Indian python Python molurus molurus
Sizeup to 7m
Weightup to 100kg
Eggsup to 100
Life-spanup to 30 years
carnivorous (rodents, small mammals)
tropical forests, close to water sources
India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal
These tree-dwelling snakes like to cool down in the water when it is very hot.
Their hunting technique consists of biting their prey then rolling themselves around them and strangling them by constriction (squeezing them harder and harder).
Like all Boidae, Indian pythons have thermosensitive dimples in their nose. Carpeted with thermo-receptors linked to the brain, these allow snakes to detect minute rises in temperature, particularly the heat emitted by another animal’s body. By analysing these thermal messages, snakes can locate their prey and work out how far away they are. This enables them to bite with precision, even in total darkness.
A python’s size depends on its age but also on its diet: the more it eats, the more it grows. The more it grows, the more it has to change its skin, which becomes too small. The skin slips from front to back, gradually revealing a new, much more brightly coloured skin. A snake that is about to shed its skin can be recognised by its dull skin and bluish eyes.
Indian pythons can easily be distinguished from other types of pythons by studying the top of their heads, where they have a distinctive arrow-shaped mark. The molurus molurus sub-species can also have a pink colouring.