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Care Sheet - Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus)

Albino Burmese Python


Picture from slithering
Serpents

Normal colouring Burmese


Python
Picture from slithering
Serpents

Ladder Albino Burmese


Python

Blond Burmese Python

Granit Burmese Python


Picture from Gazs Pythons
and Boas

Green Burmese Python


Picture from
benrogersreptiles.com/

Ladder Burmese Python

If you are set on getting one of these big snakes make sure
you know what you are letting yourself into Read everything
you can and get plenty of information. These snakes have
the potential to kill an adult human.
Name: Burmese Python Python molurus bivittatus
Size: Burmese Python males are generally smaller than the females around 10
to 12ft. Females growing to from 15 to 18ft.
Life Span: Burmese can live for 20+ years
Origin: Native throughout Southeast Asia including Burma, Thailand, Vietnam,
southern China, and Indonesia and are now to be found in Florida USA through
escapes and people releasing them as they get too big to look after.
Temperament: Burmese python babies are generally very nippy, though with
regular handling the tame down extremely well, though they should never be fully
trusted, they are a very large and very powerful snake that does have the ability
to kill a human. They usually have an extremely strong feeding response and can
stay in feeding mode for hours after being fed and they should be treated with a
great deal of respect and caution when 9foot+, and only handled when there are
at least two people present. Remember the old adage my dog doesnt bite.
Housing: A 9 long x 3 deep x 3 high wooden vivariums is a good Vivarium for
all but the largest Burmese. For the big snakes the bigger the housing the better.
Baby Burmese can be kept in smaller really useful boxes, or other similar Plastic
Storage box, as these are more secure which will reduce the risk of the baby

snake escaping and will make the snake feel safer in a smaller space. These can
be heated with a heat mat and thermostat. Do not use heat mats with the larger
heavy bodied snakes as thermal burning can occur due to the size of their bodies
absorbing all the heat from a mat, this goes for Royal Pythons as well. Okay
when youngsters.
Substrate: There are many substrates that can be used for Burmese Pythons, It
really depends on you.
Aspen

Is a widely available reptile shops and outlets

It looks natural

Easy to spot clean

Absorbs unpleasant odours

Allows the snake to burrow


Beech Wood chips

Widely available

Looks natural

Easy to spot clean

Allow the snake to burrow.


Newspaper

Cheap

Easy to replace

Easy for cleaning roll up throw away.

Safer to feed on especially for youngsters


Hides: Burmese Pythons as babies should be provided with several hides, one
on the warm side of the viv, and another on the cool side and one in the middle
so that the snake can thermo regulate and still feel safe under a hide. Natural
hides can be bought from your local reptile shop, bits of bark etc that would fit in
nicely in a naturalistic set up or hides could be simpler anything from cardboard
toilet roll holders for babies to cereal boxes or any cardboard box of a suitable
size. There are not that many hides available that will fit an adult Burmese but
plastic dog beds/baskets turned upside down work very well. Being plastic they
are easy to clean and can also be used as a humid hide when the Burmese is
going into shed. For smaller Burmese plastic boxes with a whole cut in can be
used as a moss box.
Water: A large water bowl should be provided, bowls can be bought from reptile
shops or dog or cat ceramic water bowls can also be used. The water should be
changed daily or every other day. It should be changed immediately if the snake
defecates in it. Some people also choose to bath their Burmese in the bath, to
aid in shedding and allow them to exercise.
Heating: Burmese Pythons like all reptiles are cold blooded and its up to the
owner of the snake to provide the correct heating gradient that it needs. The
temperature in the vivarium should be about 75F at the cool end and about 90F
at the hot end. This can be achieved by using a Ceramic heater or heaters.
These need to be used with a pulse Proportional Thermostat and the ceramic will
need to be guarded with a bulb guard to stop the snake from being able to come
into direct contact with the hot bulb. Also make sure a ceramic light fitting is used.

A lot of people are now using the Microclimate AHS500 heating system these
have the advantage of heating thermostatically all in one unit. The down side is
once the vivarium is over 7 you will probably have to supplement the heating
with some secondary heating like a ceramic bulb and thermostat etc. The AHS
still requires a guard the case can get quite hot.
Feeding: Hatchling Burmese Pythons should be fed on rat pups every 7-5 days
and gradually increase the size of the prey item. Then move to 14 day feeding on
larger food when adult, or monthly feeding if on bigger prey items like rabbits etc.
Burmese should be fed on frozen thawed rodents, that can be purchased online
or from local reptile shops. These should be thawed out to room temperature and
offered to your snake; Most Burmese will actively strike and constrict the food
item, where some prefer to eat the item if its left in with them. Adults will take
anything from adult rabbits to piglets. Refrain from feeding chickens as there is
an enzyme in the feathers that may be linked to aggression. Okay as a treat just
not too often.
Shedding: Snakes shed (Ecdysis) their skin as they grow, the first signs of this
process include a duller overall appearance and the snakes eyes turn to a milky
blue colouration. The snake will usually shed its skin within seven to ten days
after showing these first signs. A day or two before shedding the snake will
appear normal, and look as if it has shed, however this is normal and the snake
will shed a few days after appearing normal.
When a snake is in shed it is not uncommon for them stop feeding, this is nothing
to worry about, and the snake will normally resume feeding once it has shed.
Sexing: There are two reliable ways to sex your snake, however both of these
should not be done by anyone that does not have experience in sexing snakes,
as if done incorrectly can be very dangerous. These two methods are called
probing for adult snakes, and popping for hatchlings. It is worth noting that both
methods can be inaccurate, male snakes can clench up during probing and
probe as females, however both these methods are recognised as the most
accurate way to determine your snakes sex.
Breeding: The big key here is to have sexually mature snakes of each sex.
Burmese pythons reach this maturity if 18 months to 4 years. It is better
described as a size with males reaching maturity at 7 to 9 feet and females being
9 feet or longer. Captive breeding usually occurs between late October and early
March.
Make sure your snakes are in good health and of good weight before attempting
to breed them. Stop feeding at this time and reduce their light to 8 10 hours per
day. Cage temps can also be reduces at this time to the upper 60s and low 70s
at night with daytime temps not reaching much above 80 degrees. After at least a
week, of cooler temps, slowly raise the temps and increase the available light.
Misting them at this time may be helpful in simulating a rainy season. This is the
time to introduce your snakes by placing the female into the males cage.
After copulation, return the female to her own cage. She can take up to a month
to ovulate and will lay eggs after a pre-lay shed. Females can lay 20 to 80+ eggs.
Smaller, brownish coloured eggs are usually infertile while good eggs resemble
soft goose eggs that are white. The female will incubate good eggs and push

infertile eggs, or slugs, out of her coils. Muscular contractions help her maintain
optimum incubation temps. Artificial incubation can be done provided
temperatures are between 88 and 90 degrees.
Babies hatch in 55 to 70 days and are fully independent upon hatching.
Infertile eggs are common when the female is kept in too small an enclosure to
allow a proper temperature gradient before and during the breeding season. This
is the #1 reason to have a large enclosure for these snakes, especially if you
want to try breeding them when they mature. Another problem is keeping the
snakes, usually the female, too warm during ovulation and fertilization by trying to
keep her too warm by forcing her into a temperature range that may in fact be
warmer than is required. This can cause premature ovulation, improper shelling,
and improper fertilization. As keepers, we often try to micro-manage the habitat
and this often leads to a higher rate of failure than letting nature take its course
within certain limiting factors.
Mutations: A number of different mutations are available in captivity besides the
normal phase. These include, but are not limited to; albino, labyrinth, granite,
blonde, pattern less (green), marble, brindle, hypo, leopard, Indian/Burmese
crossed, and multiple variations of all of the above such as the albino labyrinth.
As more are bred in captivity, look for more mutations, or morphs, to become
available.
John Gamesby