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Though they characterize a mere 6% of the world’s snake variety, boas, anacondas and pythons have lengthy monopolized the attentions of herpetologists, personal snake keepers, zoos and “non-herp people” alike. A lot of our fascination facilities upon the households’ giants, and the large meals they devour. A minimum of 2 species – the African Rock Python (Python sebae), and the Reticulated Python (P. reticulatus)often add individuals to their eating regimen, and anecdotal proof signifies that the similar could also be true of the Inexperienced Anaconda (Eunectes murinus). Captive Burmese Pythons (P. bivittatus), have occasionally killed caretakers, and the Indian Python (P. molurus) and Scrub Python (Morelia amethystinus) are definitely able to doing the similar. Even after a lifetime of working with big constrictors, I used to be astonished by a few of the anaconda meals (most notably a 60 lb. deer) that I used to be fortunate sufficient to watch in the subject.

Necessary Notice: Inexperienced Anacondas and African Rock, Indian, Burmese and Scrub Pythons can exceed 20 ft in size, and can’t normally be correctly and safely managed in personal collections. Human predation, whereas uncommon, has been documented for a number of of those, and feral Burmese Pythons are inflicting ecological havoc in south Florida. As is the observe amongst skilled zookeepers, at the very least 2 well-experienced adults ought to be readily available every time constrictors exceeding 6 ft in size are fed or dealt with. Please see the article linked below “Further Reading” to examine a stunning research of human predation by Reticulated Pythons.

Anaconda by truckClassification

The world’s 40 python species are categorised in the household Pythonidae and the tremendous household Pythonoidae. Additionally included in Pythonoidae are the Mexican Burrowing Pythons (Lococemidae) and the Sunbeam Snakes (Xenopeltidae).

The world’s 58 boas (together with the four anaconda species) are positioned in the household Boidae. Boidae is additional divided into three subfamilies – the True Boas and Anacondas (Boinae), the Sand Boas (Erycinae) and the Dwarf Boas (Ungaliophiinae).

Boas and pythons are thought-about to be “primitive” snakes, as a result of sure anatomical options comparable to vestigial pelvic girdles and rear limbs (the cloacal “spurs” seen on most species), however as you’ll see beneath they’re terribly profitable. All are constrictors, and most are outfitted with facial heat-sensing organs that enable them to find warm-blooded prey at evening.



At an grownup dimension of lower than 36 inches, Australia’s Pygmy Python (Antaresia perthensis), is the smallest species. At the different finish of the scale, the Reticulated Python typically exceeds 20 ft in size. Additionally in the similar common dimension class are Asia’s Indian and Burmese Pythons, the African Rock Python, and the Scrub Python of Australia.

A reward supplied by the Bronx Zoo for a snake exceeding 30 ft in size remained uncollected for almost 100 years. Throughout my time working there, we had been excited by pictures of what seemed to be a record-breaking Reticulated Python captured in Borneo. Upon arrival at the zoo, nonetheless, she proved to be “only” 21-23 ft lengthy – however a lot stronger than the captive-bred specimens I’ve handled!

Brazilian Rainbow Boa

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Damien Farrell


The varied Dwarf Boas (Ungaliophiinae) are absolutely grown at 12-28 inches in size, whereas feminine Inexperienced Anacondas are the heaviest of all snakes and will equal or exceed the Reticulated Python in size.

Of almost 500 Inexperienced Anacondas that I and associates tagged in Venezuela’s llanos area, a 17 foot-long, 215 lb. feminine proved largest; a number of others measured 15-16 ft in size. Dependable colleagues report sightings of bigger people alongside forested rivers inside the Amazon basin, however in such habitats they’re almost not possible to seize.



With a single exception (the Mexican Burrowing Python, Loxocemus bicolor), pythons are restricted to the Jap Hemisphere. Their best variety is reached in Australia and New Guinea, however they’re additionally well-represented in Africa and South/Southeast Asia. Feral populations of Burmese Pythons and African Rock Pythons are established in Florida, USA.

Adult rubber boa

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by USDA Forest service


Boas happen almost world-wide in tropical and subtropical environments, however are absent from Australia. They’re represented in Europe by a single species, the Javelin Sand Boa (Eryx jaculatus). Many, myself included, are shocked to be taught that the Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) ranges as far north as southern Canada. Boas attain their best variety in Latin America, the place they’re typically the largest terrestrial predators in their habitats. Madagascar and a number of other Caribbean and South Pacific islands are dwelling to quite a few endemic, and sometimes uncommon, species.


Boas and pythons occupy almost each conceivable habitat, together with deserts, rainforests, main cities, farms, arid woodlands, swamps, cloud forests, sand dunes, grasslands, giant rivers, and lots of others. Some are extremely specialised for all times in the water, treetops, or beneath floor, whereas others, comparable to the Frequent Boa (Boa constrictor), are habitat generalists.

Timor python hatchlings

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Tigerpython


All pythons produce eggs which in most if not all species are incubated by the feminine. By contracting their muscle tissue, or “shivering”, females can increase the temperature of their clutch by as a lot as 40 F.

With a single exception (the African Floor “Python”, Calabaria reinhardtii, previously categorised as a python), all boas and anacondas give delivery to dwell younger.

Rainbow Boa consuming mouse

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by KaroH

Weight loss plan

Many boas and pythons are generalists that devour all kinds of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. For instance, subject research present that the Frequent Boa takes tamanduas, inexperienced iguanas, raccoons, bats, monkeys, birds and an enormous array of different creatures with equal gusto.

Specialists are additionally frequent. Mexico’s Oaxacan Dwarf Boa, an inhabitant of cool cloud forests, feeds primarily upon frogs, salamanders and their eggs, whereas the reptile-partial Black Headed and Woma Pythons embrace frilled lizards, bearded dragons and blue-tongued skinks in their diets

Mammals weighing in extra of 100 kilos, giant crocodilians, turtles and different seemingly “unlikely” meals are taken by the giants of every group. Please see the article linked beneath for extra on giant, odd snake meals.