Burmese Python

Burmese Python

Reptiles

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: Burmese python, Asiatic rock python, tiger python
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Boidae
GENUS SPECIES: Python molurus (serpent) bivittatus (two lines)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: The Burmese python is a very large, heavy-bodied snake. It is dark brown with beige blotches and two distinct lines that run horizontally on the head, across each eye.
SIZE: Adults approximately 5-6 m (15-20 ft.); hatchlings 60 cm (24 in.)
WEIGHT: Approximately 90.7 kg (200 lb.)
DIET: Pythons feed on a variety of birds and mammals. Being one of the world's largest snake species, the Burmese python may feed on very large food items such as pigs and deer.
INCUBATION: 60-80 days

Pythons show a higher degree of parental care than many other reptiles - they actually incubate the eggs using heat generated by muscle twitches.
CLUTCH SIZE Up to 100 eggs
SEXUAL MATURITY: Approximately 3 years
LIFE SPAN: A Burmese python's life span can exceed 20 years; the longest recorded was 28 years, 3 months
RANGE: The Burmese python is a subspecies of Python molurus, which is found throughout southeast Asia, from Pakistan to Indonesia (though absent from the Philippines). The Burmese subspecies has the largest range of the three subspecies - including southern China, Indochina, Burma, and portions of Indonesia (Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and the Celeb Islands).
HABITAT: This python's habitat varies greatly, and includes dry forest, mountain, and open grasslands of Southeast Asia.
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN Low risk-near threatened
CITES Appendix II
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. Pythons are considered a primitive snake differing from many other species by having two functioning lungs and vestigial, or left over, hind limbs. These vestigial limbs look like spurs on either side of the cloaca.
2. These snakes kill their prey by suffocation, not venom.
3. There are reports about this species preying on humans, but these are often myths or unfounded reports.
4. Of the Python molurus subspecies, the Burmese python is the one most commonly found in managed situations.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Burmese python populations are suffering from a variety of factors, including an ever-expanding human population and loss of habitat.

These large snakes are also hunted extensively for their skins, which are used in the leather trade.

Because Burmese pythons are known as a calm species, their popularity in the pet trade has exploded in the past few years.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Areste, Manuel and Cebrián, Rafael. Snakes of the World. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2003.

Bauchot, Roland (ed.). Snakes: A Natural History. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1994.

Ernst, Carl H., and Zug, George R. Snakes in Question. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.

Mattison, Chris. Snakes of the World. New York: Facts on File Publications, Inc., 1986.

Mehrtens, John M. Living Snakes of the World. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1987.

Stafford, Peter J. Pythons and Boas. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications, Inc., 1986.