Jul 31, 2009
Australian Python Eating Dog
Description of pythons
Adults range in size from 0.5 to 10 meters (1.5 to 33 feet) in length. One species, Python reticulatus, the reticulated python, holds the record for world’s longest snake: 10 m (32 ft 9.5 in).
The Pythonidae are distinguished from the family Boidae (boas) by the fact that they have teeth on the premaxilla: a small bone at the very front and center of the upper jaw. Most species have rows of heat-sensing organs between the sublabial scales: labial pits. Although not as well developed as the loreal pits of the subfamily Crotalinae (pitvipers), these organs enable the snakes to detect objects that are hotter than the surrounding environment, and enable hunting to take place in total darkness, such as inside caves.
Some species exhibit vestigial bones of the pelvis and rear legs, which are externally apparent in the form of a pair of anal spurs on each side of the cloaca. These spurs are larger in males than females, and are used by the male to grip and/or stimulate the female during copulation. Males of certain species occasionally cause spur related injuries to each other during territorial combat, and though more likely to be incidental than intentional, some captured specimens have shown multiple episodes of scarring