While today the common name of Reticulated Python (often shortened to “Retic” or “Tic”) is prevalent it is also interesting to note names of bygone times.
Starting in the nineteenth century this species was referred to as the “Ular Sowa” by many academics. Reference to this name can be found in a mid nineteenth century publication describing the contents of the British natural history museum.
This was then changed at some point in the twentieth century to the “Regal Python” in reference to it's “king like” status within the world of snake keeping. It was only towards the end of the twentieth century that this name fell out of fashion, mainly due to the increasing popularity of the “Royal Python”. Confusion between the two species based on common name alone was enough for the species to rapidly become the “Retic” that we know, and love, today.
The name Python reticulatus is derived from the word reticulated. This word, and the subsequent species name is common within the animal kingdom, being used in names for many between frogs and giraffes. The meaning of the word relates to the net like pattern found on these animals. In Reticulated Pythons this reticulation can vary in colour and intensity but is always found on “wild type” specimens.
Other common factors are scale counts, which although varied between the 3 sub-species are always constant. These can be found below and used to positively identify each specimen type.
| ||Mid Body Scales||Ventral Scales|
The following image was adapted from the 2002 works by M. Auliya et al, it clearly shows how the three sub species vary in both head scalation and shape.
From right to left, the sub-species are P.r.reticulatus, P.r.saputrai and P.r.jampeanus.