The Elusive and Largest non-venomous Snake: The Burmese Python
The Burmese Python is one of the most impressive and powerful reptiles out in the wild. Predominately found in Southeast Asia, this species of non-venomous snake can grow up to an incredible 7 meters in length and weigh up to 91 kilograms. It is the fifth-largest species of snake in the world and is known for its iconic olive green colour.
The Power House of the Aquatic Kingdom
Burmese Pythons are some of the most adept aquatic hunters in the reptile kingdom. When in water they can remain submerged for up to thirty minutes, utilizing their keen-sensing organs to locate prey. They are equipped with sturdy curved teeth that dig into their victim’s flesh and a constricting movement that prevents them from escaping. While only the reticulated python is officially known to have a longer average size, the Burmese Python is one of the most powerful snakes due to its incredibly muscled and thick body.
The Cautious Lifestyle of the Rural Areas
In the wild, Burmese Pythons are incredibly shy and reclusive animals. As a species, they are nocturnal and spend their days resting in riverbanks, tree hollows, or among dense vegetation. Although they are known to be coiled up more often than not, these snakes can move incredibly quickly when disturbed, utilizing the segmented nature of their body to accelerate movement over long distances.
The Adaptable Diet of the Reptile
The diet of the Burmese Python is highly varied and is comprised of birds, fish, small mammals, and sometimes larger prey such as deer or pig. Due to their power, they can swallow animals multiple times their own size and wait to digest their meals slowly afterwards. Interestingly, like other carnivorous snakes, they are not adverse to vegetarian meals and are known to enjoy nutrients found in fruits, vegetation, and eggs.
The Maternal Instincts of the Reptile
Burmese pythons are nongregarious and solitary animals that rarely come in large numbers. Despite that, these snakes are incredibly nurturing when it comes to their offspring. Female Burmese Pythons lay up to 100 eggs with an average around 50. After that, the mother will stay with the eggs for the entirety of the incubation period (up to three months) before hatching and dispersing her young. In some rare cases, mothers will stay with their babies until they are six months old.
The Predators and Threats to the Reptile
For the most part, the Burmese Python is a species that is reviledly avoided by predators. However, on rare occasion, tigers, crocodiles, and some predatory birds such as eagles can hunt the reptile if positioned close enough. Additionally, the Python is highly threatened by habitat destruction due to agricultural conversion and forestry-related operations. In recent years, the Burmese python has also been a popular species bred in captivity and specially reared to be sold in the exotic pet trade.
The Endangered Status of an Ancient Reptile
Due to the combination of threats, Burmese Pythons are now classified as endangered in some regions in Southeast Asia. The population of wild Burmese Pythons have been decreasing due to hunting and agricultural conversion. Conservation efforts have been launched to help protect the remaining wild populations, however, it is still an ongoing struggle.
The Burmese Python is an impressive reptile that has captured the attention of many due its size, power, and beauty. Regarded as one of the most powerful non-venomous snakes, these animals are a crucial part of the environment’s balance yet are facing a dwindling population due to multiple threats endangering their existence. We must therefore protect the Burmese Python and remain committed in our efforts to provide a safe environment for these animals so that their presence may be admired for generations to come.
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