space is a large stone head deity – created by Detroit Zoo reptile keeper David Blanchard – fashioned after temple idols found at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The enclosure also features a variety of plants and trees to offer the python the sanctuary she would find in her native habitat as well as a basking pool that provides underwater viewing for visitors. The Zoo’s reticulated python was estimated to be 16 years old when she was rescued from a private owner in July 2010. Each year, the Detroit Zoological Society receives more than 100 requests from pet owners looking for a new home for their reptiles, and only on rare occasions is able to accept one.
It is the longest snake species in the world, averaging around 22 feet and reaching up to 30 feet. A black criss-cross pattern runs the length of the python’s gray, brown and tan body, giving it the reticulated name. The snake’s coloring contributes to its ability for camouflage to elude predators and conceal itself from potential prey.
The reticulated python is a “constrictor”; it uses its large, strong body to constrict and then suffocate its prey.