It was initially thought to be the longest snake ever caught, but unfortunately its capture might have prompted its death.
A reticulated python was found under a fallen tree near a highway overpass construction site in Paya Terubong on the island of Penang, Malaysia. Just three days after it was captured by construction workers, the python died.
The female snake was initially thought to be at least 8 meters (26 feet) long, surpassing the world’s longest recorded snake. This is another reticulated python known as Medusa – a 7.67-meter-long (25.2 feet) python in captivity in Kansas City, Missouri. However, a remeasure showed the native Malaysian python was actually 7.5 meters (24.6 feet.)
While Missouri’s Medusa may be longer, it is thought that this python actually weighs more despite its shorter stature – estimated at 250 kilograms (550 pounds) compared to the 158.8-kilogram (350-pound) Medusa.
Malaysian news report that several people attempted to buy the python for around 10,000 Malaysian rupees ($2,600), which Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force declined. The eventual plan was to return the massive reptile back into the wild; however, it died while laying an egg on Sunday.
Shazree Mustapha, a public relations officer at Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force, speculated on the python’s cause of death, saying: “Maybe she committed suicide. Maybe she felt threatened so she killed herself.”
This claim has since been dismissed by snake experts. They venture that rough handling during capture could have caused its untimely death. The video above shows construction workers kicking the python, as well as using a wired catch pole to contain it.
Raymond Hoser, a snake expert who gave reticulated pythons their scientific name Broghammerus Reticulatus, told The Guardian: “Snakes don’t just drop dead. If they die there is a reason.”
He added: “The most likely reason is injuries sustained when caught or after being caught. Snakes are relatively delicate animals. If they used a noose to catch the snake, that has caused the injury that has caused the death.”