Indian Rock Python
Scientific Name: Python molurus
Common Name: Indian Rock Python, Indian Python
Size: Average length of 4 m (weighs 70 to 129 pounds on an average), a related species called Python reticulatis can grow well over 10 m and happens to be the longest snake in the world !
Non Venomous Snake
Appearance: It is a big serpent with smooth and generally shiny scales for a snake in good condition. It has a flat head that is shaped like an arrow and a broad tail. The head bears large nostrils, directed upwards and situated high on the snout. Their eyes are small and the pupil vertical, with the iris apparently flecked with gold.
Spots on the body vary in coloration from yellow to grayish brown. The coloration also varies with terrain and habitat. The pythons from the western ghats and nearby forest regions are brightly colored while the ones from the Deccan Plateau and Eastern Coastal regions are some what pale. The under side of the snake has white, yellow or light orange coloration.
These snakes have spurs, rudimentary legs on either side of its anal opening. In males they are quite large in size. These snakes are equipped with heat sensory pits which they make use of to capture their prey even on the darkest of nights. They are distinguished from all other Indian snakes by the presence these sensory pits on the rostral (snout shield) and first two labials. Pythons are the most massively built snakes found in the region.
Behavior: Pythons sleep off the day or bask in the sun during sunny days while they are best active at night. Quite aggressive if poked, will strike if you reach too close. Though they are not venomous, they can still deliver painful bite as they have two rows of teeth in both the jaws; sharp needle like tooth are curved inwards and are designed to grip the prey and hence can puncture human skin with ease.
Distribution: This snake is found in many parts of India up to an elevation of about 2000 mts.
Habitat: Habitat ranges from the mangrove forest to arid scrublands and dense rain forest of the eastern Himalayas.
Pythons usually dwell in the jungles, occurring in dense as well as open forests. In the absence of forests, they also live in rivers and jheels. They also occupy abandoned mammal burrows, hollow trees, dense water reeds and mangrove thickets, normally near a permanent water source.
Diet: mammals, birds and reptiles indiscriminately, but seem to prefer mammals. From rats to foxes, they gulp them all.
Reproduction: The female python lays around 100 eggs in a burrows or caves located in peaceful and safer places. This happens between March and June. Their eggs are of the size of a duck's egg, sometimes even bigger. The female snake guards the eggs by wrapping around it for 60-80 days. It contracts and relaxes its muscles in a regulated fashion in order to provide a regulated supply of moisture and heat.heat.
Status: These serpents are hunted because of their very beautiful skin. Like many other animals, habitat destruction seems to have put its existence into jeopardy. This snake has already been locally extinct in many regions. Indian government has banned trade of the snake and its skin. The snake is now a protected species in many forests of India. A community of people known as 'Pali' who are known to live in Tamil Nadu and Kerla, eat pythons ! The oils extracted from the snake are used in many medicines and this is yet another worry for the existence of this species.
© Tejas Soni
||Pythons have, what is commonly called, spurs, which are vestigial or rudimentary limbs situated on either side of the anal vent. The longest recorded specimen measured 19 ft 2 in (5.85 m) (Cooch-Behar, West Bengal). The snake has two rows of sharp teeth in both the jaws which can give a painful bite if bitten, fortunately this huge snake is non venomous
||Its yet another constrictor that suffocates its prey to death. Some researchers believe, these constrictors donít kill their prey exactly this way, once in NG, Iíve heard that the constrictors when coil around their prey to constrict, they put so much pressure on the prey that the blood vessels start bursting from inside and thatís how the prey dies, not sure though
||These snakes have often been killed for their fine skin and are endangered. They are now partly protected by the Tamil Nadu Government. In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, python meat is eaten by locals as the fat has purported medicinal value. Like most snakes, they take one huge meal and can go for up to two years without eating. They depend on water
||Roused to activity on sighting prey, the snake will advance with quivering tail and lunge with open mouth. Live prey are constricted and killed. One or two coils are thrown around the prey, holding it in a tight grip. The prey, unable to breath, succumbs and is swallowed head first. Prior to swallowing, the prey is smelt all over with the tongue. The snake is normally disinclined to move after a heavy meal, and if forced to move, hard parts may tear through the body. After a heavy meal, a python may fast for several days or weeks, the longest recorded duration being 2 years
||A lot has been said in movies and books about the danger that this beautiful snake poses to man but till date there has been no authentic case of a human being eaten by a python
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