Northern African Python, African Rock Python [NON-NATIVE]



Scientific name: Python sebae (GMELIN 1789)
* Currently accepted name

* scientific names used through time

  • Coluber sebae – GMELIN 1789
  • Coluber speciosus – BONNATERRE 1789
  • Boa hieroglyphica – SCHNEIDER 1801
  • Python houttuyni – DAUDIN 1803
  • Python natalensis – SMITH 1840
  • Heleionomus variegatus – GRAY 1842
  • Python sebae – DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844
  • Python liberiensis – HALLOWELL 1845
  • Python jubalis – PITMAN 1936
  • Python sebae sebae – BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991

Description: Average adult size is 139 inches (353 cm), Florida record is 192 inches (490 cm). In its native range it is reported to reach 240 inches (610 cm). A stout-bodied snake with dark dorsal blotches and lateral markings, both usually edged in black. Dorsal blotches are variable in size and shape and may be connected laterally by a complete or nearly complete dark paravertebral stripe on each side. Dorsal blotches are dark posteriorly and light colored anteriorly, and rarely extend laterally as they mostly terminate when contacting the dark lateral stripe. Anterior dark lateral markings are "C" shaped (open end facing anteriorly) and usually edged in white or yellow, whereas these markings form vertical bars posteriorly. The tail has a mid-dorsal light stripe that never extends laterally. The belly pattern is entirely speckled. 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 lighter.

Range: In Florida, although this snake has been introduced in a few areas, it is currently known to be established only in a small localized area on the southeastern side of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) and SR 997 (Krome Avenue) in Miami, Miami-Dade County. Outside Florida, this species occurs from Kenya and Tanzania across much of central Africa to Mali and Mauritania, and north to Ethiopia.

Habitat: In Florida, this species has been found in and around undeveloped seasonally flooded wetlands, high density Melaleuca trees, agricultural areas, small man-made canals and lakes, and housing developments.


Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous).

Since 2002, >10 Northern African Pythons have been found in Miami, including multiple adults up to 174 inches (14.5 feet; 442 cm), a gravid female with 36 eggs, and two babies, suggesting evidence of reproduction.

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

Comparison with other species: The Burmese Python (Python bivittatus) has bold dark dorsal blotches separated by thin light-colored bars that always extend laterally to the belly, and a belly that is dark spotted along the sides and uniform light-colored in the center.