Burmese Python ( Python bivittatus Kuhl, 1820 )

  • Sharebar
Name
Scientific Name: 
Python bivittatus (Kuhl, 1820)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Burmese Rock Python
Kannada: 
ಬರ್ಮಾ ಹೆಬ್ಬಾವು
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Found in whole of North-east region, Sundarban mangroves of Indian subcontinent, as south as selective parts of Odisha (around Puri), edge of Himalayas up to Kashmir touching Pakistan in a wide range of elevation upto 4050 meter. Recorded from following states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, West Bengal. Also found in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. Introduced to Florida of USA.
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Morphologically both species looks same in size and patterns. However these two species does not overlaps in greater part of their geographical distribution. Both species can be differentiated mainly by checking side blotches which are larger and definable in former and much smaller in P. molurus. In scalation these two can be differentiated by checking subocular which is found in P. bivittatus and clearly excludes supralabial from eyes while in P. molurus supralabial remain in contact with eyes.

Description: 

New born- 50-79cm.
Average length- 300cm. (10ft approx).
Maximum length- 600cm. (20ft approx)

Dorsal -
Body thick with shiny smooth scales. Dorsal surface full of irregular shaped patches of dark grayish-brown or blackish color in three series; top series of blotches larger than blotches found on flank which are bordered by black. Ground dorsal color off-white or yellow, gray or light brown.

Ventral -
Ventral scales much narrower than typical snakes. Color whitish or yellow with dark color patches mostly near the edge. Both sexes have “spur” (thorn like structure) on each side of anal; larger in males. Subcaudal scales paired in zigzag manner, sometimes few scales found to be unpaired.

Head -
Head triangular, clearly broader than neck. Heat sensitive pits found laterally on snout. Color grayish-brown (more brown on snout) in all life forms. In all specimens a clear arrow shape mark present on the top of the head, usually visible in all life forms. One postocular and one subocular streak exists, former much larger and guarded by black. Eyes have vertical pupil.

Tail -
Tail short, having dark yellow and black reticulations of irregular shape.

Scalation
Head: 
11-13 supralabials; rostral and first two supralabial pitted; no supralabial touches eyes and excluded by a subocular.
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 60-75 rows.
Ventral: 
245-270; narrow; anal undivided.
Sub Caudal: 
58-73; divided in zig-zag manner.
Habitat: 
Habitat includes mixed & moist deciduous forests, mangroves, grasslands, rainforests and marshes. Lives in dense vegetation, agricultural land's edge, rocky terrain; prefers water body for activity. Hides in caves, mounds, dense vegetation, old trees, wooden piles etc. Frequently seen around human settlement in search of poltery and small mammals.
Natural History: 
Burmese Python is a nocturnal species but can be seen at day time also during basking and opportunistic foraging on prey animals. Activity usually terrestrial and semi-aquatic but climbs well to good heights and can stay there for roosting. Locomotion slow. Behavior usually non-offensive and try to escape to hide in natural surrounding. On provocation makes coil of body and keeps head slightly above the ground; hiss and bites repeatedly if one comes in its attacking range. On catching it tightly coils around catcher's limbs and try to suffocate.
Diet: 
Feeds on wide range of warm blooded animals including rodents, bats, mammals, birds etc. Choose constriction method to immobilize and kill its prey animals which finally suffocates them.
Threats: 
Burmese Python is one of the most threatened species due to- Road kill mortality; killing due to conflict in and around agricultural fields, water bodies, after preying upon pets and due to its large size. This species is exploited regularly and heavily for skin, pet, edible and medicinal purpose which is serious cause of its population decline in many parts of its range. Habitat loss is one more reason because this species prefers wet surrounding or long time stable water bodies for its activities. Due to destruction and filling of medium and large water bodies habitat of Python remains no more natural and it has to migrate from the area.
Look Alike
Authors & Contributors: