Burmese Python Natural History
Range & habitat
This is a wide spread species which can be found in parts of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong and Indonesia. In these areas it can live in a wide range of habitats and adapts very easy as long as there is a good source of water where it lives. As a result it is also a very successful invasive species with this being very apparent in Florida, USA. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew destroyed a python breeding center for the pet trade. Due to the difficulty in finding these animals in the Everglades true numbers are unknown but there is a low estimate of 100,000, right up to a possible 300,000 of these snakes living in Florida.
These carnivores can eat a wide range of prey, especially once they reach adult size. The diet of this species can consist of a wide variety of birds and mammals, however in Florida they have even been known to eat adult deer and alligators.
They are relatively unusual for a snake in that a female will lay (usually) 12 to 36 eggs in a nest and will then wrap herself around them to protect the eggs, even able to change the temperature of the nest by contracting her muscles quickly in succession. She does not however care for the young once they hatch.
Length; 3.7 – 5.7m
Weight; 29 – 75kg
It is classed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list mainly due to deforestation and poaching for both its meat and skin, as well as still being captured regularly for the pet trade.
The Burmese python at Sandwich Wildlife Park
The python at our park is a female who was bred in the UK. Whilst they are popular in the pet trade, many people do not realise at the time of purchasing them, quite how big they get and how much work is involved in keeping them when they do reach that size.