Sunday, 4 August 2013

In Focus - Burmese Python

Status: Vulnerable 

Geographic Region: Southern and South East Asia

Meaning of Name: Geographical location

Habitat: Swamps, marshes and grass lands 

Threats: Poaching and hunting 

Left in the Wild: Not determined

The Burmese python is one of the largest snakes in the world in some cases growing to over 5 metres in length but generally won’t get much longer than 4 metres. Unfortunately due to their size they are very popular for their skin and meat and have been hunted in most Asian countries to the point of being listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN. They are now classed as a protected species in Hong Kong.
The Burmese python is popular with people looking for an unusual pet, especially the albino Burmese python, with its attractive yellow and white appearance. Although they have a reputation for being docile they do grow very rapidly and become increasingly hard to handle.They also become very dangerous and you will find many stories on the internet where the owner of one of these huge reptiles becomes its dinner. Due to these snakes becoming harder to handle as they grow, many owners will dump them in the wild. This has become a large problem in the United States and especially in the Florida Everglades where they have become an invasive species. Even further north in Canada an albino Burmese python was captured outside of Chilliwack.

Like all snakes they are a carnivorous animal, feeding on the appropriate size animal for its size. Smaller Burmese pythons will eat rodents and small birds, mid-size pythons will graduate to rabbits and poultry, with the larger pythons known to dine on pigs and goats. In the Florida Everglades the Burmese python will hunt down and eat deer and even alligators if given the opportunity. 

The Burmese python is an excellent swimmer, staying under water for up to half an hour at a time. They will spend equal amounts of time in the trees and on the ground when they are young -but due to their size will remain on the ground as they grow older and larger.

Stu’s Zoo Pick for the Burmese Python
The Burmese python photos in this post were taken at Australia Zoo, the only zoo  that I have seen a Burmese python so far. This one is the albino variety.

I'm not a big fan of snakes so I don’t have much more to add really…..

 © August

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