One of the world's six largest snakes is this species, the Burmese python. It is native to a region spanning from Southeast Asia to northeastern India, and into southern China, as well as some islands in the East Indies.
Pythons are constrictors, not poisonous. They kill their prey by striking first, then coiling up tight around it to suffocate it. Burmese pythons have a hinged jaw that enables them to swallow large prey whole, eating about once a week in the wild. In captivity, they typically eat rodents or rabbits, and feeding is less frequent.
"Kamar", the snake residing at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, was a pet. He was well-cared for by a single owner for ten years before coming to the sanctuary. However, he outgrew his owner's accommodations. Measuring at over 13 feet long, Kamar might grow to as large as 20 feet long, and could weigh up to 200 pounds when full grown.
Though no one is certain how long Burmese pythons can live in the wild, it is common for them to live as many as 25 years in captivity. The pet trade and fashion industry have taken a terrible toll on the wild populations, putting the Burmese pythons on the CITES Appendix II as a near-threatened species.
Increasing regulations in the U.S. have resulted in federal restrictions on the transfer of these snakes over state lines. This reaction is one of many attempts to control the overpopulation of animals in the pet trade, and the release of "pets" into the environment where they are doing severe damage to the ecosystems. These snakes are large enough at adulthood to kill children, other pets, and even adults.
InfoBox - Burmese Python
Status: Low risk - near threatened. On CITES Appendix II.
Diet in wild: Birds and mammals.
Life span in captivity: 20 to 25 years typically. Longest lived on record was 28 years 3 months.
Size: 15 to 20 feet and up to 200 pounds.
Native habitat: Southeast Asia except the Philippines, including parts of China, Indochina, and Burma.