'Largest python in the world' dies in Malaysia

Initial estimates put leviathan found on building site at 26 feet

'Largest python in the world' dies in Malaysia

Construction workers building a flyover spotted the snake. Image: Malaysian Civil Defence

A giant python found on a Malaysian building site, reputed to be the longest ever recorded, has died.

The snake, unofficially measured at eight metres (26ft) long, was found on Thursday under a fallen tree on the island of Penang.

It was spotted close to the construction of a flyover in Paya Terubong, a district on the island, a popular tourist haunt off the country's northwest coast.

Herme Herisyam of Penang's Civil Defence Department told international media that workers from the construction site called the emergency services on Thursday, and authorities took 30 minutes to trap the snake.

Thought to be a reticulated python - a type of reptile found in south-east Asia, and widely considered the world's longest species - the snake had not been officially measured by record keepers. 

Speaking to The GuardianMr Herisyan said it weighed 250kg (39st 5lb) and took 30 minutes to rescue. It was due to be transferred to the government's Department of Wildlife before it died on Sunday, after giving birth.

The Guinness Book of World Records gives the honour of longest snake ever in captivity to Medusa, also a reticulated python, who lives in Kansas City, Missouri. She was measured at 7.67 meters in the 2011 edition and still holds the title. 

She is said to weigh 158.8 kg, over 90 kg lighter than the Malaysian specimen.