Predator and Prey: Reticulated Pythons and Humans

Reticulated Pythons (Broghammerus reticulatus) inhabit South and Southeast Asia and they are the longest snake alive today. Humans are attacked and eaten by these super predators and in Indonesia and Sarawak (Malaysia) there are 20 reasonably reliable cases known in the last 150 years. Ruud de Lang reports that this is an underestimate of reality because many cases of Reticulated Python predation on humans remain known only at the local level. He investigated several incidents. As is often the case, food webs are more complex that first thought, and humans do prey upon and eat Reticulated Pythons. He notes the difficult in deciding why the Reticulated Pythons attacked humans. They may have been accidental encounters that resulted in a defensive attack or a hungry snake waiting in ambush for a prey. Large Reticulated Pythons are strong and a single person is no match for a snake that is 3 m long or more.

De Lang R., 2010. The Reticulated Python (Broghammerus reticulatus) and man (Homo sapiens) Eat Each Other: Animals , Enjoy Your Meal! Litteratura Serpentium 30(4):254-269. 

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