Burmese python

Burmese python

Python molurus

Common name:

Burmese python

Scientific name:

Python molurus

Alternative common names:


Burmese python is a large non venomous python species found in many tropic and subtropic areas. Lethargic and slow moving even in its native habitat, they exhibit timidity and rarely try to attack even when attacked.These snakes are carnivore animals and feed on mammals, birds and reptiles indiscriminately, but seem to prefer mammals.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Southern and Southeast Asia

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA-Category 2.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Gauteng Province

How does it spread?

Spread via pet trade. There is a high amount of exportation for the pet trade. The skin of Burmese pythons is highly valued in the fashion industry due to its exotic look.

Why is it a problem?

It disrupts the introduced ecosystem by preying on native species, outcompeting native species for food or other resources, and/or disrupting the physical nature of the environment.

What does it look like?

Description: Burmese pythons can grow to lengths of about 7.6 m, and can weigh as much as 137 kg. The hide is marked with a rectangular mosaic type pattern that runs the full length of the animal. Its dark colored, with shades of brown and dark cream rectangles that lay over a black background. As with many pythons, several scales on the snout contain obvious heat-sensing pits.

Habitat: Burmese pythons are found in a variety of habitats including rainforests, river valleys, woodlands, scrublands, grassy marshes, and semi rocky foothills. They are usually found in habitats with areas that can provide sufficient cover. This species is never found very far from water sources, and seems to prefer very damp terrain.

Breeding: They reach sexual maturity between 2-3 years of age provided the proper body weight is met. At this time courting behaviour may begin. During courtship, the male wraps his body around the female and repeatedly flicks his tongue across her head and body. Once they align their cloacae, the male uses his vestigial legs to massage the female and stimulate her. This process lasts between 5-30 minutes. Approximately 3-4 months later, the female will lie up to 100 eggs, each weighing as much as 207 g. At this time the female generally coils around the eggs in preparation for an incubation period. Incubation lasts between 2-3 months.

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