See How This Enormous Python’s Pretzel Disguise Fools No One

Burmese python
dwi putra stock/Shutterstock.com

Written by Sharon Parry

Published: November 21, 2023

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In this extraordinary clip, we see a massive Burmese python caught by the side of a Florida highway. Even though the enormous snake tried to adopt a ‘pretzel’ shape, the intrepid snake catchers managed to secure it. The snakes use this twisting shape as a defense mechanism, making it difficult to pick up. This monster was at least six feet long and had no intention of coming quietly!

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Where Do Burmese Pythons Normally Live?

Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) are one of the largest species of snakes in the world. They are a native species of large areas of Southeast Asia, and until 2009, they were considered a subspecies of Python molurus. Now, however, they are recognized as a distinct species. Their native habitat includes eastern India, southeastern Bangladesh, southern China, and Thailand. Sadly, their numbers in these areas are decreasing.

Their habitat consists of jungles and grassy marshes. They can be spotted in grasslands, swamps, rocky foothills, woodlands, and river valleys. These snakes are excellent swimmers and need to live near water. They can stay in the water for 30 minutes. When they live in the wild, they can reach lengths of around 16 feet, but there are unconfirmed reports of them coming over 20 feet.

How Did Burmese Pythons Get to Florida?

Burmese pythons in the wild in Florida have bred from unwanted pets.

There is now a breeding population of non-native Burmese pythons in south Florida. The ecosystems around the Everglades National Park provide a suitable habitat. There is also an abundant supply of mammals, birds, and other reptiles for them to feed on. Sadly, this means that many native species populations have been severely damaged. One study found that the population of raccoons has dropped by 99.3 percent. Similarly, the population of opossums has fallen by 98.9 percent.

The ancestors of these snakes were discarded pets. Unfortunately, people took on Burmese pythons without realizing how large they could grow. When the snakes reached adulthood, irresponsible owners released them into the wild.  

Are Burmese Pythons Dangerous to Humans?

It looked as if this snake was getting ready to bite to defend itself, which is not unusual for Burmese pythons. Smaller snakes are generally not dangerous, but the more prominent individuals have large, sharp teeth, which can cause severe lacerations. Burmese pythons are not venomous.

These are constrictor snakes, killing their prey by wrapping their bodies around it and crushing it. They are large and powerful snakes that could theoretically destroy a human’s body. However, all of the recorded constrictor snake fatalities in the US have been captive snakes and occurred when the owners were purposely interacting with their pets. Deaths of small children and infants in homes where snakes are kept as pets have also been recorded. To date, no human deaths have been caused by wild-living Burmese pythons in Florida. However, this cannot be completely ruled out in the future.

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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