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It is important to be aware that there is considerable variation in the maximum reported size of these species, and most measurements are not truly verifiable, so the sizes listed should not be considered definitive. In general, the reported lengths are likely to be somewhat overestimated. In spite of what has been, for many years, a standing offer of a large financial reward (initially $1,000 offered by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s, later raised to $5,000, then $15,000 in 1978 and $50,000 in 1980) for a live, healthy snake over 30 ft (9.1 m) long by the New York Zoological Society (later renamed as the Wildlife Conservation Society), no attempt to claim the reward has ever been made.
Although it is generally accepted that the reticulated python is the world's longest living snake, most length estimates longer than 6.35 m (20 ft 10 in) have been called into question. It has been suggested that confident length records for the largest snakes must be established from a dead body soon after death, or alternatively from a heavily sedated snake, using a steel tape and in the presence of witnesses, and must be published (and preferably recorded on video). At least one reticulated python was measured under full anesthesia at 6.95 m (22 ft 10 in), and somewhat less reliable scientific reports up to 10 m (33 ft) have appeared.