Python bivittatus

Burmese Python  Python bivittatus bivittatus Everglades Nick Scobel_files
Burmese Python in the Everglades (photo by Nick Scobel)

Burmese Python python bivittatus Thai National Parks
Burmese Python (photo by Thai National Parks)

Burmese Python python bivittatus Thai National Parks
Burmese Python close-up (Thai National Parks)

Burmese Python python bivittatus juvenile Thai National Parks
Juvenile Burmese Python (Thai National Parks)

Burmese Python (Python bivittatus bivittatus) everglades national park
Burmese Python in Everglades (photo by Todd Pierson)

Burmese Python Python bivittatus bivittatus Hong Kong
Burmese Python in Hong Kong (photo by Kevin Caldwell)

Burmese Python  Python bivittatus bivittatus  Hong Kong
Another shot of Burmese Python (photo by Kevin Caldwell)

Burmese Python Python molurus
Burmese Python in captivity (photo by David Rivera)

Matt R. KyleBurmese Python Python bivittatus bivittatus captive
Head shot of Burmese Python (photo by Matt Kyle)

Burmese Python (Python bivittatus)
Burmese Python in Bangladesh (Scott Trageser –

Burmese Python Python bivittatus bivittatus Khao Yai Apiradee Loharungsikul
Burmese Python crossing road in Khao Yai (photo by Apiradee Loharungsikul)

burmese python Python bivittatus bivittatus
Burmese Python on riverbank in Hong Kong (photo by Rob Ferguson)

Burmese Pythons python bivittatus bivittatus for sale in Vietnam
Burmese Pythons for sale in Vietnamese market (photo by Alex Krohn)

English name: Burmese Python
Scientific name: Python bivittatus (formerly Python molurus bivittatus)
Thai name: Ngu Larm

Description: To 820cm long. The second largest snake in Asia and one of the five largest snakes in the entire world. The body is yellowish-brown above fading into grayish-brown on the lower sides with large brown blotches lining both the top and sides. The head has a large dark arrow-shaped marking on the top with a light line in the middle and thick tan lines bordering each side, as well as both pale and dark brown lines extending down and back from the eye.

Similar Species: The Reticulated Python doesn’t have an arrow marking on the top of its head and has the “reticulated” pattern of intertwined yellow, brown, and black on its body rather than simple brown blotches.
Russell’s Viper is smaller and has a stout head.

Range: Found from the Nepal/Bhutan border east to Vietnam and south to most of Thailand outside of the southern peninsula. Populations also exist on Java and some of the surrounding islands.

Habitat: Found in grassland, scrubland, woodland, and swamps. Is comfortable both in trees and in the water, though larger adults spend more time on the ground as they grow. Does not adapt to urban areas as well as the Reticulated Python and is not usually found within the city of Bangkok itself.

Place in the ecosystem: Helps control rodent populations by eating rats and mice. Adult specimens can consume larger mammals, monitors, and birds. Young pythons are eaten by monitors and large birds of prey.

Danger to humans: Though lacking venom, size alone can make the Burmese Python a threat to humans. Even the younger ones inflict a nasty bite with their large mouths and long teeth, and larger pythons can constrict and potentially suffocate a smaller person. Care should be taken when going near a large python, and pythons over two meters long should not be handled except by those experienced with large snakes (preferably a team of at least two for any snake over three to four meters long). This being said, pythons rarely attack humans and very few fatalities have been credibly reported.

Conservation status and threats: Habitat loss, collection for the pet trade, and hunting for meat, folk medicine, and skins have led the Burmese Python to be considered a Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES. The Burmese Python is rare in the Bangkok area.

In areas where large carnivores like the tiger have vanished, Burmese Pythons may be the last apex predator remaining. Unfortunately, it is still common for people to kill these incredible snakes out of fear or to protect domestic animals. This is lamentable, and some actions are being undertaken to educate people on coexisting with these creatures, though far more work needs to be done.

Interesting facts: Like other pythons, the Burmese Python has heat receptors under certain facial scales that allow it to sense warm-blooded prey, even in the dark.

The Burmese Python is a macrostomatan (‘big-mouthed’) snake that can separate its loosely attached jaws to swallow food 4-5 times larger in diameter than its own head.

Snakes of Taiwan: Python bivittatus bivittatus
Wikipedia: Burmese Python
USGS: Python molurus bivittatus
National Geographic: Burmese Python
Digimorph: Python molurus, Burmese Python
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Snakes of South Vietnam
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry