The giant python found on a construction site on April 7 in Penang, Malaysia, believed to be the longest snake found, has died. Measuring eight metres long and weighing 250 kilogrammes, the snake died on April 10, one day after laying an egg that measured a little bigger than a ping pong ball.

According to Penang Wildlife and National Parks Director Loo Kean Seong, the cause of death is unclear but he believes that the giant python was carrying more eggs based on how it looked. Authorities burned both the snake and the egg in an incinerator machine managed by the Penang Island City Council.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia President S.M. Mohd Idris laments that the longest snake should have been released into the wild immediately after it was caught. Idris blames the people at Malaysia Civil Defence Department  (JPAM) operations centre in Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim, Bayan Lepas for mishandling the animal.

longest snake

Members of Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force hold the 8-metre long python. Photo by Herme Herisyam/Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force

“It is ridiculous for the department to keep the snake for three days and turning this into a public show. It must have been stressful for the snake,” adds Idris. “Humans have destroyed its natural habitat and it was forced to come out. Now, it’s dead.”

Second Lieutenant Muhammad Aizat Abdul Ghani, an operations officer at Penang JPAM, argues that the department strictly followed standard procedures on handling the snake. Apparently, it only looked weak after it laid an egg in the evening of April 9.

“It is our standard operating procedure to hand over snakes and monitor lizards to the Wildlife Department. It is not for us to release them into the wild,” says Abdul Ghani.

Moreover, Samsulwadi Md Salleh, the manager at Perlis Snake and Reptile Farm, points out that the giant python’s size and length suggest that it was possibly in its final years. The manager says that pythons can reach up to 25 years.