A humongous reticulated python measuring 26.2-foot-long (8 meters) long was captured at a Malaysian construction site last week, but the snake died three days later while laying an egg, news sources report.
The Malaysian snake was longer than five grand pianos (each piano is about 5 feet, or 1.5 m long); a pickup truck (those are about 19.3 feet, or 5.8 m); and almost as long as an adult giraffe standing on the head of another giraffe (giraffes are about 14 feet tall, or 4.3 m).
People spotted the enormous serpent at an overpass construction site in Paya Terubong, a district on the island of Penang Construction workers immediately called emergency services on Thursday (April 7); authorities worked for 30 minutes to capture the roughly 550-lb. (250 kilograms) beast, the Guardian reported.
Reticulated pythons, which are native to Southeast Asia, are the longest snakes in the world, said Stephen Secor, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama, who wasn’t involved with the Malaysian snake’s capture. These snakes are indeterminate growers, meaning they continue growing indefinitely, although they typically grow at a slower rate in old age, he said.
Alternatively, the snake could have died because it was traumatized from its capture, Secor said. “I don’t know why the snake died,” he said. “It probably didn’t die because it laid an egg.”
Although the snake is dead, the specimen could still be used to educate the public. For instance, a taxidermist could preserve the serpent, or its skin could be put on display at a museum, Secor said.
Python skins are often saved, but this makes it hard to officially measure them afterward, as skins can be stretched. It’s also hard to measure pythons because of all the kinks, or bends, in their bodies. Even so, larger snakes may exist in the wild; in 1912, people reported that a 32-foot-long (10 m) python was discovered in Indonesia, the Guardian said.