Reticulated pythons are strictly carnivorous. They are most productive as ambush predators, often waiting in trees for unsuspecting prey (Murphy and Henderson 1997). They are also known to be active foragers, however this method of hunting is seldom used because of the amount of energy it requires. P. reticulatus typically feeds on birds and mammals. This diet extends however to dogs, large deer, pigs and on rare occasions humans (Mattison 1999, Murphy and Henderson 1997). R. Shine (1999) found that prey sizes increased rapidly with growth. Small snakes feed mostly on rats, but shift to larger mammals (e.g. pangolins, porcupines, monkeys, wild pigs, and mouse deer) at only 3-4 meters body length. Reticulated pythons, like all reptiles, have a low metabolic rate allowing them to go without food for long periods of time. In 1926, a captive specimen at Regent's Park refused food for 23 months, after which it accepted a meal and continued to feed normally (Murphy and Henderson 1997).
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