Caring for Your New Burmese Python
The inside scoop on Python molurus bivittatus

 
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How to Start
How to Add New Fish
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Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
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Cool Water Tanks
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Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
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Pet World Visit
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Watersprite

Different Watersprite

Burmese Python Factoids

Origin

S. E. Asia

Sexual Differences

Females larger.  Males have longer “spurs.”

Temperature

80o to 90o days. Cooler at night. 

Climber

Provide sturdy branches.

Attitude

Fairly active for a snake

Schedule

Adjustable to your convenience.

Handling

Needs daily handling to stay “tame”

Substrate

Make sure it’s easy to clean

Security

Provide a hide box

Foods

Rodents, birds, probably fish

Supplements

None needed

Housing

Needs lots of roaming room

Cleaning Schedule

Weekly usually suffices

Breeding Age

Starts around three years

Gestation Period

3 to 4 months

Brood Size

Up to 100 eggs

Keep with mom

She “incubates” them for 2 to 3 months

Breeding Comments

Usually needs a “cool period”

LA Pic
Burmese pythons handled when small usually stay mellow (as well as pretty).

LA
Albino Burmese about the same size (with ticks)

LA Pic
If handled regularly, large Burmese stay mellow even when quite large.

Origins:  Burmese pythons, as you might suspect, originally came from the country known as Burma (now Myanmar), plus S.E. Asia, India, lower China, and some islands of the East Indies.  Supposedly killed for their skins (more likely because people don’t want a snake in their yard big enough to eat them) and now endangered, nearly all Burms sold today are locally raised.

LA
Small albino Burmese python -- just arrived.

LA
9.5 foot long Burmese python at Aqualand October 15, 2005.  Joe, Julie, and Mike stretching out Tink, a male Burmese python, for an official Aqualand measurement.

News Report.  This year (2004) a zookeeper in Indonesia reported a 49-foot Burmese python.  When it was measured, the zookeeper had no idea how his giant snake had suddenly shrank.

Natural Environment:  Hot and humid with plenty of water.  Burmese pythons like to climb and they like to swim.  Your Burm cannot digest food if you keep it too cool.

LA Pic
Don't point Burmese pythons at your face.

Temperament:  Burmese want to eat most of the time.  They get more active when hungry.  When full, they like to loaf in warm water and in the sun.  Daily handling keeps them tame – even the big ones.  Burms make good snakes to take your picture with.  Your photo op is the only time you should wrap a Burm around your neck.  Make sure other people are handy when you try on a Burm necktie for size.  Big Burms are amazingly strong.  Ticked off Burms are even stronger.

LA Pic
Here's 100 pounds of muscle -- not a Burmese python but comparable.  Handle with care.

LA Pic
Burmese pythons get really big and hungry.  The biggies usually eat just once a month.

Maximum Size.  Female Burmese pythons can grow to 20 feet and weigh up to 200 pounds.  Twelve to 15 feet in length is more common.  The largest recorded specimen was 25 feet.  Burms are definitely not a snake for children (or even a house with children in it).  Do not expect the Zoo to take your snake off your hands if it grows too large for you.

Des Moines Ordinance.  The City of Des Moines prohibits the possession of constrictor snakes in excess of six feet in length.

LA
Here comes Peter Cottontail ...

Foods:  A weekly feeding of a rodent or commercial food suffices.  (Big guys just need one rabbit per month.)  Power feeding wastes your money, usually makes your Burmese python obese, and always grows it too big too fast.  Feed a food item no larger than the width of your Burm’s body.  Too large a food can cause your Burm to vomit its half-digested meal -- nasty smell.  Freshly killed or frozen (thawed, of course) rodents will keep your snake free of unnecessary wounds.  Cornered rats bite like crazy.  You would too.  Frozen foods also help keep your Burm free of parasites.

Supplements:  You need no added vitamins or mineral supplements. Your Burmese python gets all the nutrition it needs from its food.

 

Lighting:  Burmese pythons don’t need full-spectrum light, but they do appreciate a regular day and night schedule.  Make sure your Burm cannot reach any bare bulbs.

Water:  Give your Burmese python a great big water bowl – as big as you can carry.  Cat pans work great.

LA
Snakes appreciate an occasional hug.  Have help nearby.


LA
Mike and LA handling Tink, a 9.5 foot-long albino Burmese python.

LA
Julie, Tink's owner, seems more relaxed at snake wrangling.

 

Handling: Handle your Burmese python daily to keep it “friendly.”  Never handle any snake large enough to whup you.  Its hard to dial 911 with a snake wrapped around your neck.  Never handle any snake after handling rodents.  Snakes have poor eyesight.  Burms locate their food by smell and body heat.  If you smell like a rat, your Burm will want to taste you.  If it has cloudy eyes, skip the handling until it sheds.

LA
Never kiss an albino python on your first date.  Zach owns this hefty female albino.

LA
Just a reminder that even hatchling Burmese pythons can bite.  Take care handling any snake.

LA
Slightly lighter version of the Burmese python.  Go to Snakesgiving for a big Burmese python.

LA
18-inch Burmese python.

LA
Her sister.

LA
The granite color phase of the Burmese python remains scarce.

Last Word:  Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling any reptile.  And keep them out of your mouth.  LA.

© 1997, © 2003, © 200 LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

515 283-0300

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