The longest snake you've ever seen

By Philip Sherwell

The world's longest snake caught on the Malaysian island of Penang. Photo / Herme Herisyam, Malaysia Civil Defence Force
The world's longest snake caught on the Malaysian island of Penang. Photo / Herme Herisyam, Malaysia Civil Defence Force

A huge python caught in Malaysia is believed to be the longest snake ever captured, after initial estimates measured the reptile at more than 8m.

The reticulated python was spotted curled under a tree by workers on a building site for a new flyover in Paya Terubong on the popular holiday island of Penang.

The staff called civil defence department personnel who took about 30 minutes to capture the snake. They later posed for photographs that illustrated the creature's size.

The Malaysian snake died on Sunday after giving birth, Herme Herisyam, operations chief for Penang's Civil Defence Department's southwest district, told the BBC.

The Guinness Book of World Records currently accords the title for longest snake in captivity to Medusa, also a reticulated python, which lives in Missouri in the US and measures 7.6m when fully extended.

But when it comes to tipping the scales, Medusa is a relative lightweight.

The python caught in Penang is estimated to weigh nearly 250kg while its American counterpart comes in at about 158kg.

Medusa is currently on show in "The Edge of Hell Haunted House" in Kansas City. It is advertised as "the largest man eating python in captivity" and is fed on a diet of rabbits, hogs and deer.

The Guinness World Records organisation will need to confirm the measurements of the Penang pretender to the title before Medusa is officially displaced.

Sightings in the wild of even longer snakes have been reported, but not confirmed. A python shot in Indonesia in 1912 was reportedly about 10m-long.

A 5m reticulated python was discovered by horrified walkers floating dead in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Lancashire in 2015.

Python reticulatus, also known as the Asiatic reticulated python, are normally native to south east Asia and are the world's longest snakes.

They are non-venomous constrictors and are normally not considered dangerous to humans. But large specimens have been occasionally claimed human casualties.

In 2009, scientists in Colombia have found the fossilised bones of a "monster"snake that is believed to have reached 12.8m in length and weighed more than a tonne.

The creature, which has been named Titanoboa cerrejonensis, lived in the South American rainforest more than 60 million years ago and is the largest snake ever to have slithered the earth.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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