Burmese Python / Asiatic Rock Python (Python molurus bivittatus)
Order: Squamata, Family: Pythonidae
The Burmese python is the largest subspecies of the Indian python.
Large and muscular, this python species typically grows to 18 to 33 feet in length and weighs between 200 and 300 pounds.
The Burmese python is uniformly pale tan, yellow-brown or gray with reddish-brown blotches outlined in cream or gold.
It has a yellow or white belly, and orange eyes with vertical pupils and no eyelids.
The Burmese python's large head is distinctly wider than its neck.
II. GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
- The Burmese python is the largest subspecies of the Indian python.
- Large and muscular, this python species typically grows to 18 to 33 feet in length and weighs between 200 and 300 pounds.
- The Burmese python is uniformly pale tan, yellow-brown or gray with reddish-brown blotches outlined in cream or gold.
- It has a yellow or white belly, and orange eyes with vertical pupils and no eyelids.
- The Burmese python's large head is distinctly wider than its neck.
- The Burmese python ranges from northeast India through southern China to the Malay Peninsula and East Indies.
- It lives in grasslands, swamps, marshes, rocky foothills, woodlands, jungles and river valleys, and requires a permanent water source.
IV. LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
- Carnivorous, the Burmese python feeds on small mammals (though larger snakes have been known to kill and swallow pigs, goats and small deer), birds, reptiles and fish.
V. SPECIAL NOTES/ADAPTATIONS:
- Nonvenomous, the Burmese python mainly lives on the ground, but is a good swimmer and climber. It is usually active during the evening and night.
- The python hides in foliage or hangs from tree branches.
- It sheds its skin for molting.
- The Burmese python suffocates prey by constriction, then swallows it whole. Its loosely hinged jaws allow the python to ingest prey larger than its head.
- The python's long, sharp teeth point backward to prevent prey from pulling out. Depending on the size of prey, the python may take several days to digest its food.
- Burmese pythons ambush prey by waiting in trees or by water holes; it seldom pursues prey actively.
- The python reaches sexual maturity at about 3 years of age, and mates between December and January. Gestation lasts approximately two to three months.
- The female python pushes eggs together in a heap and coils around them, incubating them for two or three months. She lays about 15 to 100 white or yellow sticky eggs that require moisture, and is quick to defend them as against predators.
- Hatchlings measure between 18 and 24 inches long and grow quickly. Young leave the nest soon after hatching.
- Burmese pythons live up to about 25 years.
VI. POPULATION STATUS:
- The Burmese python has keen vision only at close range. Deaf and mute, it cannot even perceive air vibrations. Its tongue functions in taste, smell and some hearing.
- Heat sensors (small slits in the lower lip) enable the python to perceive warmth radiation.
- The Burmese python requires little more than its own weight in food per year.
VII. MORE BURMESE PYTHON FACTS:
- The Burmese python is endangered.
- Young suffer much predation, though few animals can overpower full-grown Burmese pythons.
- Popular as pets, many hatchlings are exported from Southeast Asia annually. The exotic leather trade heavily exports wild populations.
- The Burmese python is generally not considered dangerous to humans.
- Female pythons incubate their eggs by using muscular contractions to keep the temperature several degrees above that of the surrounding air.