Burmese python

  • Scientific name:Python molurus bivittatus
  • Size:baby
  • Breeding season:all year around
  • CITES:yes

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The Burmese python (Python bivittatus) is one of the largest species of snakes. It is native to a large area of Southeast Asia but is found as an invasive species elsewhere. Until 2009, it was considered a subspecies of Python molurus, but is now recognized as belonging to a distinct species.

The Burmese python is a dark-colored snake with many brown blotches bordered in black down the back. In the wild, Burmese pythons typically grow to 5 m (16 ft), while specimens of more than 7 m (23 ft) are uncommon. This species is sexually dimorphic in size; females average only slightly longer, but are considerably heavier and bulkier than the males. For examples, length-weight comparisons in captive Burmese pythons for individual females have shown: at 3.47 m (11 ft 5 in) length, a specimen weighed 29 kg (64 lb), a specimen of just over 4 m (13 ft) weighed 36 kg (79 lb), a specimen of 4.5 m (15 ft) weighed 40 kg (88 lb), and a specimen of 5 m (16 ft) weighed 75 kg (165 lb). In comparison, length-weight comparisons for males found: a specimen of 2.8 m (9 ft 2 in) weighed 12 kg (26 lb), 2.97 m (9 ft 9 in) weighed 14.5 kg (32 lb), a specimen of 3 m (9.8 ft) weighed 7 kg (15 lb), and a specimen of 3.05 m (10.0 ft) weighed 18.5 kg (41 lb). In general, individuals over 5 m (16 ft) are rare.The record for maximum length of Burmese pythons is held by a female that lived at Serpent Safari for 27 years. Shortly after death, her actual length was determined to be 5.74 m (18 ft 10 in). Widely published data of specimens reported to have been several feet longer are not verified.] At her death, a Burmese named “Baby” was the heaviest snake recorded in the world at the time at 182.8 kg (403 lb). Her length was measured at 5.74 m (18 ft 10 in) circa 1999. The minimum size for adults is 2.35 metres (7 ft 9 in). Dwarf forms occur in Java, Bali, and Sulawesi, with an average length of 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in Bali, and a maximum of 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) on Sulawesi. Wild individuals average 3.7 m (12 ft) long, but have been known to reach 5.74 m (18 ft 10 in).

Wild populations are considered to be “threatened” and are listed on Appendix II of CITES. All the giant python species (including the Indian python, the African rock python, and the reticulated python) have historically been slaughtered to supply the world leather market, as well as for folk medicines, and captured for the pet trade. Some are also killed for food, particularly in Southeast Asia.

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