Pythons are one of the most preferred pets among people with strong attraction to snakes. In Asian countries where a lot of reticulated pythons abound many are drawn to take one as pet and watching a foot long young python grow to 7 feet or more is a rewarding hobby for some at the expense of food which must be provided for this reptile as required. I have known a friend who would have raised a poultry farm if he raised all the chicks he fed to his pet python for two years. Considering his pet started consuming 2-3 chicks a week to 5 per week as it had grown in length, you could just imagine how many eggs he would have harvested if he started a poultry farm. Here are some species of pythons for anyone interested to know about this sleek and exotic snake as pet.
Photo by Author
1. Reticulated Python - Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus) is undoubtedly the longest snake species in the world found in Southeast Asia. Adults may grow more than 10 feet but could extend to 28 feet (or more) in the wild and if the size of the vivarium among captured specimens is maximized. This snake is an excellent swimmer and normally has a habit of soaking in water or a swamp in the wild after consuming its meal. It feeds on birds, rodents, and mature ones could prey on wild boars, deer and animals within that size range. Although a costly pet to keep considering its feeding requirement when at average size (unless you own a poultry farm), they could be quite docile and adaptive to human presence when raised at the environment of the household (mixing snakes and children without parental guidance of course isn’t advisable). Being an escape artist as all snakes do, a little opening on the vivarium could set them free as no one could imagine how slippery this creature is especially after molting its skin (which it does at least each month) anew.
Photo by Author
2. Burmese Python – Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) is a subspecies of the Indian Python and one of the 6 largest snakes in the world. Endemic to tropic and subtropic areas of Southern and Southeast Asia, this snake isn’t only found in Burma suggestive of its name. Mostly identified by its dark brown color with light brown blotches bordered by black in its back, the scales are more refined and smooth compared to the reticulated python. Average size 12 feet long but could extend to 20 feet as this species is a voracious eater. Many morphs for this type of python could also be found in the pet market. In recent news, US states like Florida had been alarmed by the proliferation of this species in the Florida Everglades and the wild within the US affecting the ecological balance of endemic species of animals in the region as pet owners who couldn’t keep up to feed this python have left them out in the open.
3. African Rock Python - African Rock Python (Python sebae) is also one of the largest species of snakes. Average lengths for adults could reach 16 ft to 20 feet. This snake species is also endemic to African countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya among others. Preferring grasslands with nearby bodies of water like lakes and swamps, this snake may also thrive close or within a forested area. This species had been declared endangered and threatened as listed in the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) despite that it is one of the most feared species of pythons owing to its bad history of consuming humans among its meal in Africa. Whereas most victims were children, the latest recorded victim was a farmer in 2009. He was coiled at and dragged by the snake up a tree after he stepped on a specimen and was just saved by technology. He was lucky to make a call on his mobile phone for help before he was completely swallowed by the snake. In 2002, a 10 year old child was completely eaten by this species of python.
4. Green Tree Python - Green Tree Pythons (Morelia viridis) can be found in New Guinea, Indonesia and Cape York Peninsula in Australia and quite common at pet stores. The green pigmentation of this python’s skin and its red eyes could be threatening mistaking it as a venomous snake but aside from the bite marks from its teeth, it is harmless. Adults grow to a length of 4 to 6 feet and variation of colors had been attained in the pet market owing to morphs. These type of pythons prefer coiled up at trees in rainforests. This particular requirement considers this species for advanced breeders who could duplicate or at least simulate their habitat in captivity.
5. Royal Python - Royal Python (Python regius) is endemic in Africa and the smallest python in the region. Also nicknamed “Ball Python” owing to its tendency to curl into a ball when frightened, this species of pythons do not grow more than 3 to 4 feet which make it ideal as a pet considering space issues of vivarium. Popular in the pet trade, a choice of morphs could be decided by the prospective pet owner depending upon one’s color or pattern preference.
6. Indian Python – Indian Python (Python molurus) is commonly known as black tailed python and Indian Rock Python and can be found in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and north of Myanmar. Although two subspecies are recognized to include the Burmese Python, both simply differs in the coloration with the Burmese Python appearing in darker brown color while this one appears in whitish or yellowish with blotched patterns varying from tan to dark brown. Sizes of adult specimens could reach 12-15 feet. Despite the invasive nature of this type of python like the Burmese python, this creature is placed as protected species owing to the rampant killings of its kind owing to their fine skin in their place of habitat.
7. Blood Python – Blood Python (Python curtus ) is another python species common in the Southeast Asia. Three subspecies are recognized from this species, Python curtus curtus, Python curtus breitensteini and Python curtus brongersmai. Reaching average sizes of up to 5 and 8 feet, this type of python is heavily built. Characterized by beige, tan or grayish-brown color, the skin is overlaid by blotches of blood red color.
8. Angolan Python – Angolan Python ( Python anchietae) could be found in Angola and Namibia. This python although closely related to the Royal Python (Python regius) was declared a rare species and is seldom seen in the wild or in captivity. Similar to the Royal Python, adults may reach a bit longer at 6 feet.
9. Timor Python - Python timoriensis is also found in Southeast Asia particularly in the Timor islands in “Kupang” Indonesia. Average size doesn’t reach longer than 6 feet and abounds in forests and grasslands. This species was previously considered a subspecies of the Indian Python (P. molurus).