Taxonomic Name : Python sebae
Length_F : 5,0 m
Length_M : 4,25 m
Class : Reptilia >> Order : Squamata >> Family : Boidae
Description : Africa's largest snake. There is a large spearhead mark on the crown of the head; dark and light bands radiating from eye to lip. The body is grey-green/-brown, with dark-brown, black-edged bars and blotches on top.
Subspecies : 2 races are recognized: P. sebae and P.s. natalensis which is found on the subcontinent.
Distribution : Restricted mainly to the Lowveld, reaching Kwa-Zulu Natal south coast, and extending along the Limpopo valley to Lobatse in Botswana and into the Northern Cape.
Breeding : The female lays 30 - 50 large, almost spherical eggs. The female coils around her clutch to protect the eggs, but does not incubate them by shivering. The young hatch in 65 - 80 days.
Diet : Small buck, monkeys, etc. Fish, monitors and crocodiles are also eaten.
Nature Reserves : Kruger National Park.
This is Africa's largest snake, and its tough skin has always been much in demand in the leather trade. However, it is now a protected species, a fact that should make farmers grateful as it includes harmful rodents in its diet. Pythons hunt by ambush, patiently awaiting the arrival of a suitably sized animal, after which it lunges from its concealed cover and strikes, with its mouth wide open.
When the python's long, curved back teeth hit the prey, it throws its coils around the animal and starts asphyxiating it. The struggle is usually over within 2 or 3 minutes. Every time the prey exhales, the python constricts a little more, so that inhalation becomes increasingly difficult. The sheer panic of the victim often accelerates the end. Contrary to popular belief, death is not caused by crushing, although ribs may puncture essential organs.
Pythons feed on anything from guineafowl to bushbuck; the larger the animal, the longer the swallowing process. Although it is non-venomous, pythons can be dangerous to man, inflicting lacerating wounds with their bite - and there is the danger of suffocating if the snake coils around your chest.
Pythons are found mainly in the open savanah woodland and riverine bush of northern Namibia, south eastern and northern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, southern KZN, northern and eastern Gauteng, and can grow to a length of 5 m; they are a light brown ground colour with a pattern of dark brown, including a forward-pointing, spear-shaped marking on the head.
They most resemble Anchieta's dwarf python, which is limited to northern Namibia and southern Angola, and which is seldom longer than 1,5 m. Their preferred habitat is open savannah, thick bush bordering forests, along rivers and cliffs, and always close to water.
-- Southern African reptile species list --
Africa's largest snake, African Rock Python - Python sebae is found in South Africa and Southern Africa in the following nature reserves:
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