Prony: The Largest Captive Reticulated Python in the Philippines
Named after its owner “Sofronio”, “Prony” is considered the largest captive reticulated python in the Philippines. She was captured on October 21, 1996 with a length of 5 feet at 5 kilos. As of 2005 she was measured at 23 feet with a 30-inch girth and weighing 200 kilograms. Experts claim that Prony’s growth is abnormally fast since pythons in the wild with comparable size are already 40 to 50 years old. Prony is only 9 years old and, with proper care, possibly may even live up to 120 years.
Essentially in her natural environment, Prony is kept within a forested area in the town of Albur about 12 kilometers from the capital Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Her owner and caretakers contend that her abnormal growth was brought about by the loving way Prony is treated. They consider Prony as part of the family and even talk to her. She is given a bath 4 times a day and they even celebrate her birthday every year. Initially, they fed Prony live chickens.
Now she is fed a pig or a goat every month. Prony has an uncanny ability of being able to sense unsuitable food such as a sick pig. No matter how hungry she is, she won’t eat it. She will only eat live prey and is very picky. She doesn’t like dirty, spotted or dark pigs. She only likes clean white pigs weighing at least 40 to 50 kilos. Caretakers know that it is time to feed her when she becomes restless. Usually she just spends the day coiled up in a corner.
Prony’s owners have opened their gates to the public because of the increasing number of curious local and foreign visitors who want to see her. Visiting Koreans once mistakenly named her the Philippine Anaconda. They are raising 5 more captured pythons and are slowly setting up their own mini zoo. They have added a black crow, a pair of owls, king fishers, herons and a wild cat to their growing collection. They charge 10 cents per head as entrance fee to help in the cost of feeding the animals specially Prony.