The Burmese python is the largest subspecies of the Indian python and one of the six largest snakes in the world. Lengths of more than 15’ are common, and can exceed 22’ in captivity; however, the average length is about 16’. Females are the larger of the two sexes and often have different coloration and a smaller head relative to the body.
Snakes usually have only one lung, but the python has two, one of which is considerably smaller than the other. Their skin has large, reddish blotches outlined in cream or gold. They are constrictors, so they do not have fangs, they have back-curving teeth that grab prey and don’t let it escape. Prey is swallowed whole.
The Albino Mutation
The first albino Burmese pythons were discovered in the early 1980s. Python breeder Bob Clark obtained one of these animals and produced the first ever captive bred albino Burmese python in 1986. Though popularly called albino, these snakes technically exhibit amelanism, lack of pigment. A true albino animal has no pigment, whereas these snakes still have yellow and red pigments; only their black pigment is missing. Young albino Burmese pythons have bright red eyes and a white base color, topped with yellow and red markings. As they age, these markings become less distinct (Team, 2015).
Burmese pythons are found in southern China, Burma, Indochina, Thailand and the Malay Archipelago. They live in rainforests near streams, but can also be found in grasslands, swamps, marshes and rocky foothills. They are dependent on a permanent source of water. They prey upon mammals, birds and reptiles of appropriate size. They spend their mornings soaking up the sun’s warmth which enables them to move around hunting for food. When successful, they spend the next several days or weeks keeping warm enough to digest their meal.
Burmese pythons are solitary animals and are generally only seen together during spring mating. Females lay clutches of up to 100 eggs, which they incubate for 2-3 months by continually contracting their muscles.
Team, Ben. Demand Media. "Information on Albino Granite Burmese Pythons." http://animals.mom.me/information-albino-granite-burmese-pythons-5433.html. 2015.
Meet our Residents
- Burmese pythons are capable of reaching 23’ or more in length and weighing up to 200 lbs.
- Albino Burmese pythons, which are a bright yellow, are a genetic mutation of the Burmese pythons.
- Unlike most snakes, the female stays with her clutch of eggs and incubates them until they hatch. They raise the temperature within their coils as much as seven degrees above air temperature by muscle spasms. During this time she does not feed, and that can last for two or more months! Once the babies hatch, they are on their own and must fend for themselves.
Status In The Wild
Habitat depletion, continued demand for Burmese pythons in the pet trade and hunting them for their skins and flesh have landed them on the Threatened Species List.