1. Largest Snakes
Pythons are some of the largest snakes in the world. There are 30 known species of pythons and they experience rapid growth. Pythons are docile and are preferred by reptile owners. They are great swimmers and can survive below water for half an hour before getting back to the surface for air.
2. Non-venomous Snakes
Unlike numerous other snake species that eject venom into their prey, pythons have no venom. They kill their prey by squeezing until it stops breathing. Pythons are mostly found in tropical regions in Asia and Africa. They also inhabit deserts, rainforests and savannas. Pythons are not frequent attackers of humans unless they are stressed or provoked. They are kept by many people as pets.
Pythons are capable of growing to attain a length of up to 20 feet. They can weigh up to 300 pounds and have a girth the size of a telephone pole. The longest python species is known as the Reticulated Python. This species can attain a length of up to 30 feet. During their younger years, pythons spend a lot of time on trees. As they grow in size and gain weight, they find it difficult to climb trees and transition to become ground dwelling animals.
Pythons are pure carnivores that feed primarily on birds, antelopes, monkeys, caimans and other small mammals. Their eyesight is poor and they trace their prey through chemical receptors located in the tongue as well as heat sensors that lie along their jaws. As constrictors, pythons grasp their prey using their sharp teeth, coil themselves around it and squeeze until it suffocates. The ligaments of their jaws are stretchy allowing them to swallow their prey in one piece. Pythons digest everything apart from feathers and fur that is excreted and seen in their poop.
Pythons are generally solitary animals. Males and females can be spotted together during the mating season in spring. They feed four to five times a year and remain satiated for several weeks or even months depending on the size of prey that they ingest.
6. Camouflaging Ability
Pythons have colors that are similar to that of their habitat. This makes it easy for them to camouflage well with trees and other elements in their surroundings. During hunting, they ambush their prey.
After mating, female pythons lay eggs in clutches of 100 eggs maximum. The eggs are incubated over a period of 2 to 3 months. Female pythons protect the eggs and coil their bodies around them to keep them warm. During this time, females continually shiver or contract their muscles to release warmth. Pythons do not nurture their young ones. Once the eggs hatch, the mother python leaves the nest leaving the young snakes to take care of themselves from their first day.
8. Python Poaching
Pythons have beautiful skin and are often poached for purposes of using their skin in the fashion industry. They are cold blooded creatures that sunbathe to increase the temperatures in their bodies.
9. Internal Compass
Pythons are said to have an internal mapping compass but it is not known whether they follow olfactory, celestial or magnetic signals in their navigation. 5 Burmese pythons were moved to locations, 22 miles away from their home; four of them managed to move back within 3 miles radius of their original home.
10. Python Teeth
Pythons have two rows of teeth on the lower jaw and four on the upper jaw. The teeth are curved backwards. They also have pelvic spurs that are visible. These spurs imply evolutionary remains of their back legs and indicate that they evolved from lizards.