The longest snake in the world is the reticulated python, Malayopython reticulatus. While they typically stretch to lengths surpassing 6 meters (12 feet), the longest ever recorded was a whopping 9.75-meter (32-foot) reticulated python that was found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 1912. Unfortunately, that lengthy specimen was also shot, so the record was smashed posthumously.
The longest snake in the world ever to be kept in captivity was a slinky lady called Medusa who was measured at 7.67 meters (25 feet, 2 inches) long. According to the 2011 Guinness World Record in which she’s celebrated, Medusa was housed at “The Edge of Hell Haunted House” in Kansas City, and it took 15 people to carry the 10-year-old snake in order for her record measurement to be taken.
Feeding such a lengthy world record holder required a blend of rabbits and hogs, and she could swallow a whole 18-kilogram (40-pound) deer in one sitting. Medusa herself weighed 158.8 kilograms (350 pounds). While Medusa is the most recent record-breaking snake to be acknowledged by Guinness World Records, another, longer reticulated python was found in 2018.
The humongous reptile was 8 meters (26 feet) long (pictures here), but died just three days after it was captured on a construction site in Penang, Malaysia. It’s believed the giant was laying an egg when she passed, but exactly what killed her wasn’t known.
As well as being the longest snake in the world, the reticulated python can reproduce on its own through asexual reproduction, also known as parthenogenesis. An 11-year-old reticulated python named Thelma was the first to show off the talent to the scientific community after laying six fertilized eggs without mating with a male.
That Thelma had been storing up sperm was able to be ruled out using skin shedding samples for genetic analysis, which showed all six babies were produced by her alone. In sexual reproduction, sperm and egg cells need to fuse to create an embryo, but in Thelma’s case, cells called polar bodies (which contain genetic material leftover from egg cell formation) basically took the place of sperm.
So, not only the world’s longest snake, but one that can make other long snakes all on its own.
Fingers crossed they don’t learn how to cartwheel like the dwarf reed snake.