Python molurus ssp. bivittatus, Burmese Python

Invasive Species October 04, 2013|Print

Invasive Species: Python molurus ssp. bivittatus, Burmese Python

The Burmese python, one of the largest snake species in the world, has been reported as invading the Everglades since the 1980s. It is a large predator that has a significant negative impact on the native wildlife in the areas it invades. Several  pregnant females have been captured from the wild. A female Burmese python usually lays 12 to 36 eggs but can lay as many as 100 eggs; the gestation period is 60 to 90 days. This nonvenomous constrictor can attain a length of 26 ft. (8 m), although it may not typically grow that large in the wild. The Burmese python is dark colored, with many brown blotches bordered in black down its back. Considered semiaquatic, it also is a good climber. It is one of the most commonly kept exotic snakes in the pet trade. Moreover, people have released their pet pythons when the snakes have grown too large or become too expensive to care for easily. These factors have ensured a large population of these snakes in the wild. More than 1,800 Burmese pythons were removed from the Everglades between 2000 and 2011; however, it is believed that this number represents only a fraction of the actual population. In 2012, the U.S. government instituted a ban on the importation and transfer across state lines of Burmese pythons and three other species of constrictor snakes. The Burmese python's native range is from India to lower China, the Malay Peninsula, and some islands of the East Indies, where it typically lives near water.

What are invasive species, and why should we be concerned about them?


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Squamata > Pythonidae  > Python molurus ssp. bivittatus Kuhl, 1820

Synonyms: None

Distribution Maps

Burmese python - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: EDDMapS)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way to report the occurrence of an invasive species?

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.

County Extension Offices - Find your county Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Adult Snakes

The Burmese python is a constrictor that can reach a length of 26 ft. (8 m), although it may not typically grow that large in the wild. It is dark colored, with many brown blotches bordered in black down its back. The markings allow the snake to blend well with its surroundings in the Everglades.

Skip Snow, National Park Service, bugwood.org Lori Oberhofer, National Park Service, bugwood.org

Young

Lori Oberhofer, National Park Service, bugwood.org Lori Oberhofer, National Park Service, bugwood.org

Eggs

A female Burmese python usually lays 12 to 36 eggs but can lay as many as 100 eggs. The gestation period is 60 to 90 days.

Lori Oberhofer, National Park Service, bugwood.org Lori Oberhofer, National Park Service, bugwood.org

Native Snake Species That Resemble Burmese Python

Although Burmese pythons grow larger than all snakes native to North America, smaller Burmese pythons may resemble venomous and nonvenomous native snakes.

Venomous

Agkistrodon contortrix, copperhead - Images at invasive.org

James Henderson, Golden Delight Honey, bugwood.org Arnold T. Drooz, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org

Crotalus adamanteus, eastern diamondback rattlesnake - Images at invasive.org

James Henderson, Golden Delight Honey, bugwood.org

Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, bugwood.org

Nonvenomous

Nerodia erythrogaster transversa, blotched water snake - Images at invasive.org

Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, bugwood.org

Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, bugwood.org

Additional Images for Burmese Python

Burmese python - Images at invasive.org

Learning Resources for Burmese Python

Video: Invasion of the Giant Pythons - PBS

Burmese python Fact Sheet - National Park Service

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land Grant University System - Find your Land Grant University's College of Agriculture, University Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Global Invasive Species Database - Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Stopping a Burmese Python Invasion - The Nature Conservancy

Science Features - U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

NAS - Nonindigenous Aquatic Species - USGS

Florida's Nonnative Wildlife: Species detail. - Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Identification of Burmese Pythons - Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

EDIS Publication - University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension

Florida Invaders: English - National Park Service

Florida Invaders: Spanish - National Park Service

Florida Invaders: Creole - National Park Service

Activity Guide for Teachers - National Park Service


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