The Timor python is green-brown with a dark brown pattern from its head to its mid-body. The lower half of its body is completely brown, and its skin can have an iridescent appearance. This highly active snake is considered one of the most nervous and high-strung pythons.
Adult pythons average between 5 and 8 feet long ( 1.5 to 2.4 meters) with females growing slightly larger than males. These snakes can weigh up to 20 pounds (9 kilograms).
Timor pythons are found in open forests and grasslands of the southeastern islands of Indonesia, specifically the Lesser Sunda Islands, including Lombien and Flores. Despite its name, this python is not known to inhabit the island of Timor.
Timor pythons have a very high metabolism to support their active lifestyles. In the wild, they eat small reptiles, birds, mice and rats. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, young Timor pythons are fed mice. When they reach adulthood, their diet transitions to rats.
Timor pythons become sexually mature at about 4 years of age. Females typically lay five eggs. Like other python species, they arrange their eggs into a pile, which they coil around while they incubate for nine to 10 weeks. The mother helps regulate the temperature of her eggs through small movements, or "shivers."
Timor pythons have been known to live over 20 years.
Timor pythons have not been assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This species is listed as a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Appendix II species, threatened but not endangered. This is due primarily to human population growth and demands on natural habitat.
Habitat loss and degradation in Southeast Asia, as well as the expansion of human settlements and agriculture, threatens wildlife that depend on forest and grassland ecosystems. Pythons have also historically been a target for use in traditional medicines, fashion and the pet trade.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle — in that order! Cut back on single-use goods, and find creative ways to reuse products at the end of their life cycle. Choose recycling over trash when possible.
- Be a smart consumer. Choose products made with sustainable ingredients, such as Smithsonian certified Bird Friendly coffees, which support farmers striving to limit their impact on wildlife and habitat.
- Choose your pets wisely, and do your research before bringing an animal home. Exotic animals don’t always make great pets. Many require special care and live for a long time. Tropical reptiles and small mammals are often traded internationally and may be victims of the illegal pet trade. Never release animals that have been kept as pets into the wild.