26-Foot-Long Python Caught in Malaysia Could Be World's Longest Snake

Members of Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force hold a reticulated python that allegedly measured 26 feet (8 meters) in length. Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force

At a construction site on the Malaysian island of Penang, workers caught an enormous python reported to measure 26 feet (8 meters) in length, according to the BBC.

Although it hasn't been officially measured by record keepers, the python would break the Guinness World Record held by a captive snake named Medusa. This serpent lives in a haunted house in Kansas City, Missouri, and measures 25 feet, 2 inches in length (7.67 meters). There is no record on the books for the largest wild snake.

Both Medusa and the newly discovered snake are reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus), a species native to Southeast Asia that primarily eats small mammals and birds. While it is the longest type of snake, it is not the heaviest—that distinction is usually awarded to the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), which can reach weights over 150 pounds.

What might have been the world's longest snake died after giving birth to a single egg. Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force

It's certainly possible the measurement is an exaggeration or a mistake; the largest previous well-documented length for a reticulated python is 23 feet (7 meters). This stat comes from a 2005 study, wherein said python was recorded eating a Malaysian sun bear, an animal rarely killed by anything other than humans—females can weigh up to 88 pounds. A 1998 study of 1,000 wild reticulated pythons found that they maxed out at around 23 feet.

One snake measuring more than 32 feet (10 meters) was allegedly caught in Indonesia in 1912, according to The Guardian, but that record has never been verified.

The Penang snake was, regardless, very large. But unfortunately it is no more. After being caught, it gave birth to one egg and then died, likely due to the stress of captivity, the BBC reported.

The snake may be larger than the Guinness World Record holder, which measures 25 feet, 2 inches in length. Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force