Indian Rock Python ( Python molurus Linnaeus, 1758 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Python molurus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Black-tailed Python
Hindi: 
Ajgar
Kannada: 
ಹೆಬ್ಬಾವು
Gujarati: 
અજગર
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Found in most of the Indian mainland excluding North-east region after North-Bengal and also not found in Indian Islands. Geographical distribution of Indian Rock Python may overlap with its sister species Burmese Python in North India. Recorded from following states: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, West Bengal. Also found in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Venom Type: 
N/A
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Most of the times it can be easily identified by checking its large size, dark irregular patches, pinkish head and slow locomotion.

Description: 

New born- 40-45cm.
Average length- 210-360cm (7ft-12).
Maximum length- 750cm (25ft).
Individuals above 540cm (18ft) are rare.

Dorsal -
Body thick with shiny smooth scales. Dorsal surface full of irregular shaped patches of dark brown or blackish color; ground dorsal color white mixed with yellow, gray or brown.

Ventral -
Ventral scales much narrower than typical snakes. Color whitish or yellow with dark colour 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 pinkish-brown in all life forms. In all specimens, arrow shape mark present on posterior side of the head, usually faint in adults. Two streaks, passes from eyes and touches middle and posterior of upper lips. Eyes have vertical pupil; tongue color pinkish-red or purplish with brown spots.

Tail -
Tail short, having dark yellow and black reticulations.

Scalation
Head: 
11-13 supralabials; rostral and first two SL pitted; 6th or 7th touches eyes.
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 60-75 rows.
Ventral: 
253-270; narrow, anal undivided.
Sub Caudal: 
58-73; divided in Zig-zag manner.
Habitat: 
Habitat includes mixed & dry deciduous forests, mangroves, grasslands, rainforests and semi-deserts. lives in dense vegetation, agricultural land's edge, rocky hills; prefers water body for activity. Lives in caves, mounds, dense vegetation, old trees etc.
Natural History: 
Indian Rock Python is a nocturnal species but can be seen at day time also during basking and opportunistic foraging on prey animals. Activity usually terrestrial 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 almost same like Russell's Viper and bites repeatedly if one comes in its attacking range. On catching it tightly coils around catcher's limbs and try to suffocate.
Diet: 
Chief food of adults is mammals, monitors, large rodents and birds. Juveniles feed on rodents, lizards, sometimes frogs also.
Bite symptoms: 

Though like all Pythons Indian Rock Python is non-venomous but it gives injurious bite with numerous small but sharp teeth. Can cause skin rupture on the site of bite. General First-aid treatment is suggested to prevent possible infection.

Threats: 
Indian Rock Python is one of the most threatened species due to- Road kill mortality; killing due to conflict in agricltural fields and around water bodies due to its large size; due to misidentification and confusion with venomous species Russell's Viper which shared almost same kind of habitat. Indian Rock Python has been considered to be one of the most precious species to provide beautiful and tough snake skin and for this its trade is high in various parts of country. Habitat loss is one more reason because this species prefers wet surrounding or long time stable waterbodies for its activities. Due to destruction and filling of medium and large waterbodies habitat of Python remains no more natural and it has to migrate from the area. Like all Pythons, Indian Rock Python is always demended by foreign and Indian keepers for pet trade.
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