At 7.67 meters (25 feet 2 inches) long, Medusa, a Reticulated Python owned by Full Moon Productions in Kansas City, Missouri, USA is the longest snake ever in captivity.
The 8-year-old, 158.8 kilogram (350-pound) reptile is primarily kept coiled up in a nook in a haunted house attraction ( The Edge of Hell) with its cavernous turn-of-the-century brick warehouse.Medusa's primary diet consists of a combination of rabbits, hogs and deer, served to her every two weeks.
The haunted house staff knows her as the sloppiest eater within The Edge of Hell attraction, as she's been known to accidentally bite into herself instead of her dinner. While a python's behavior could be wild and unpredictable, Medusa is typically tolerable and respectable of others unless agitated, hungry or provoked.
According to Medusa's handler and Edge of Hell's general manager, Larry Edgar, "We try to keep Medusa well-fed and slightly out of reach as there have been instances with Reticulated Pythons where they've had to cut people out of them! We never underestimate that she does always have the upper-hand."
During the Haunted House season, Medusa enters into a performance mentality; a state the owners call her "stealth mode," in which the snake remains extremely still as patrons pass by.
She has also been known to "purr" like a cat when content and "huff" or "hiss" if she's distressed or annoyed.
Medusa prefers that Larry assists with her shedding and if the python has any spots that prove tough to shed, she will nudge him for assistance.
The serpent also enjoys swimming and rare outings to local parks in Kansas City with her trainer where she draws massive crowds.
Medusa inherits the title from the previous record holder, Fluffy, another Reticulated Python from Ohio's Columbus Zoo who measured in at 24 ft long.
The Reticulated Python species dates back to the prehistoric era and is one of the largest snakes on the globe.
Reticulated pythons – named as such because of the grid-like pattern of its skin – are on average the world’s longest snakes, but adults normally grow an average of between 3-6 m (or, 10-20 ft).
But there is nothing normal about Medusa.
The 10-year-old snake required 15 men to hold her at full length in order for her record measurement to be taken, and her diet consists of a combination of rabbits, hogs, and deer served biweekly. She’s been known to eat a whole, 18-kg (40-lb) deer in one sitting. Medusa herself weighs 158.8 kg (350 lbs).
Reticulated pythons primarily populate southeast Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines and are also known as great swimmers. In 1912, a specimen shot in Sulawesi measured a jaw-dropping 10 m (32 ft 10 in). However, unlike Medusa, the unnamed animal was never kept alive in captivity.
The previous record holder was reticulated python (Python reticulatus) Fluffy. When measured on 30 September 2009, she was found to be over 7.3 m (24 ft) long.
Fluffy sadly died at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Powell, Ohio, USA, on 26 Oct 2010 due to an apparent tumor. She was 18 years old and still 24 foot long. Check out a video of Fluffy below.
Medusa's record and many, many more feature in the new Guinness World Records 2013 edition - which is out now worldwide from all good retailers. Find out more about the book and its incredible augmented reality feature, and where you can buy a copy at www.guinnessworldrecords.com/2013/.