Illustration from Wallace (1865) The Malay Archipelago of a large python that entered his house in Amboyna an Indonesian island east of Borneo. Wallace included a self-portrait of himself  (holding a gun)  in the drawing.

Photograph of a Reticulated Python killed in a logging camp near Miri in Sarawak just south of the Brunei border and said to be the largest snake in Borneo. Note that this photo is taken with a wide angle lens and so the size of the snake is distorted.

The Largest Snake in Borneo ?

Below is a condensed account of the largest python known for Brunei which was killed close to the  location of the Ulu Ulu Resort in 1978. 

“” During the 1978 Ulu Temburong expedition, I was returning to base camp with Private Yusuf of R.B.M.R after an unsuccessful pig hunt. We followed a small river that flowed into the Temburong, just below the expedition’s base camp.

There were many pig tracks in the sand on either side of the river and so we both went slowly and carefully in case we should see one. The banks were very steep and ran down onto a grass covered ledge right next to the water. It was on this ledge that an enormous snake was lying, quite motionless, barely ten feet away from us.

The snake obviously heard us splashing and raised its head to see what was happening. We both stood very still, hardly daring to breathe while the snake looked on. It then lowered its head back into its coils.

I thought the only way the Brunei Muzium were going to be able to record this magnificent specimen was for me to shoot it. It was certainly too large for two men to capture.

One bullet in the head did the trick for it must have died instantly. It simply uncoiled slowly and lay still.

I made my way as quickly as I could back to camp to get help. The retrieving party (8 men) returned to camp at dusk. Yusof led the way back harnessed to the snake and pulling it most of the way. The snake was seen to have a large bulge in its stomach which when dissected revealed a half digested Barking Deer, complete with antlers.

The snake was a reticulated python Python reticulatus and measured 21 feet, 6 inches  (6.5m) and its average girth was 1ft. 6 inches (46cm). It was weighed in the field and found to be just over 200 lbs (91 kg).

The skin was removed by the Muzium staff and flown out by helicopter to the Brunei Museum at Bandar Seri Begawan, the next day.  Some of the meat was eaten by the expedition members but was found to be extremely tough and very tasteless .””

Condensed from Ussher (1979) Brunei’s Largest Snake in Brunei Museum Journal Vol.4. No.3  (1979)

Reticulated Python Pythton reticulatus. The Reticulated Python is the longest recorded snake in the world and there are numerous accounts of cases where it has killed and swallowed humans. Pythons grow continuously throughout their life and  in the wild a practical  length limit of around 7m is  likely as above this size they would have difficulty moving. Captive pythons have been recorded up to 15m and 446 kg.