The python leather: the most used exotic skin

by | 14 Sep 2020 | A world of leather, Leather tech

Written by Attilio Ercoli

14 Sep 2020

Today I would like to make a general overview of python skin, which is the most used exotic leather, probably for its not excessive cost and for its fairly easy use. We can identify the most known species in the following:

  • Reticulatus python
  • Moluro python
  • Curtus python

The Reticulatus python, mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, is normally collected by hunters in the forest, it is rarely bred because it is a fairly bellicose and territorial animal for which it cannot stand the proximity of its neighbors. The fact that it is collected by hunters is actually a positive aspect since in this way they have something to support themselves, in a certainly difficult environment; in fact, when the demand for python skins drops, hunters often suffer from a lack of alternative economic resources. The main feature of the netting is the diamond-shaped livery (pattern) design, a name by which it is commonly called. It grows a lot and reaches incredible lengths since it is at the top of the food chain and has practically no predators: the longest skin I have seen is 7.5 meters!

The Molurus python comes from Thailand and Vietnam. It has a nice, very marked and dark design which makes it very simple to use for all hand-painted versions (see link). Also this skin is very regular in width so from head to tail the width remains fairly uniform.

The Curtus python is from Indonesia and Malaysia. Its main features are the maximum length that reaches 2.00 / 2.5 mtr and the fairly regular width, which makes it easy and convenient to cut for your production. But the cartilaginous structure of the leather makes it even after tanning always quite hard, so this raw material makes it good to use for bags and shoes, less for clothing. It is often worked in nubuck in order to recover softness.

We have to discuss about differences in the cuts: front cut, cutting in the belly that highlights the whole livery or back cut, cutting in the back, that shows the large central scale. Furthermore, all python skins are also presented as bleached, for those customers who want a more uniform and non-animal product; this makes the recognition of one species more difficult but here is a small summary that allows you to distinguish one species from another.

How can I recognize one species of python from another?

SpecieMedium average length (for an average widht of 30 cm)Livery or patternBig central scaleLittle side scalesLeather characteristics
Reticolatus3.25/3.5 mtrDiamante Linklarge and wide Linkpointed linkthin
Molurus2.8/3.0 mtrmarked livery LinkLong and thin LinkSmall and Piu appuntite linkSubstantial, good hand
Curtus1.8/2.0 mtrSemi marked livery linkRaised and hard linkMore flattenedtough



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Written by Attilio Ercoli

Italian, he has been working in the leather and shoes business for 25 years; lived for 10 years in Leon, Mexico, a city that produces 130 million pairs of shoes per year, as general manager of one of the most important raw material companies for shoe manufacturers. 

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