The Burmese python is one of the largest snakes in the world. Adult Burmese pythons caught in Florida average between 1.8 m (6 ft) and 2.7 m (9 ft); the largest Burmese captured in Florida measured over 5.4 m (18 ft) in length.
Burmese pythons are tan in color with dark blotches along the back and sides. The blotches look like puzzle pieces or the markings on a giraffe. They have a pyramid-shaped head with a dark, arrowhead-shaped wedge extending toward the nose.
Burmese pythons are semi-aquatic and are often found near or in water. They are excellent climbers and can be seen in trees.
In Florida, Burmese pythons have been found to prey upon a variety of mammals, birds and even alligators.
India, lower China, the Malay Peninsula and some islands of the East Indies.
A population of Burmese pythons is established in South Florida. Historically, the python population was centered within Everglades National Park in Miami-Dade County. Recent data indicate that the population is expanding to the north and west. Individuals have been found in southwest Florida in Naples and near Lake Okeechobee. Python observations outside of south and southwest Florida are likely escaped or released pets.
- Burmese pythons are non-venomous constrictors. They prey on native Florida species of mammals, birds and reptiles, as well as nonnative species including black rats. They have eaten Key Largo woodrats, a federally endangered species.
- The Burmese python may reach a length of 26 feet and a weight of more than 200 pounds.
- The average size of a Burmese python removed in Florida is 8 to 10 feet.
- The native range of the Burmese python stretches from India to lower China, throughout the Malay Peninsula and on some islands in the East Indies. These pythons usually live near water.
- Although semi-aquatic, this snake is a good climber.
- A female Burmese python may lay 50-100 eggs and will wrap its body around the clutch to keep it warm and to defend the eggs against predators. The female python can raise its temperature by rhythmically twitching muscles, which generates heat and helps incubate the eggs. This incubation process may last two to three months. Once the eggs are hatched, young pythons are on their own to survive.
- There is a low risk of a human attack by a Burmese python. Documented human attacks by pythons in the United States involve the owners captive snakes and their owner or immediate family.
- Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and are considered to be an invasive species due to their impacts to native wildlife.