Melanie, like many of our animals, needed a home. She came to us from an owner who loved Melanie very much but had to give her up when his wife moved in with two cats and an ultimatum. After much due diligence, he decided that Out of Africa Wildlife Park would make the best home for Melanie. We could not be happier with his decision (for us and his wife), as Melanie has touched our hearts and thrilled many visitors. Her peaceful and amiable nature makes her the perfect ambassador for many of our educational programs.
The Burmese python is the largest subspecies of the Indian Python and one of the six largest snakes in the world, native to a large variation of tropic and sub-tropic areas of Southern and Southeast Asia, including eastern India, Nepal, Western Bhutan, Southeast Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, northern continental Malaysia, Southern China and in Indonesia on Java, Southern Sulawesi, Bali, and Sumbawa. This python is an excellent swimmer and needs a permanent source of water. It can be found in grasslands, marshes, swamps, rocky foothills, woodlands, river valleys, and jungles with open clearings. Pythons are good climbers and have prehensile tails.
As one of the 6 biggest kinds of snakes in the world, Burmese pythons can weigh up to 200 pounds and grow up to 20 feet long. The largest pythons are always female. They can grow from 13 to 20 feet while the typically smaller males grow from 8 to 17 feet. However, most Burmese pythons in general grow to a length of around 12 feet. The males and females can be distinguished by external features. In males the anal spurs on each side of the cloaca are much more developed than in females. It’s unknown how long the Burmese python will live in the wild. The snake’s body and its organs are long and thin. Pythons are constrictors, therefore they don’t have fangs; instead, they have rearward- pointing teeth, and they are non-venomous. Snakes usually only have one thin lung. However, pythons have two, one of which is considerably smaller than the other. They lack eyelids. However, they do have a thin, protective epidermal membrane covering the eyes. The lighter-colored amelanistic form of this snake is especially popular and is widely available. They are white with patterns in butterscotch yellow and burnt orange. Contrary to popular belief, the amelanistic Burmese python is not an albino form of the Burmese python. Amelanistic means lack of melanin, which is black pigment, while albinism is caused by a genetic mutation. “Amelanistics” almost always have normal colored eyes.
Burmese python hatchlings are anywhere from 18 to 29 inches. These hatchlings weigh around 4 ounces. Burmese pythons breed early in the spring months. The females lay 12 to 48 eggs in the spring. After they lay the eggs, they gather them all together and coil around them to incubate. They will lay coiled around the eggs until they hatch. The female python is the only snake that can raise its own body temperature. While they are keeping the eggs warm, the muscles will tremble and these movements help the female to increase the temperature around the eggs. They will never leave the eggs for eating. Once the baby pythons are hatched, they must learn to exist alone and fend for themselves. They will often remain inside their egg until they are ready to complete their first shedding of skin, after which they hunt for their first meal.
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