Burmese Python [NON-NATIVE]



Scientific name: Python bivittatus (KUHL 1820)
* Currently accepted name

* scientific names used through time

  • Python bivittatus – KUHL 1820
  • Python molurus bivittatus – KUHL 1820
  • Python jamesonii – GRAY 1842
  • Python molurus – DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844
  • P.[ython] trivittatus – JERDON 1854
  • Python molurus var. ocellatus – WERNER 1899
  • Python molurus var. intermedia – WERNER 1899
  • Python molurus var sondaica – WERNER 1899
  • Python molurus pimbura – DERANIYAGALA 1945

Description: Average size in Florida is 96 inches (8 feet, 244 cm). Males from Florida reach a maximum of 144 inches (12 feet, 365 cm), whereas the record female from Florida is 199 inches (16.6 feet, 506 cm). In its native range, females can reach more than 240 inches (20 feet, 609 cm). A stout-bodied snake with dark dorsal blotches and lateral markings, both usually edged in dark brown or black. Dorsal blotches are variable in size and shape and separated by thin light-colored bars that always extend laterally to the belly. The belly is dark spotted along the sides and uniform light-colored in the center. The top of the head is dark with a light stripe on both sides of the head from the temporal region, through the eye, and to the nose. The scales are smooth. The pupil is elliptical, a cat-like vertical slit. There are deep facial pits between along the upper lip. Juvenile pattern is similar to that of adults, except that coloration is brighter.


A. Top of the head 
B. Side of the head

Range: In Florida, this snake has been introduced in numerous areas. However, it is currently known to be established in the Everglades region (Collier, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties) and northern Key Largo (Monroe County). Outside Florida, this species occurs in northeastern India, Burma, southern China, Vietnam, and Thailand north of the Kra Isthmus. Its disjunct distribution on the Indonesian islands of Kalimantan, Java, Sumbawa, and Sulawesi may be due to human introductions like that in Florida.

Habitat: In Florida, this species has been found in and around undeveloped seasonally flooded wetlands (i.e., The Everglades), hardwood hammocks, mangrove salt marshes, high density Melaleuca trees, agricultural areas, man-made canals and lakes, and housing developments.


Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous).

Since 1995, >1,200 Burmese Pythons have been removed from Florida. Record clutch size is 85 eggs from a single female in Florida. They are dietary generalists, eating primarily birds, mammals, and occasionally alligators.

Burmese Pythons are powerful constrictors, and their bites and sharp teeth can cause severe lacerations.

Comparison with other species: The Northern African Python (Python sebae) has bold dark dorsal blotches separated by thin light-colored bars that rarely extend laterally as they mostly terminate when contacting the dark lateral stripe, and a belly that is entirely speckled.