Distribution and Habitat:
The Reticulated Python is endemic to South and Southeast Asia. It reaches its most western distribution on the mainland in northeastern India’s Arunachal Pradesh where it is present in Mouling National Park (about 29ºN 95ºE) and it ranges eastward into Myanmar, southward to peninsular Malaysia and eastward through all of the Indochinese Peninsula. Despite its presence in northern Vietnam, it seems to be absent from southern mainland China. In Indonesia and eastern Malaysia it is ubiquitous throughout the islands and ranges as far east as the Halmahera Island and the Tanimbar Islands. In the Philippines it is also found on most, if not all islands including the Batanes Islands (Itbayat Island about 21ºN 121ºE) according to O’Shea (2007).
The western edge of the distribution of the reticulatus complex is uncertain. Deoras (1965) reported it near Ratanpur in Madhya Pradesh (about 22º21’N 82º17’E). It has been documented in Arunachal Pradesh’s Mouling National Park (about 29ºN 95ºE) and this most likely represents the extreme northwestern edge of its range. This species complex is also present in the Nicobar Island (Whitaker and Whitaker, 1983; Whitaker and Captain, 2004) which are politically part of India but biogeographically are Southeast Asian.
Kahn (1982) suggested reticulatus is restricted to Chittagong and Sylhet regions of the country. And, Islam and Islam (1997) consider the species in the forests of Ramu and Ukhia in the southeastern part of the country.
Salter (1983) considered reticulatus common in all parts of the county. Wall (1926) reported it from: Martaban, Pegu Yomas, Taninthari, Tavoy, and Rangoon. Auliya (2006) also reports it from the Kyatthin Wildlife Sanctuary about 23ºN Latitude.
Cox (1991, 1997) and Cox et (1998) consider it widespread throughout Thailand to 1500 m.
Cox (1997) discusses the Reticulated Python in urban Bangkok. He found one that was 4.8 m long and recovered recent hatchlings from under human dwellings. Evidence that they are indeed reproducing in the city was obvious. As vegetation is replaced by concrete he suggests that the snakes will become less common. DeHass (1950) suggested it did not go north of 18ºN, however given its distribution in neighboring countries it seems likely that it also occurs north of this line in Thailand. Inger and Colwell reported it from 14º 30’N and 101º 55’ E in Nakhon Ratchasima Province. Chan’ard et al (1999) reports it from Khao Lak Lamru National Park in Phangnga Province between 8º and 9º N and Puhket Island. I have found it near Hat Yai, at the Ton Nga Chang Waterfall Park (about 7ºN).
Deuve (1970) considered it present throughout the country but more common in the central and southern provinces. Stuart (1999) reported its presence in a markets in the vicinity of Viangchan (=Vientianne) near the border with Thailand.
St. Girons, 1972 reported it from Trapeang Chan, north of 12ºN. Davidson (2006) reports a large population of this snake in the core area of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.
Campden-Main (1970) considered reticulatus common in south Vietnam, but also reports it from about 21ºN north, near Hanoi. Nguyen et al. (2009) provide a lengthy list of Vietnam localities suggesting that it is widespread in country.
Walls (1998) reports it as present in China, however Wall (1903), Stanley (1914), Pope (1935) suggest its presence in China is the result of human transport. Auliya (2003) reports a Naturalis (Leiden Museum) specimen that was collected in 1864 at “Emoy” (probably Amoy) which was China’s major port in the 19th Century.
Peninsular (West) Malaysia
It is found throughout the country. It has been reported from Kedah, Perak, and the Tasek Bera wetlands near Bahau. Auliya reports a voucher specimen (ZFMK 70560) that documents it in the city of Kuala Lumpur. It also occurs on offshore islands such as Penang, Langkawi, and Tioman (Boulenger, 1893, Barker and Barker, 1997; Grismer et al. 2006). Cantor (1847) describes one being shot at sea from a ship 3 or 4 miles from shore.
Boulenger (1893), DeHaas (1950) Groombridge and Luxmoore (1991), and Lim and Lim (1992) report it as present on this island. And, Sworder (1923) wrote, “In spite of its large size this snake is still far from rare on Singapore Island. Several specimens have recently been captured within the Municipal limits.”
McCoy (2006) describes the habitat as ranging from rainforests and monsoon forests to agricultural land.
Hodges considered reticulatus widely distributed on the island. It has been reported from many specific localities on Java proper as well as many offshore satellite island. And, Hoesel (1959) considered P. r. reticulatus to be more arboreal than P. m. bivittatus. Dammerman (1948) noted that no snakes were found on the Krakatau island during an investigation in May, 1908, but that Brun visited the island in September of 1908 and found a “…big boa constrictor…” The snakes were present on the islands from 1917 through 1921 because a resident complained about them feeding on his chickens. Reticulated pythons are expert island colonists. Rawlinson et al. (1990) summarizes their history of colonizing the Krakatua Islands in Indonesia. The eruption of the Krakatau volcano in 1888 obliterated all terrestrial life on the islands; by 1908 the presence of a reticulated python was documented on the remnant island of Rakata. Centuries after the historic eruption breeding populations were documented on Rakata, Sertung, and Panjang islands. As rat (Rattus rattus and R. timomanicus) numbers increased on these islands so did the snakes. Its point of dispersal was probably the island Sebesi, a distance of about 7.5 miles to the nearest point on Sertung. It is also important to note that while reticulated pythons are usually associated with forests, that the islands at this time were mostly covered with grass, and the habitat was very open at many locations. Dammerman (1948) reported the habitat as grass jungle and virgin forest, but also noted its presence in treeless landscapes.
Reticulated Pythons are widespread on this island and may only be absent from the higher elevations. Boulenger (1920) reports a specimen from 2450 feet in the Korinichi Valley, West Sumatra.
The Reticulated Python is probably found throughout Kalimantan, Indonesia; Brunei, and the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah.
This python is common and widespread on Sulawesi according to de Lang and Vogel (2005). They describe the habitat as ranging from primary and secondary rainforest in lowland and into mountainous regions to elevations of 1300 m. The snake also uses rocky scrub land, swamps and agro-ecosystems. It also occurs in villages and cities.
This island group extends from Lombok to Wetar and were formed by two island arcs. The Reticulated Python has been reported from Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, and Timor (DeHaas, 1950; de Rooji, 1917). The southernmost edge of the range is probably Sumba Island (9º 50’S 119ºE), Indonesia. The most southeast edge of its distribution is likely the Indonesia Island of Kepulan Tanimbar (about 7º 33’S 131º29’E) (Kopstein, 1927).
Reticulated Pythons are widespread in the Philippines and island records are given by Taylor (1922) and Leviton (1963). Habitat ranges from primary rainforest to agro ecosystems (Brown and Acala, 1964). The northeastern edge of the range is most likely Iybayat Island (about 20º 30’N 121º56’E) north of Luzon, but closer to Taiwan (O’Shea, 2007).
The Maluku Islands (Moluccas)
Many, if not all, of the 66 islands are inhabited by this python. Boulenger (1883), deRooji (1917), Kopstein (1925), DeHaas (1950) and Barker and Barker (1997) report localities within this island group for this snake.