Types of Python Snakes

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The world is home to more than 40 different python species, and about 25 or so of these are readily available to snake enthusiasts. Scientists group these species into 10 different genera, each of which contains closely related species. All pythons are nonvenomous and kill their prey by constriction.

Antaresia

Four small, Australian pythons comprise the genus Antaresia. Two of the species – children’s python (A. childreni) and spotted python (A. maculosa) – are common pets, while Stimson’s python(A. stimsoni) and pygmy python (A. perthensis) are not widely available in the United States. Members of the genus rarely exceed about 4 feet in length and they make excellent pets.

Apodora

The genus Apodora contains only a single species – the Papuan python (Apodora papuana). The Papuan python is a long, attractive, muscular species, that reaches about 12 feet in length. Unfortunately, these snakes are very rarely available to North American hobbyists.

Aspidites

The black headed python (Aspidites melanocephalus) and the woma (Aspidites ramsayi) are the only members of the genus Aspidites. These primitive pythons are the only living species without thermoreceptive pits -- small dimples that detect heat -- on their labial scales. While they accept rodents in captivity, these snakes consume lizards and other snakes in the wild -- a rare trait among adult pythons. Popular among hobbyists, these Australian snakes are frequently bred in North America.

Bothrochilus

The ringed python (Bothrochilus boa) is the sole member of the genus Bothrochilus. Hailing from New Guinea, the species' bright orange and black rings make it popular among hobbyists, even though the snakes become largely olive and black as adults.

Leiopython

The genus _Leiopython_in_Indonesian_NewGuinea) contains several species of closely related pythons, including the northern white-lipped python (L. albertisii), the Biak white-lipped python (L. biakensis), the Karimui Basin white-lipped python (L. fredparkeri) the Houn Peninsula white-lipped python (L. huonensis), the Southern white-lipped python (L. meridionalis) and the Wau white-lipped python (L. montanus). White-lipped pythons are often available commercially, but their nervous temperaments keep them from being popular among novices.

Liasis

The genus Liasis contains five species, the poorly known Wetar python (L. dunni), the water python (L. fuscus), the freckled python (L. mackloti), the olive python (L. olivaceus) and the Savu python (L. savuensis). Most members grow to between 4 and 8 feet in length, and make satisfactory captives, although some may be nervous animals.

Malayopython

The reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus) and the Timor python (Malayopython timorensis) are two lithe species that comprise the genus Malayopython. Natives of Southeast Asia, both forms are available to hobbyists, although reticulated pythons – the longest snakes on the planet – are too large for beginners and Timor pythons are often too expensive for the budgets of novices.

Morelia

The genus Morelia contains the carpet pythons (M. spilota), southwestern carpet python (M. imbricata), Centralian pythons (M. bredli), as well as two species of green tree python – the northern green tree python (M. azurea) and the southern green tree python (M. viridis). Although these five species are excellent captives and regularly kept by hobbyists, the rare rough-scaled python (Morelia carinata), which for years, was only known from a handful of specimens, is not available to North American keepers.

Simalia

The genus Simalia contains amethystine pythons (S. amethystina), Southern Moluccan pythons (S. clastolepis), scrub pythons (S. kinghorni), Tanimbar pythons (S. nauta), the Oenpelli python (S. oenpelliensis) and the rare and beautiful Black python (Morelia boeleni). Several of these species are commonly kept, but others, such as the Oenpelli python, are essentially absent from North American collections. Many of these species are capable of reaching lengths in excess of 10 feet.

Python

The clade’s namesake genus – Python – contains 10 different species. (A clade is a group of organisms descended from one common ancestor.) The '"blood python complex," consists of the Borneo blood (P. breitensteini), Sumatran python (P. curtus) and blood python (P. brongersmai), which are all short, thick snakes that are popular among snake enthusiasts. Scientists do not even know if the closely related and presumably endangered Mon python (P. kyaiktiyo) still exists in the wild, as they have only documented one specimen. The immense Burmese python (P. bivittatus) was formerly popular, but is illegal to keep in many municipalities now, as are the African rock python (P. sebae) and the lesser African python (P. natalensis). Additionally, the genus Python contains two small species – the ball python (P. regius) and the Angolan python (P. anchietae).

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