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Python molurus bivittatus

(Burmese Python)


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The Burmese python is listed as a Threatened species. With the spread of human settlements the scrubland habitat is the first habitat to disappear. Many have also been killed due to heavy demand for python skin by the leather industry . Some are also killed for food, particularly by the Chinese.

Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Chinese:


Common Names in English:

Burmese Python, Indian Python

Common Names in French:

Python bivittatus

Common Names in German:


Common Names in Norwegian:


Common Names in Russian:

Тёмный тигровый питон


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Physical Description

Species Python molurus bivittatus

The Burmese python, Python molurus bivittatus, is light yellowish cream with a series of brown elongated rectangular blotches edged with black. There is a lance-shaped mark on the head and neck. There are a number of facial pits, which are sensitive to changes in temperature and allow the python to locate warm-blooded prey hiding in concealed areas.

The Burmese python is one of the largest of all snakes , growing up to 25 feet, usually 20 and weighing up to 190 pounds . It continues to grow throughout life and the great length is due to the presence of a large number of vertebrae (up to 450). The female grows faster than the male and is ultimately larger. The outer layer of skin is shed depending on the rate of growth and may be several times a year.


The rate of growth is influenced by the conditions under which the snake lives. Pythons have been known to live up to 25 years.


Lives in jungles and scrubland and may live near human settlements .

Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 4,846 meters (0 to 15,899 feet).[1]


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The Burmese python is carnivorous , feeding on small mammals and birds. The snake uses its sharp backward pointing teeth to seize its prey . It then wraps its powerful body two or more times around the prey at the same time contracting its muscles, killing the prey by asphyxiation.

A snake needs to eat the equivalent of its body weight in a year. After eating it may not feed for weeks and can even fast for several months.


Sexual maturity is reached in 2-3 years. Pythons are oviparous , meaning it produces eggs , which develop and hatch outside the maternal body. Up to 100 or more eggs are laid. The female coils around her eggs, and rests her head on the top, to incubate them. The incubation period is two months or more. Hatchlings are 18-24 inches long.


The Burmese python climbs well and can suspend itself by its prehensile tail. It is also quite at home in the water, being a good swimmer, and is able to stay submerged for up to half an hour. In the northern parts of its range it may hibernate for some months during the cold season in a hollow tree , a hole in the riverbank or under rocks.

Pythons move by undulating the ribs backwards and forwards by muscular action. The ventral scales grip the substrate.

Like all snakes , pythons lack an outer and middle ear and are therefore deaf to airborne sounds of all but the lowest frequencies. Pythons are also mute or at best can utter a hissing sound by forcing air through the larynx. The sense of smell is the most acute sense. The tongue is flicked out and in carrying scent particles to the Jacobson's organ in the roof of the mouth .


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Name Status: Accepted Name .

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Python

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 15 species and subspecies in this genus:

P.anchietae (Anchieta's Dwarf Python) · P.breitensteini (Python Curtus Breitensteini) · P.brongersmai (Blood Python) · P.curtus (Blood Python) · P.molurus (Asiatic Rock Python) · P.molurus bivittatus (Burmese Python) · P.molurus molurus (Indian Python) · P.natalensis (Southern African Python) · P.regius (Ball Python) · P.regius shaw (Ball Python) · P.reticulatus (Reticulated Python) · P.reticulatus jampeanus (Reticulated Python) · P.reticulatus reticulatus (Reticulated Python) · P.sebae (African Rock Python) · P.timoriensis (Timor Python)

More Info

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Further Reading

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  1. Mean = 307.030 meters (1,007.316 feet), Standard Deviation = 752.840 based on 16,438 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-01-30