Animals

Boas and pythons

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The most deadly is the poison of the royal cobra. There are cases when people died from the bites of this snake within an hour. No less terrible killer snake lives in India - this is a krayt, from the bites of which 77% of people who have been attacked die. Of the more than 2 thousand snake species, about 600 are poisonous, but only a quarter of them are lethal to humans. The only venomous snake that lives in Europe is the adder.

A poisonous snake cannot be rendered non-poisonous by removing, for example, its stinging teeth — new ones grow instead of them.

The most poisonous viper is found in India and has a length of up to 1.5 m. A medium-sized viper, biting a victim, can enter into its body up to half a teaspoon of poison.

Boas strangling their prey, killing her body (hence the name).

The Indian python can lay up to 107 eggs at a time.

There are fifty types of sea snakes, and almost all of them are poisonous, with most of them emitting on the victim a substance that is much more toxic than the poison of "land" snakes. The most common and poisonous type of sea snake is Engydrina schistosa, which lives in the waters between the Persian Gulf, Vietnam and North Australia. On average, it releases 8.5 mg of venom (with a lethal dose for humans - 1.5-3.5 mg).

All sea snakes are poisonous. However, a drop of sea snake sting is enough to kill five people. Fishermen die every year, bitten by snakes caught in the net.

Most sea snakes eat fish, but some coastal reptiles eat bird eggs.

The main food of the largest of the venomous snakes - the king cobra is ... other snakes, including its kindred. Destroying a large number of poisonous snakes, the king cobra in many places of its range gained good fame.

Mongooses are known for killing snakes. Each time a snake attacks, the mongoose dodges its strike. He moves so fast that it soon tires the snake. Then the mongoose grabs her and kills her.

Snakes determine the taste and even the smell of prey ... with the tongue. Some rattlesnakes use tongues for warning, waving them threateningly before an adversary.

Snakes have no hearing, but they are very sensitive to the most diverse vibrations, by which they recognize their enemies and victims.

Some snakes living on the island of Java may be considered a natural sperm bank (produced by the male sex glands of the seed). The fact is that sperm can be stored in their bodies for up to 7 years, which, of course, has a positive effect on the evolution of these reptiles.

The first snake lived about 80 million years ago. They were descendants of extinct lizards. The longest prehistoric snake is a huge python, eleven meters (36 feet) long. The descendants of this snake are still alive.

The first place in size among snakes is occupied by royal pythons, whose length reaches 10 meters. Anacondas living in the tropics of South America grow up to 7 meters in length. However, even the largest royal python almost fifty kilograms. easier anaconda "average fatness", whose weight can reach 160 kg.

The largest of the venomous snakes is the king cobra, which is 4.5 meters long.

Some animals behave strangely before an earthquake. In 1975, hibernating snakes in China unexpectedly left their burrows. Thousands of people were saved thanks to the warnings of snakes.

Boas and pythons in Africa

In the African jungle there are giant snakes. But come across cobras, spitting poison in the eye blinding a man, if you can not bite. Africans hunt for pythons of any size, and when they are killed, several people carry the body of a snake to the village. Aboriginal weapons are spears.

Boas in Africa grow to 6 - 7 meters in length. The python has 118 pairs of edges, and it moves on them, and quickly. With ribs he suffocates the victim.

African python almost never attacks people. It happened that a boa constrictor ate children, swallowing the whole human body. Once swallowed and soldier in uniform. In 2002, the snake attacked a 10-year-old child, eating a boy.

Python has no poisonous glands, its smallest species has a length of only one and a half meters. Boas are hunting at night, attacking small rodents.

In many zoos of the world keep royal pythons, but there are people who decide to start and houses such boas. The snake loves warmth, and if it is also fed, then this reptile is usually quite peaceful. Of course, for the maintenance of python need a terrarium, and not giving him an apartment at full disposal.

Africans talk about pythons over 10 meters long! Such a snake can swallow the whole antelope. The boa from an ambush hunts, with a quick throw overtaking the victim, breaking its ribs and swallowing. Straightening like a spring, the python can jump a considerable distance. Maybe swim in the water.

Green Python in New Guinea

In the forests of New Guinea there is a green python, very beautiful. Emerald-colored boa cones in some white spots. The length of the snake is not more than 1.5 meters. It usually hangs on the branches, curled into rings. She hunts for lizards and frogs, does not shrink from small rodents. Attacking the victim, strangling and then swallowing.

The pythons of New Guinea are not all green, there are also with blue scales, skin, and with orange, and with yellow. When several colored boas hang on the branches of trees at once, it resembles a masquerade of reptiles.

Python - description and characteristics. What does a python look like?

Pythons are known as very large snakes, reaching 10 meters. According to some scientists, the reticulated python (lat. Malayopython reticulatus) is the longest snake in the world. The weight of large individuals may exceed 100 kg. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest and heaviest python living in captivity is a dark tiger python (Latin Python bivittatus) under the name of Baby. Its weight is 182.8 kg. The longest python specified in the Guinness Book of Records is the net python Samantha (Latin Python reticulatus) measuring 7.9 meters.

According to information from the site www.nationalgeographic.com, the length of an ordinary anaconda (lat. Eunectes murinus) can reach 9.1 meters and a weight of 249 kilograms. Anaconda is considered the heaviest snake in the world, but is in second place after pythons in size. True, Soviet biologists (Akimushkin I., Zenkevich LA, and others) can argue about this, noting that the longest anaconda caught reached 11.43 meters.

The smallest member of the python family is the small spotted python that lives in Australia (Latin Antaresia perthensis, syn. Bothrochilus perthensis), which grows only up to 30-50 cm in length. The adult reptile weighs only 200 grams. Newborn snakes of this species reach a length of 17 cm and have a mass of 4 g.

Representatives of the family do not have massive bones, so the reptile body consists mainly of muscles. Their strength is such that large pythons easily break bones, such as a crocodile or leopard.

Author photo: Ben W Bell, CC BY-SA 3.0

The body of the snake is slightly compressed from the sides, while the head of the python is clearly separated. The pupils of pythons are vertical.

There are teeth on the premaxillary bones. Palatine bone in some species of toothless (for example, in black-headed pythons), in others - with teeth, the number of which reaches hundreds. The teeth of the pythons are directed back; there are 4 rows of teeth in the upper jaw, 2 rows in the lower jaw. No poisonous glands in the family members.

Author photo: US Army Africa, CC BY 2.0

Photo by: Camazine, CC BY-SA 3.0

Pythons have a good sense of smell. On the upper and lower lip flaps of many species there are 2-4 pits located in front of the muzzle. This is a kind of thermolocation. With their help, pythons capture the infrared radiation of warm-blooded animals and can hunt using only these organs.

Black-headed pythons have no thermolocators.

Author photo: Jayendra Chiplunkar, CC BY-SA 3.0

The representatives of the family developed both lungs, which are not the same in size. On both sides of the reptile's anus, there are small cornified claws slightly protruding above the scales - these are the rudiments of the pelvic bones, called false legs. In males, they are more developed than in females. By their size you can determine the sex of the snake.

The color of the representatives of the family is very beautiful and diverse. There are species that are colored more or less monotonously, for example, olive python. But, basically, the skin of pythons is decorated with stripes, spots, specks or fancy patterns. This is indicated by the names of species: carpet, hieroglyphic, brindle, net. In the coloring there are a variety of colors: red, green, white, yellow, yellow, black, brown, cream, olive, orange and others. There is skin with rainbow overflows, such as, for example, in a reticulated python.

Author photo: Scarlet23, CC BY-SA 3.0

Among pythons there are albinos with light or white skin, red eyes and pink tongue. It is difficult for such reptiles to survive in nature: they have no camouflage, they can be seen from afar, and they easily become prey of predators.

Albinos are often found in zoos and terrariums.

Royal Python Albino. Author photo: WingedWolfPsion, CC BY-SA 3.0

Due to long breeding works, numerous morphological changes in the colors of the skin of pythons were obtained in captivity, which was the result of genetic mutations. For example, the royal python has a huge number of morphs.

In the color of captive bred snakes there are white, yellow, gray, brown, black, reddish colors, and the spots have a different shape. Some morphs have no spots at all: instead of them there are stripes on the python skin.

Royal Python morphs: 1. Reduced Pattern Banana Clown, 2. Spider Clown, 3. White Wedding, 4. Banana. Taken from the site: www.morphmarket.com

Is python dangerous for humans?

Existing rumors of a python attack on people are exaggerated, although several cases have been officially acknowledged when a fourteen-year-old boy and an adult woman have been the victims of pythons. A reticulated python can be considered potentially dangerous, since the recorded incidents of attacks on people are related to this snake. But even this python can be dangerous rather for a child or teenager than for an adult, since the maximum weight of its prey does not exceed 15 kg. In general, these large snakes prefer to avoid people and are content only with the abduction of domestic animals.

Amethyst python crawled into the house. Author photo: John Hill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Where do pythons live?

Pythons live mainly in the Eastern Hemisphere. They are common:

  • in Africa: in sub-Saharan countries,
  • Asia in the south and southeast of the mainland (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Brunei, Bangladesh, southern China) and island states (Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, East Timor),
  • in Australia,
  • Some species of pythons were introduced to the USA: for example, in the 80s of the 20th century, dark tiger pythons (Latin Python bivittatus) were first seen in the Everglades National Park in South Florida. In the 2000s, it was officially recognized that snakes successfully multiply and increase their numbers in this area.

The habitats of pythons are located near water. Snakes are found in mountainous terrain (up to 2000 m above sea level), and on the plains, they feel good in tropical rain forests and in light forests of arid zones. Some species almost always live on trees, others mostly crawl on the ground.

Author photo: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble, CC BY 2.0

What do pythons eat?

Pythons are eaten by various mammals: ungulates (antelopes, muntzhaks, etc.), rodents (mice, rats), bats, rabbits, monkeys (macaques, langurs, etc.), jackals, leopards, feed on livestock (goats, pigs, sheep) and dogs. Snakes also catch birds (pigeons, pheasants, ducks), including domestic ones (chickens, chickens). Reptiles (lizards, crocodiles, other snakes, including pythons) and amphibians (toads, frogs) are included in the diet of these reptiles. Species living in Australia eat marsupials.

Python strangles its victims and then swallows them whole. Due to the extensibility of the mouth and integuments of the body, pythons can swallow prey, which is 2-3 times the thickness of their body. But even this ability has its limits. The largest animals, which can swallow a huge ten-meter snake, are the size of a pig or roe deer, but not a cow or horse.

The weight of food absorbed by a snake for a year does not exceed its own. After each “dinner” the python fasts for a long time: for weeks or even months. In the zoo, these giants sometimes starved for up to 2 years.

Pythons are nocturnal. At dusk, these snakes see much better than during the day. Hunting in the cool of the night, they are much stronger feel the thermal radiation emanating from animals. Typically, the python attacks the victim from an ambush, making a sharp throw in her direction and throwing out a third of the body. Then the snake strangles the helpless prey, overwhelming it with 2-3 turns and additionally clinging to it with its teeth. In case of an unsuccessful throw, the python will wait for the new victim: the snake crawls rather slowly, so that the prey may well escape from it. If the python has eaten, it does not pay attention to the living creatures nearby. But if he is hungry, his blood composition changes, which affects the nervous system and causes a reflex attack. Attacking, python strangles the victim, defending himself, he only bites. Most young pythons easily climb trees, overtaking prey among the branches or rushing at it from a height. Adults and large individuals are harder to climb a tree, so they hunt on the ground.

Pythons love water and can lie in it for a long time. Some individuals swim across rivers and even sea straits. Author photo: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble, CC BY-SA 3.0

Types of pythons, names and photos

Below is a description of several species of pythons.

  • Royal python (python ball, spherical python)(lat.Python regius) It is small in size, reaching no more than 1.82 meters in length. The average length of males is 0.9-1.07 m, females - 1.22-1.37 m. The body of the reptile is dense and thick. The head is wide, flattened. The tail is short. In nature, the royal python has a spotty torso color, which is an alternation of dark brown and light brown or golden spots. Sometimes the spots are separated by a thin white edging. On the head of the python, on top, there is a dark triangular spot, and on its sides are dark stripes, separated by a narrow yellow stripe. The belly is usually creamy white with spots scattered around it. In addition, there are numerous morphs of the royal python, which differ in coloring.

The spherical python got its second name because of its ability to curl up in a tight tangle at the moment of danger, thrusting its head inside. Thus, the snake takes the form of a ball that even a human is unable to unfold. Reptile is nocturnal. Python is fed by small mammals (rats, shrews, African striped mice), sometimes eats birds. The snake can climb trees well and trap prey, lurking on the branches and hanging down the front part of the body. Bathing in warm water gives reptiles pleasure.

The royal python mates from June to November. Pregnancy lasts from 120 to 140 days. The female lays 4-10 white eggs with a size of 75-80x55-60 mm. Hatching continues for 68-70 days. The hatched snakes have a body size of 43 cm and a weight of 47 g.

The royal python lives in the equatorial forests of West and Central Africa. Habitat covers the following countries: Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Republic of Guinea, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo , Mali, Uganda, Sudan. Representatives of this species can often be seen in zoos. They breed well in captivity.

Natural color of the royal python. Photo author: NikoloMCS, CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo by: Holleday, CC BY 3.0

  • Tiger python (lat.Python molurus), supposedly has 2 subspecies:
    • Light tiger python, or Indian python (Latin Python molurus molurus),
    • Ceylon tiger python (Latin Pythonmolurus pimbura).

It is believed that the second subspecies is not a subspecies, but simply a local island form, which has a smaller size. The third subspecies was a dark tiger python (Latin Python bivittatus), but then it was selected as a separate species.

Tiger pythons usually reach a length of 3 meters. The maximum length is 4.6 meters. The color of the snake is spotty: red-brown or brown-red spots are arranged against the background of yellow tones. Sometimes albino tiger pythons are born into the world, the white body of which is covered with large and small yellow spots.

The habitat of the tiger python is India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Reptiles are found in all landscapes of the range: in tropical and foothill forests, on plains with sparse vegetation, in mountainous areas among shrubby stones, rising to 2,000 meters above sea level. Snakes prefer to be close to water, beautifully climb trees. Tiger pythons feed on monkeys, various rodents and small ungulates. From birds like pigeons, pheasants, ducks. В желудках этих пресмыкающихся находили останки шакалов и даже леопардов. Самки насиживают кладку, в которой может быть до 100 яиц, не покидая ее и не питаясь в течение двух месяцев. Затем появляются малыши длиной 50-60 см.

Тигровые питоны – это крупные, спокойные, миролюбивые змеи. Их содержат и разводят во многих зоопарках мира и на специальных фермах. На родине тигровых питонов их употребляют в пищу, используют их кожу для изготовления обуви и одежды. Также рептилий содержат как домашних животных. Они не хуже кошки уничтожают крыс и мышей. Тигровые питоны хорошо размножаются в неволе: это дает надежду на то, что можно восстановить их популяцию, заметно сократившуюся в результате деятельности человека.

Автор фото: Pratik Jain, CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Сетчатый питон(лат.Malayopython reticulatus) - This is the longest python in the world, reaching 10 meters. It has 4 upper-livers, 297–330 abdominal plates and 78–102 pairs of subadachal plates. The back of the reptile is covered with light brown patches in the form of a rhombus with rounded corners, on the sides are dark-brown triangles with a bright middle. The skin of the reptile has a rainbow overflow.

The net python is found in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Malaysia, East Timor, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Prefers wet forests. On the island of Java is found in the mountains up to 1200 m, but usually does not rise high in the mountains. The reptile likes wet forests and climbs trees well. Pythons float well, and salt water doesn’t bother them. Some individuals go on sea voyages under their own power either on snags or trees: this is how these snakes settled on the small islands of the Sunda archipelago. Reptiles can be found near human habitation; they crawl into courtyards or settle along river banks in large cities.

Mesh pythons eat birds, reptiles, mammals, attack domestic animals and birds: dogs, pigs, goats, chickens.

The females lay, on average, 50 eggs, but sometimes there can be 100 of them. Snakes hatch eggs, warming them with their bodies for up to 80-82 days. The hatchlings of the python reach 60 cm in length.

The net python is a target for the population of the countries in which it lives. This snake is eaten. In zoos, the python is well accustomed to and multiplies, but it has an unsociable character: it can bite even a person who constantly cares for him.

Author photo: Mariluna, CC BY-SA 3.0

The longest python in the world is a reticulated python (lat. Malayopython reticulatus). Author photo: Kaushik Parui, CC BY-SA 4.0

  • Green python (tree python) (lat.Morelia viridis) - a small snake, having a slightly flattened laterally body with a length of 1.5 to 1.8 meters. Rarely grows to 2 meters. The reptile's neck is rather thin, the tail is very tenacious. The tree python has strongly elongated front teeth, with which it keeps the prey caught above the ground. Color corresponds to the name of the snake: bright green with small white spots on the ridge. Rare specimens of blue. Young tree pythons are also covered with white spots, but the background can be of different shades: bright yellow, bright red, brown with white pattern.

The second name of the snake indicates its way of life, since the reptile lives mainly on trees in tropical rain forests.

The green tree python eats small mammals and birds. The food of young individuals is made by frogs and small lizards. During the hunt, the python uses the bright tip of its own tail as bait.

Green tree pythons breed from May to July. The female incubates the clutch for 50-60 days.

The habitat of pythons covers New Guinea, Indonesia, Australia, the island of Gag. The snake is used by local people in ceremonies and festive rituals.

Author photo: Jakub Hałun, CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Carpet python (carpet snake, rhombic python)(lat.Morelia spilota) has several subspecies, the color of which varies from olive-green to black with spots of white, cream and golden color.

There are various subspecies of carpet pythons in parts of Australia, as well as in New Guinea. In the east and north of the mainland, the snake lives in wet forests, hiding among the branches of trees. In the central part of Australia, reptiles are found in desert areas, lead a terrestrial lifestyle and occupy the burrows of various animals.

Python feeds on mammals, rarely birds and reptiles. Active at night. Females lay 25-40 eggs and incubate them for 2-2.5 months. Carpet pythons are protected in national parks and reserves.

Subtype Morelia spilota cheynei. Photo by Kyle A. Zimmerman (self), GFDL

Subtype Morelia spilota mcdowelli. Photo by Amos T Fairchild, CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Bradley Rhombic Python(lat.Morelia bredli) - A species that lives in the northern territory of Australia.

The maximum length of the python reaches 3 meters. The snake has several names: central python, central carpet python, Bradley carpet python. The body of a reptile is reddish in color with a pattern of beige, cream or yellow spots surrounded by light gray and dark stripes. The dark pattern is enhanced towards the back of the body. The belly of the python is light cream or yellowish.

The reptile lives on rocky sites, meeting both on the ground and on trees or shrubs.

Photo by: Christopher Watson, CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Australian Python Ramsey(lat.Aspidites ramsayi) lives in the west and southwest of Australia, as well as in the central part. Lives in arid regions, occurs among forests and thickets.

The length of the python is 1.5-2.7 m. The snake is active at night. The color of the reptile is yellowish-brown, darker on the back, with frequent brown-red stripes across the body. The head is reddish in color.

Python, like other species of the family, feeds on mammals, reptiles, and birds.

Photo author: Klaus Rudloff

  • Hieroglyphic python (rock python)(lat.Python sebae) has an average length of 3-5 m and a mass of 44-55 kg, 269-286 abdominal and 63-77 pairs of tailtail shields. Some individuals, growing up, can reach 6-7.5 meters in length and weigh almost 100 kg. The case is known when a hieroglyphic python with a size of 9.81 m was found. The snake got its name because of its bizarre color: its skin is as if speckled with hieroglyphs, which allows it to be perfectly disguised in the grass. On the head of the python, on top, there is a dark triangle, and on its sides are dark stripes.

This African resident is common in countries such as Senegal, the Gambia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, the Republic of Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Niger , Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Tanzania, Angola, Somalia, Burundi, Gabon, Eritrea. The hieroglyphic python is nocturnal, preys on birds, large rodents, small antelopes. Inhabits savannas, light forests, thickets, stony ridges. In some places in Africa, python is destroyed for the sake of meat and hides, while in others they worship it and build temples.

During the breeding season, females lay 50-100 eggs. The incubation period lasts 2-3 months. Newborn python cubs have a length of 70 cm. Young pythons become sexually mature in the fifth or sixth year of life, after reaching 3 m in length.

For a person, a hieroglyphic python is not dangerous: he can attack a person and injure him with sharp teeth only during self-defense, but not for hunting. Usually at the sight of a person, the python hides or crawls. In captivity, a non-poisonous snake easily gets used to people, behaves calmly and reproduces well.

Photo by: Tigerpython, CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Short-tailed red python(latPython brongersmai) - a rare snake, common in Taylayde, Vietnam, Malaysia, Sumatra (in Indonesia).

The length of the males is usually 0.91-1.52 m, the length of the females varies from 1.2 to 1.8 m. The largest individuals grew to 2.4 meters in length. The weight of females can reach 22 kg. The color of the massive and sedentary snake is red-orange with yellowish-brownish spots or stripes, on the sides there are silvery and black spots and lines. Some individuals have a gray color with fawn and brown markings.

Pythons live in wet and swampy places along the banks of reservoirs. Spend a lot of time in the water, are nocturnal.

Short-tailed red pythons eat small mammals and birds. These snakes do not like to actively hunt, so they usually wait for random prey.

The red python is egg-laying, females lay 8-16 eggs, which are incubated for 70-75 days at a temperature of 30-32 ° C. In captivity, the reptile reproduces extremely rarely.

Photo author: Klaus Rudloff

  • Large water python (lat. Liasis papuana, earlier -Moreliamaxima) - A rare species found in New Guinea and Indonesia (Misool and Ferguson Islands).

The size of the reptile varies from 1.5 to 4 m. The maximum length is 4.78 m. The weight of the python can reach 22.5 kg. The color is plain olive or light brown. Some individuals have a darker back, brown-yellow sides and a grayish-brown head. Juveniles of darker color.

Water python is fed by small mammals, snakes, including other python species. Crocodile monitor lizards hunt the snake.

Author photo: Veronika Patrovská-Vernerová

  • White-lipped python (latBothrochilus albertisii) grows up to 2-3 m in length. Its name was due to the white stripes on the lips. The back of the snake is dark brown, the sides are yellowish, the head is black, the belly and throat are white.

The diet of the python includes small mammals and birds.

During the breeding season, the snake lays 10-18 eggs. Mating takes place in July-September, and the laying of eggs in September-November, that is, the incubation lasts 60-70 days.

The white-lipped python lives in New Guinea, the islands in the north of Australia and on some islands of Indonesia. Prefers to settle in the forests.

Author photo: Lubomír Klátil

  • Black Python (latAspidites melanocephalus) - a rare dark brown with black stripes on the back and yellow markings on the sides. The head has a brilliant black color. Python size varies from 1.5 to 2.5 m.

The snake lives in Australia (in the northeast, north and west of the mainland), in coastal forest and shrub thickets. Shows activity at dusk and at night.

Females lay eggs in July-August in the amount of 7-9 pieces.

Python feeding is mainly made up of other reptiles. His diet includes such dangerous venomous snakes, like the tiger snake and the Australian black snake. The black-headed python is not afraid of their bite and can swallow the reptile, almost equal to him in size.

Author photo: John Tann, CC BY 2.0

Python multiplication

Pythons lay eggs covered in soft leathery skin. During pregnancy, the female loses her appetite until the hatching of babies. Unlike most egg-laying snakes, which show no concern for laid eggs, pythons incubate the clutch. The female wraps around a pile of eggs with three or four rings, forming a cone with their heads above them. The number of eggs can vary from 8 to 100 pieces and more. To warm the clutch, the female strains and contracts muscles. As a result, its body temperature rises by 12-15 ° C compared with the environment. This ensures faster development of embryos. Incubation lasts up to three months. At this time, the female python does not leave anywhere and does not eat anything. By the way, the temperature of the incubating female is 6-7 degrees above the temperature of the male. After 3 months, the eggs of the python hatch from 17 to 70 cm long, depending on the species.

Author photo: Jayendra Chiplunkar, CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo by: Tigerpython, CC BY-SA 3.0

Python molt

Like all snakes, pythons molt. The frequency of skin changes depends on many factors: the power of the snake, the general condition, the conditions of life. Juveniles molt frequently, approximately every 2-4 weeks. With age, the number of molts decreases to once every few months. When molting, python skin exfoliates from the front of the head, and then as a stocking is removed from the whole body.
A sign of approaching molting is the clouding of the skin, and then the eye. During this period, the python does not eat anything and is in an unstable state, easily excited. Feed and annoy him at this time is not worth it.

Python Enemies in Nature

Due to their large size, pythons have few natural enemies. Young pythones can become victims of birds of prey and mammals. Sometimes snakes can be attacked by animals that are their regular food. For example, a pack of jackals can surround and fatally injure a large hieroglyphic python. The main enemy of pythons is man. In many habitats, people eat them or use their skin to make shoes, clothes and other items.

Alligator caught a dark tiger python. Author photo: Lori Oberhofer, Public domain

Python content at home

Pythons are non-venomous, beautiful and, as a rule, calm and peaceful snakes. Previously, they were kept only in zoos. Now, some lovers keep pythons at home, buying different types for home terrariums. It can be very popular tiger pythons, and large net, and other species.

Large snakes need large spaces. The size of housing is selected depending on the type of future tenant. The perimeter of the terrarium should be at least 2 times the length of the snake. It should also be borne in mind that a python, especially a large one, is a strong snake, which in a throw can pierce or squeeze glass or plastic several mm thick. Therefore, the design of the terrarium and the thickness of its walls must be carefully selected. From above it is necessary to cover it with a vent. As a litter at the bottom of the terrarium, you can use paper towels, newspapers, artificial substrates, but not wood chips. Pythons are lovers of climbing trees, so there should be branches or snags in their house, but such that it does not hurt.

Temperature and humidity

Southern heat and moisture-loving pythons need an appropriate habitat. The temperature in the terrarium needs to be maintained in the region of 25-27 ° С, and at the heating point it is 30 ° С and more. The heat source for the night off. It can not be turned off, but then the snake should have a place where it can cool. In the serpentine house, without fail, drinking bowls and mini pools with fresh water needed for drinking, bathing and maintaining humidity around 90% are installed.

What is the difference between a python and a boa?

The first difference is that pythons are egg-laying snakes. Boas, for the most part, viviparous, and only some species lay eggs.

Boas live mainly in the Western Hemisphere (North and South America), although there are some who live in the Eastern Hemisphere (in Africa, Asia and Madagascar). Pythons - inhabitants of the Eastern Hemisphere only, except for snakes, which were introduced into the United States.

In pythons issued supraorbital bone. The boas' eyes are not protected by bones.

In pythons, unlike boas, hemipenis is seen between the rudimentary false legs. Pythons are unable to retract it, as it contains rudimentary bones.

The tail arches of boas, in contrast to pythons, are arranged in one row and not in two. But there are a few exceptions.

On the left is an imperial boa, on the right is a dark tiger albino python. Author photo: Victoria Achkasova, CC BY-SA 4.0

Description and characteristics

Pythons are known as very large snakes, reaching 10 meters. According to some scientists, the reticulated python (lat. Malayopython reticulatus) is the longest snake in the world. The weight of large individuals may exceed 100 kg. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest and heaviest python living in captivity is a dark tiger python (Latin Python bivittatus) under the name of Baby. Its weight is 182.8 kg. The longest python specified in the Guinness Book of Records is the net python Samantha (Latin Python reticulatus) measuring 7.9 meters.

According to information from the site www.nationalgeographic.com, the length of an ordinary anaconda (lat. Eunectes murinus) can reach 9.1 meters and a weight of 249 kilograms. Anaconda is considered the heaviest snake in the world, but is in second place after pythons in size. True, Soviet biologists (Akimushkin I., Zenkevich LA, and others) can argue about this, noting that the longest anaconda caught reached 11.43 meters.

The smallest member of the python family is the small spotted python that lives in Australia (Latin Antaresia perthensis, syn. Bothrochilus perthensis), which grows only up to 30-50 cm in length. The adult reptile weighs only 200 grams. Newborn snakes of this species reach a length of 17 cm and have a mass of 4 g.

Massive bones representatives of the family do not, so the body of reptiles consists mainly of muscles. Their strength is such that large pythons easily break bones, such as a crocodile or leopard.

Torso the snakes are slightly compressed from the sides, with the python's head clearly separating. The pupils of pythons are vertical. There are teeth on the premaxillary bones. Palatine bone in some species of toothless (for example, in black-headed pythons), in others - with teeth, the number of which reaches hundreds. The teeth of the pythons are directed back; there are 4 rows of teeth in the upper jaw, 2 rows in the lower jaw. No poisonous glands in the family members.

Pythons possess quite good sense of smell. On the upper and lower lip flaps of many species there are 2-4 pits located in front of the muzzle. This is a kind of thermolocation. With their help, pythons capture the infrared radiation of warm-blooded animals and can hunt using only these organs. Black-headed pythons have no thermolocators.

Family members both lungs are developedwhich are not equal in size. On both sides of the reptile's anus, there are small cornified claws slightly protruding above the scales - these are the rudiments of the pelvic bones, called false legs. In males, they are more developed than in females. By their size you can determine the sex of the snake.

Coloring representatives of the family is very beautiful and diverse. There are species that are colored more or less monotonously, for example, olive python. But, basically, the skin of pythons is decorated with stripes, spots, specks or fancy patterns. This is indicated by the names of species: carpet, hieroglyphic, brindle, net. В окраске присутствуют самые разные цвета: красный, зеленый, белый, желтый, палевый, черный, коричневый, кремовый, оливковый, оранжевый и другие. Бывает кожа с радужными переливами, как, например, у сетчатого питона.

Среди питонов встречаются альбиносы, имеющие светлую или белую кожу, красные глаза и розовый язык. Таким рептилиям трудно выжить в природе: у них нет маскировки, их видно издалека, и они легко становятся добычей хищников. Альбиносы часто встречаются в зоопарках и террариумах.

В неволе благодаря длительным селекционным работам были получены многочисленные морфологические изменения в окрасах кожных покровов питонов, что стало следствием генетических мутаций. For example, the royal python has a huge number of morphs. In the color of captive-bred snakes there are white, yellow, gray, brown, black, reddish colors, and the spots have a different shape. Some morphs have no spots at all: instead of them there are stripes on the python skin.

Python feeding

Almost all snakes are predators and their main ration is meat. They rush to the victim from the ambush with a sharp jerk, and then swallow it whole.

Usually, snakes attack only those victims with whom they are able to cope. Only a very hungry snake can kill an animal that it cannot eat in the future. Usually the snake does not react at all to large animals, and only feeling danger from the side, can it defend itself and kill it only as a last resort.

Typically, pythons feed on mammals and birds. Snakes that feed on rodents provide food much easier, because mice and rats can easily grow themselves or buy on the market. Pay more attention to the choice of food for your pet. Python will get all the necessary vitamins and minerals from the victim.

Before feeding them to the python, feed them with good food, just in case, and you will be confident in the quality of the food. What pythons eat in the wild should not differ from their food in a terrarium. Often, pythons eat lizards and birds, but you should not feed them all the time, it is better to indulge them sometimes with such a delicacy that they do not sharply wean out of rodents.

On a note

Sometimes, people manage to retrain pythons, and they eat slices of shredded chicken or any other meat, but if your pet refuses to eat such food, then you do not need to starve it and push food into it. Please note that you can feed the snake with frozen rodents, but when you thaw them, do not use water for this, because the wet animal hair python is not always able to digest and spit up food.

Feeding a python should not cause you complications, as well as drinking. Snakes are rarely drunk, especially those that live in deserts. Python will get all its moisture and liquid from the victim’s body, but drinking water is definitely needed. Sometimes pythons like to drink some water after a hearty lunch, especially if the animal was large.

Snakes love to swim, which is why it is desirable to purchase and install a pool in a terrarium pet. They swim with pleasure, and your pet is likely to enjoy such a device. Many snakes during swimming can be emptied, this is the reaction of their intestines to cuts in the water.

Having taken care of a wonderful python, you will understand that there are no particular problems with feeding your pet, you will need to monitor the condition of the snake in the terrarium especially well.

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