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Fast Facts:

  • There are 27 species of pythons in nine genera.

  • Pythons can grow to enormous lengths. A reticulated python holds the record for the longest snake ever recorded – 32 feet, 9 inches.

Python Burmese

Scientific Name Python molurus bivittatu
Classification Phylum Chordata, Class Reptilia, Order Squamata, Suborder
Serpentes, Family Pythonidae, Subfamily Pythoninae
Status Wild populations of Burmese pythons are declining. The Burmese is a subspecies of the Indian Python.  They are now listed as threatened by CITES in Appendix II. CITES is a United Nations treaty with more than 100 member states and provides a means for regulating international trade in wild animals and plants.
Habitat rain forests
Range Burma (nation of Myanmar), Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam 
Diet Completely carnivorous, from smaller mammals to birds.  The python
kills its prey by wrapping itself around the victim and constricts
until the prey is crushed to death.  Consuming the prey is a slow
process. The teeth aren’t adapted for chewing, so the snake has
to swallow the food whole.
Print Fact Sheet Python


  • Wild populations of this snake are decreasing in the wild for several reasons. Pythons have long been favorites of man, either for show in parks or exploitation, often because of their large size and brilliant skin colorations.

    Also, “The Burmese python is one of the most popular snake pets in the world, as well as one of the most highly demanded sources of meat in the Far East gourmet food trade” (Coborn 1).

    These are just a few of the reasons why these snakes are disappearing from the wild.

    Pet pythons?

    Pythons do not make good pets. They are difficult to care for, mostly because of their immense size and dietary needs. Snakes also require very specific lighting and temperature conditions, which can be difficult for an average pet owner to provide.

    Because of their size and weight, and due to the fact that they are constrictors, these snakes can be quite dangerous when they reach maturity. They also can live 30 years or longer – much longer than most owners plan on caring for a pet.

  • Special Features

    • Snakes have poor eyesight. They usually can only see animals if they are moving.   Instead, they rely on their sense of taste and "smell" to tell them about their environment. Snakes stick out their tongues to collect particles of information that are "interpreted" by a special detector inside their mouth called a Jacobson's organ.
    • Pythons kill their prey by constricting them. Their teeth are not adapted for chewing, so they must swallow their prey whole.

    Social Structure & Behavior

    Pythons are solitary animals. They do not form bonds with each other even during the mating season. Pythons move from place to place with a couple of motions called "snaking" and "rectilinear crawling". "When snaking, they advance by making a series of lateral curving motions, using objects for leverage with the rear part of the curves. With rectilinear crawling, the snake uses its broad belly scales which are in contact with the substrate; with the use of muscle contractions the snake "walks" on its pointed ribs, pushing itself with the ventral scales" (Coborn 4,5). Most pythons are crepuscular, which means they are active during twilight hours.

    Breeding and care of young
    Males are ready to breed at 2-3 years of age or when they are 6 feet long. Females are ready when they are around 10 feet long. Mating occurs in December or January.

    A female can deposit and incubate up to 100 eggs at a time (Mehrtens 60). Eggs develop in 60-140 days. Egg laying begins at beginning of warmer, wetter season (Coborn 50). Burmese pythons are one of a very few snakes that incubate the eggs after they are laid. They coil around the eggs to regulate the temperature until they hatch. The temperature of incubation has a determination on what sex the offspring will be. A higher temperature usually produces more males, while a medium to lower temperature produces more females.

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