Burmese Python

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Burmese python (© RVC)

Introduction

The Burmese python (Python molurus) is a python (family Boidae). Their life span may be 10-15 years.

Morphology

Burmese pythons have an intricate pattern of markings of irregular brown blotches on a yellow background. The Burmese python is widely bred in captivity and comes in a number of mutant forms including albino. They can grow rapidly, attaining 2 metres in length in their first year and perhaps reaching 8 metres.

Free-Living

  • Distribution – Burmese pythons are native to India, Ceylon and southeast Asia.
  • Habitat – They are often found near water, and are both terrestrial and arboreal.
  • Diet – Burmese pythons constrict mammals and birds.

Captivity

  • Cage – Terrestrial and arboreal requirements are necessary and the size of cage should be related to the size of snake.
  • Temperature - Optimum air temperature during the day is 29°C to 35°C (85°F to 95°F) and at night is 24°C to 27°C (75°F to 80°F). A temperature gradient should be provided so that the snake can move to slightly cooler or warmer temperatures.
  • Humidity – A humidity of approximately 60% is preferred.
  • Diet – A variety of prey can be fed and includes mice, rats, rabbits, chickens, and guinea pigs. Feed once to twice every 10 days.
  • Reproduction – Burmese pythons are relatively easy to breed in captivity. They are oviparous and usually lay between 30-50 eggs (up to 100 recorded). The female incubates the eggs by curling around them and "twitching" her muscles. The young are 45 to 60 cm at birth.
  • Veterinary considerations - Common medical problems include diseases associated with low cage temperatures such as respiratory infections and necrotic stomatitis, anorexia, obesity, and, possibly, inclusion body disease.


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