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Burmese python

By MSA 2005 Map showing tropical rainforests, grasslands (near water) habitats in southeast Asia


Class Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Boidae
Genus and species: Python molurus (bivittatus)

The Burmese python is one of the largest snake species, reaching lengths of up to 20 feet. In general, females are larger than males.

Pythons are extremely sensitive to smell. They use the Jacobson's organ, located in the roof of the mouth, to smell their prey. As the snake darts its tongue in and out of its mouth, it is bringing small particles from the air to this organ. This organ acts as a secondary smell system in snakes, bats, and other mammals.

Once the prey is caught, Burmese pythons are able to swallow it whole because they have hinged jaws. These snakes can swallow prey four to five times as wide as their heads.

Burmese pythons do not need to eat very often; just once a week is generally sufficient. They are able to go for months at a time on only one meal. These pythons enjoy rabbits, mice, rats, birds, and other mammals.

Female Burmese pythons lay anywhere from 12 to 100 eggs at a time. They gather their eggs in a pile and coil their bodies around them for the duration of their incubation. Females can increase their own body temperature, and thus the temperature of the eggs they are incubating, by small muscle movements. Burmese pythons are known for being good mothers and they will very rarely leave their eggs unattended.

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