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Last updated date: 24th Jul 2024
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What is a Python Snake?

Python is a reptile animal. It is a genus of constricting snakes under the Pythonidae family. They are the native snakes of the Eastern hemisphere. In the anima biological classification system, all the living creatures are classified into two kingdom-plant Kingdom and animal Kingdom. In the animal kingdom, Chordata includes a class called Reptilia. Python snake is a reptile animal of the class Reptilia. Generally, it does not attack humans. If they feel threatened, they will constrict. Python snakes do not have venom but can make serious injuries by attacking. Some of the snakes of this genus are the largest snakes in the world. Python snakes are Large in size and powerful. They can kill any living animal or human by squeezing. They have a triangular head, sharp teeth, and prehensile tails. Their teeth are backward curving. They are bulky in Size. They can be of several colours such as black, brown, tan, and pigmented shades of these colours. In this article, we will discuss some brief things about python snake.

Python in Animal Kingdom

All the living creatures are placed in a specific position of the hierarchical system. In the biological classification system, there are two kingdoms- plant kingdom and animal kingdom. The phylum Chordata has five classes under it-Fish, Amphibia, Reptilia, Avis, and Mammalia. The python animal is an animal of the class Reptilia. The order and suborder are Squamata and Serpentes. The family is Pythonidae. The scientific name is given depending on the species. There are many python species in the world. They live in different places in the world. We will discuss that later in this article.

Classification Characteristics of Python Snake

All the living creatures are placed in the biological classification system depending on some characteristics. They are placed under a specific phylum, class, and genus. The python animal is placed under the class Reptilia. They have many species and all of them are under the family Pythonidae. Here, we will discuss the characteristics for which pythons are called reptiles.

  • Their skin is dry and it is covered with epidermal fiber.

  • They have five fingers in every leg and the fingers are covered with nails.

  • The ventricle is half partitioned.

  • The anus of python snakes is located horizontally.

  • They have only one occipital condyle in the skull.

  • The heart of the pythons has three chambers with two atria and one large ventricle.

  • They are cold-blood and poikilothermic.

Etymology of Python

Python is a constricting snake of the family Pythonidae. The Latin name of python is Pythonidae. The word python came from a greek and a Latin word. They were combined and made a word, which refers to serpent slain. It was fabled to be called Pythius. Thus, the name of the python snake came from the name of its family. Also, there are many myths about the naming of pythons. Python is a common name all over the world. In some areas, it is also known by some local names also.

Body Structure of Python

Pythons are reptile animals. Though they have the spinal cord in their body, they can move the entire body at their convenience. These movements are possible for multiple types of muscles present in their body. The body length of pythons varies from different species. Generally, common pythons are 3-6 feet long, which is equal to 0.9-1.8 meters. The body length of a python can be up to 23 ft. Adult pythons have an average body weight of 12kgs. 

The largest snake in the world is a species of the genus python. It is 6.25 meters long in body size. Apart from some species, all the snakes of the genus python are long and large. The reticulated snake pythons (Python reticulatus) can grow up to 30 ft. The smallest python (Antaresia Perthensis) can grow only up to 24 inches. 

There are many species of python snakes found all over the world. They are found in a wide area of the world. They have varieties in body colour. The body colour of the python snakes can be black, brown, bright green, pigmented shades of these colours, striped colour, etc. The colouring of the body depends on the habitation area, food habits. The identification characteristics are solid or striped body, fiber on the dry skin, long and large body, triangular head.

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Habitation of Pythons

Pythons are found in many places in the world. They are found in scattered areas of Asia, Africa, Oceania, Australia. Generally, they live in warm and wet climates. Some of the python species are found in the rain forests. Also, they are found in grasslands, swamps, woodlands, rocky outcrops, shrubs, and dunes, etc. During reverse situations, pythons take shelter in hollows, burrows, under rocks, in the tree branches, etc. They choose their safe shelter according to their specific characteristics. These are the main habitation characteristics of pythons. But they can be found out of their usual habitats sometimes.

Food Habit of Pythons

Pythons are quite animals. Though they are silent, they can hunt and eat the flesh of the prey. Usually, pythons eat birds, rodents, lizards, some mammals such as monkeys, pigs, wallabies, antelopes, etc. They do not eat big animals generally. But once a python was found with a big leopard in its stomach. 

Though pythons don't eat big mammals, they can kill them for their safety. As pythons are large, they need a huge quantity of food as their daily requirement. Pythons take a bit more time to digest the food than other reptiles. After eating the food, pythons find a warm and safe place to rest and digest the food well.

Behaviour of Pythons

Pythons live alone in their habitats. They are silent and calm animals. When they feel any danger, they look for a safe place to hide. Usually, they take shelter in hollows, under rocks, in the branches of trees, etc. They can attack any animal or human to protect themselves. 

Pythons have a particular process of movement on the ground. As they have a bulky body, they move by scooting forward in a straight line. They use their ribs for support against the ground. They lift their bellies and push themselves forward. This movement is called rectilinear progression. Pythons cannot go more than 1.6 kph. Some of the snakes of the python genus can swim and some of them are arboreal. Pythons can hang from the tree branches with their prehensile tails.

Hunting Process of Pythons

The prey of the pythons depends on their body sizes. Small pythons hunt lizards, rodents, and small binds. Bigger pythons eat antelopes, pigs, wallabies, monkeys, etc. They hunt their prey accordingly. Pythons are ambush predators. Some of the python snakes lie partially in swallow water and wait to hunt the prey on the water body. In the land area, they lie on the tree branches and lure the prey with tails from the ground. After grabbing the prey in the teeth, they squeeze and kill the prey. The squeezing process is also used in self-protection. 

Though pythons are silent animals, they attack other animals and humans. Pythons attack them when they feel afraid of them. After that, they squeeze the animal so that the animal cannot breathe. Thus, python snakes kill the animals by suffocation.

Reproduction Process of Pythons

The reproduction time of pythons depends on the specific python species. Python snakes are oviparous animals. They reproduce by laying eggs. Female pythons lay eggs and male pythons stroke the females with their large spurs. When the female pythons lay eggs, it is a little wet. Before the eggs become dry the female python gathers all the eggs together and makes a ball shape. Then the female pythons wrap or cover her body around the eggs. They cover the eggs until her young hatch. This process is called egg brooding. 

Pythons give parental care to the eggs and keep them warm. Female pythons make nests to protect the eggs. After a certain time, the baby snake breaks the shell and comes out. Pythons live around 25-35 years.

Conservation of Python Snakes 

In the present world, many animals and plants are in danger of their existence. Extreme hunting, opposite climates of the habitats, shortage of shelters, atmospheric changes are responsible for the crisis of the plants and animals. Therefore, the conservation of plants and animals is essential. 

Python snake is an endangered animal. The reason is extreme hunting for making accessories and keeping them as pets. Also, deforestation is a major reason for this crisis. Therefore, some snake species of the python genus should be conserved properly. IUCN has marked Python snakes as vulnerable species in the red list. Under the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1972, python snakes are conserved in some national parks and sanctuaries of India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka.

Did You Know?

Now, we will discuss some unknown python snake information.

  • There is a huge number of python snake types found in the world. According to the latest update, around 3789 species of the python genus are present in the world. They are the largest reptile group after Lizards. 

  • Pythons can be kept at home as pets. Most of the species are available as exotic pets. 

  • Though pythons are known as cold-blooded, their blood is not cold. They are poikilothermic, which means their blood temperature changes with the atmosphere.

  • Though pythons are known as oviparous, all python snakes don’t lay eggs. Among all the species, 70% of snakes reproduce by laying eggs.

  • Pythons don’t have eyelids. Instead of that, they have a thin membrane brille, which protects their eyes.

  • Python smells with their tongues. Jacobson’s organ of the tongue helps them to smell.

  • Python snakes cannot see properly because of their unclear eyesight. They attack the prey by hearing sounds and feeling vibrations. 

  • Pythons don’t chew their food. They keep them inside their mouth and digestive tract. The food is directly digested by chemicals and fluids.

  • Python snakes have five types of locomotions to move on the ground and swim in the water.

FAQs on Python

1. Are Python Snakes Harmful to Humans?

Ans: Pythons are carnivorous animals. They eat small reptiles and small mammals. Though they hunt their prey for feeding, they are silent and calm animals. They do not attack anyone until they spot danger. If they feel afraid of any animal or human, they attack them for their safety. Pythons can attack any human and squeeze the human. The person cannot breathe and dies by suffocation. Thus, a python can kill a human. Also, python can cause serious injuries to humans. Otherwise, they don’t eat humans. They attack humans to protect themselves from the dangerous source and not to eat.

2. Describe the Body Structure of Pythons.

Ans: Generally, pythons are large and heavy snakes. The body length of the pythons varies from various species. The common pythons are 3-6 ft long. They have an average weight of 12 kgs. The body length of pythons can be up to 23 ft. Their head is triangular shaped. The body colour of pythons depends on several things such as the type of the python, the habitation, the food habit, the climate, etc. The body of a python can be black, brown, green, striped colour, pigmented shades of these colours, etc. The body structure varies a little from different species. Pythons are the largest reptiles in the world.

3. What is the Reproduction Process of Python?

Ans: Pythons are oviparous. They reproduce by laying eggs. The breeding time of pythons varies from species to species. The female pythons lay eggs in the nests. While laying the eggs are a little wet. The female pythons gather all the eggs before they become dry. They make a ball of eggs gathering all of them. The male pythons help the female ones in laying eggs by stroking them with their large spurs. The female pythons cover and warp the eggs with their body to keep them warm. After a certain time, baby pythons break the shell and come out of the shell. Female pythons keep the eggs in the nests for protection.