The Indian Python is among one of the largest snakes found in the world. They are extensively found in India and are now categorized as endangered because of it fine skin and medicinal use.
The Indian Python which is also known as ‘Python Molurus Molurus’ (scientific name), is an endangered species found in the southern region of Asia. It is known as the ‘Indian Python’ because it is found extensively in India in the regions of western Ghat, Assam and Myanmar. In India it is known as ‘Ajgar’.
The Indian Python is the kin of snakes. It contains the largest species of snakes that includes Anacondas, Boas and Pythons. The newly born Indian Pythons are 18-24 inches long. They shed for the first time in a period of 10 days and their growth rate is very high during their first year. They are docile creatures but are often killed assuming that they would be dangerous like other snakes.
They are endangered species and face threats from leopards, crocodiles, tigers and mainly humans. They are becoming extinct because of being killed for their skin to make accessories like wallet, boots, etc., for their meat, their medicinal value and also because they are sold in Zoo’s. Another major reason for their extinction is because of cutting down of trees for lumber and for making homes which leaves these pythons homeless.
|Sub-species||1. Nominate Subspecies (Python m. molurus)
2. Burmese Python (Python m. bivittatus)
|Also Known As||Black Tailed Python, Asian Rock Python, Indian Rock Python and Aazda.|
|Color||The Indian Python is typically light in color shade. Though the Burmese Python is darker in shade. Their skin is splotched in a mosaic pattern with shades of brown and gray mixed with white or yellow strokes on them.|
|Length||Most of the Indian Pythons range between 8 to 10 feet. Though the longest Indian Python with the length of 21 feet was discovered too.|
|Weight||The weight of an average adult Python lies between 70-120 pounds. Though pythons with a weight of more than 200 pounds have also been discovered.|
|Life-span||The life span of an average Indian python lies between 20-30 years.|
|Food||Indian Pythons feed on birds, reptiles and mammals. When in a Zoo, they are fed with chickens and rats. Though their favorite feed is mammals. Once they have had a heavy meal, these snakes can survive for a long period without food. A record states that an Indian Python was found surviving without food for 2 years.|
|Mating||Indian Pythons become sexually active at the age of 3. The male python uses his vestigial legs (which are his anal spurs) to stimulate and stroke the female. He wraps the female python around himself and that’s how they mate.|
|Reproduction||3-4 months after mating, the female snake lays around 20-100 eggs at a single time.|
|Habitat||Indian Pythons have a variety of habitats. They are usually found in open jungles – mainly in Estuarine Mangrove Forest, river valleys, marshes, abandoned mammal burrows, tree hollows, swamps, etc. Though they prefer a habitat with water around them all the time.|
|Poisonous||Indian Pythons are non-venomous.|
|Climb||Even though these pythons spend most of their time on the ground, they are pretty efficient in climbing up trees and moving through them.|
|Swim||Indian Pythons are termed as great swimmers.|
|Prey||They have heat sensitive pits, using which they detect and stalk their prey. Once they have found their prey, they grip it with their powerful jaw and suffocate the prey to death. It is because of their earthy skin color, that they can easily hide in bushes or grass merging with the ground and tricking their prey. But they are lazy hunters.|
|Motherhood||Unlike other species in the snakes, Indian Pythons do not leave their eggs astray after laying them. The mothers cuddle around the eggs for a period of 3 months to provide her babies with warmth and protection. And once the babies are out, they become independent immediately.|
|Eyesight||Their eyesight is poor but they efficiently stalk the prey by sensing them with their body heat.|
|Commonly Found In||In India, they are commonly found in the hills of the western ghats and in Assam. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma, China and Sri Lanka are other countries where these pythons are commonly found.|
|Endangered||They are classified as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. These pythons are hunted for their fine skin, meat and for medicinal purposes.|
These pythons are used for making boots, belts, wallets, medicines and as a source of food. They are now being protected by the Tamil Nadu government and products made out of the Indian Pythons are now banned.
Indian Pythons are large snakes and are easy to breed. In the land of India, a festival is celebrated in which snakes are worshiped too. It is known as ‘Nagpanchami’. Snakes are symbolized as sacred in the Indian customs as it is also a pet of the supreme god of the Hindus, ‘Lord Shiva’.