When I recently wrote my post on snakes, you may recall that I asked Rob to tell us about pythons. This is my first guest post – thank you Rob.
Please can I ask you to comment on this post if you read it – a comment is really special to a blogger and it’s what makes us come back to write more.
In our “normal South African household”, we have some unusual pets. (See photo)
When Slowvelder approached me to write this article, all I could think about was what was the single most important message I would like to convey?
It is as follows: RESPECT ALL ANIMALS ! – just give some a bit more of a wider berth than others – and never allow your fears to be transferred to your children – rather a sense of respect and understanding and appreciation for all God’s creatures – not just the cute cuddly ones, but also the “slimy”, legless ones. (Snakes are actually not slimy at all).
I have attached a Predation Chart that demonstrates a variety of animals that eat snakes, as well as those that are eaten by snakes.
We do not appear on there as a threat or as a meal! Unrealistic fears should be placed into perspective. Rather channel your energy into learning more about these fascinating reptiles and educating your children and future generations about them – before they disappear from the planet.
Some facts on Pythons & Constrictors
They are found predominantly in the Bushveld and close to permanent water.
The smaller snakes eat mainly small rodents, and the larger ones can capture Kudu calves and Impala.
A python does not poison its prey, but constricts it and suffocates it to death and swallows it whole.
This does not mean it does not have teeth …
A bite from a python and similar species (eg. Boa Constrictors, Anacondas, etc) can cause some serious trauma, but there are no fangs and no poison. So injuries inflicted by python bites are as a result of the victim’s natural defence mechanism to pull away – against the direction of the python’s many razor-sharp teeth. This can lead to infections if not treated correctly.
The prey that they capture and eat is swallowed head-first as an easier way to ingest the food (they like to watch what they’re eating!)
Mating occurs July to August, where after the female lays anywhere between 15 and 100 eggs. They are incubated for 80-100 days. Throughout this period, an African Rock Python female does not leave her eggs (as some other snakes do). She only ever leaves the eggs to drink and does not eat over this period. 24 hours before they hatch she abandons the clutch of eggs. Hatchlings measure from 50-60 cm for African Rock Pythons.
Pythons love spending a lot of time in water (they are cold-blooded), but they are not water snakes as is commonly believed. They are able to hold their breath for long periods of time under water, but have to resurface for fresh air at regular intervals.
After a good meal they can go without food for 3-4 months.
Please show respect for them and don’t harm them. If you encounter one, try not to disturb it. It will not chase after you. If it’s in a dwelling, please get assistance to remove it. It is not necessary to harm pythons as they are not poisonous!
Africa Rock Pythons are officially an endangered species. It is up to us and our children to make sure future generations can see this magnificent creature in its natural habitat.
It is illegal to keep indigenous snakes as pets eg. the African Rock Python. Only exotic species may be kept such as our Burmese Python in the photograph.
Thanks Farmgirl for the opportunity to share my passion with your bloggers, Rob.
Thank you Rob – for this interesting post.