The olive python, also known by the scientific name liasis olivaceus, is a large constricting snake from the country of Australia. They can potentially grow to between 11 and 13 feet (3.5 to 4 meters) long, which makes them one of the largest snake species in Australia. In terms of coloration, they vary from an olive green color to more of a brownish shade, and they have a light colored underside. In some cases they can live to be about 20 years old; they are sometimes kept as pets, but the population in the wild has been stressed due to hunting.
Olive pythons primarily live in the northern part of Australia. They like to hide in rocky crevices, and they generally stay fairly close to fresh water sources if possible. Sometimes the snakes will take over abandoned nests of various burrowing mammal species, and they have also been known to hide under rocks or inside fallen dead trees.
These snakes are generally much more active at night. They often hunt prey by striking up from beneath water. Like other pythons, the olive python is not poisonous, so it relies on the power of its bite along with constriction to kill prey.
The snakes mainly hunt smaller reptiles and various bird species, but they occasionally take larger animals, such as wallabies, as well. They have a great ability to swallow different kinds of prey whole, and are often able to easily eat animals that are much larger than themselves. When eating, they generally swallow things head first.
Olive pythons normally lay a clutch with between 10 and 40 eggs, with the average clutch being about 25. Once the young snakes are born, they are on their own and must fend for themselves. When they hatch, the infant snakes are only about 13 inches (33 cm) long.
The olive python has long been targeted by hunters for its skin. They have significantly smaller scales than the average snake, which makes the skin seem especially smooth, making it more desirable for hunters. The large number of olive python snakes in captivity has helped keep them from being listed as an endangered species, but some experts think the wild population could actually be in danger of extinction. These snakes have no venom, but they do have sharp teeth and a strong bite, so they can deliver a fairly painful wound if they feel threatened.