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What Is a Burmese Python?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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The Burmese python is a large snake found throughout Southern Asia. It is considered to be amongst the top six largest snakes in the world. Although the Burmese python isn’t poisonous it uses its fangs to immobilize its prey before wrapping its body around the animal to constrict it. This type of python has been commonly kept as a pet in North America and escapees can become problematic due to an astute ability to breed. The number of this type of python has been declining in its natural habitat and hence the population is considered to be endangered.

The size of a Burmese python can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. The average size is around 12 feet (4 meters) although the largest can reach closer to 20 feet (6 meters). Burmese pythons are usually a light brown color with black lines encircling the regions of darker brown. It’s thought that one of the main reasons the snake has become popular as a pet is due to its interesting coloring.

In the wild, the Burmese python is usually found near water and is known to be a good swimmer. These snakes can also be found in trees and usually move at night. Most of the time, however, the snake will lie in the undergrowth. During cold winters the snake may find a warm place to hide although this isn’t considered to be hibernation.

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Generally this type of python preys on small- or medium-sized birds or mammals. Larger specimens have been seen to eat bigger prey such as goats and even alligators in rare cases. Cats and other medium-sized pets are the perfect-sized prey for a Burmese python and hence people who live near them sometimes consider the snakes to be more than just a pest.

On average a Burmese python can live around 25 years, which makes pet ownership a long-term commitment. Due to the snake's size and weight — in some cases this type of python can weigh up to 200 pounds — the snakes are usually not an easy pet to keep and could be potentially dangerous if not cared for correctly. It is not unheard of for an owner to be killed while looking after a Burmese python although this is nearly always due to a mistake made by the owner. Even so, they need to be handled with extreme care and should never be released back into the wild.

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