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Python molurus

Python molurus  commonly known as Indian Rock Python is a nonvenomous   species of snakes under family Pythonidae. The species is little lig...

Python molurus commonly known as Indian Rock Python is a nonvenomous species of snakes under family Pythonidae. The species is little light in colour than its counterpart (Burmese python). It is distributed in many tropical and subtropical areas of the Indian subcontinent and in South East Asia.
Usually the color of the species is whitish or yellowish having blotched shapes that vary in shades viz., tan to dark brown, depending on the geographical region. Such as the specimens of the hilly regions viz., Western Ghats & Assam are darker than the individuals that are dispersed within Deccan plateau & East coast.  This species is also known by other common names such as black-tailed python & Indian rock python at different places. This species of snakes is very lethargic, moves slowly in straight line and slow moving, which stays diffidence and very hardly attack even when cornered. The species is also as the excellent simmer and usually found near aquatic water bodies where it can also submerge itself for about half an hour in water if required but mostly prefers to stay around the banks.

                              
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Animalia
Phylum:
Chordata
Class:
Reptilia
Order:
Squamata
Suborder:
Serpentes
Genus:
Python
Species:
molurus
Binomial name
Python molurus (Linnaeus1758)


The species in India main land can be easily identified just by observing its large sized & slow locomotion body having dark irregular spots & pinkish head. The juvenile of the species were range between 40-45 cm while average length of the species have been recorded between 7-12 ft. Besides, the maximum length of the species has been recorded about 18 ft. 
Dorsally the bodies of the snakes are thick having smooth shiny scales. The whole dorsal boy is covered with irregular blotches of brown or blackish color while the lateral sides are white in colour assorted with gray, brown or yellow. 

Head is triangular, distinctive from neck. Presence of heat sensing pits on the lateral sides of snout. An arrow shaped can be mark can be observed on posterior side of the head in all individuals of this species which may faint in adults. There are two streaks which passes from the eyes & run towards the upper lips.  On the ventral side of the body the scales are found much narrower which are usually whitish or yellow in colour having dark colour spots toward the lateral side. In both genders of the species a “spur” (thorn like structure) is found on each side of anal aperture which is larger in males as compared. The sub caudal scales of in this species are paired and are having an arrangement of zigzag fashion. Tail is found shorter in these snakes with dark yellow & black reticulations. 

Indian python feed on mammals, birds, and reptiles mostly. Live preys are caught and constricted by this species during feeding by coiling around the prey to hold it in a tight grip till its heart stops beating. Then the prey is being swallowed whole from the side of head towards the tail. 

After having meal these snakes are unable to move and if they are forced, then stiff parts of the prey could tear their body. Thus, if we disturb these specimens during the time of feeding they expel their meal sometimes to escape from the site. While after having a heavy meal, individual of this species can stay without feeding for few weeks, however, the longest duration recorded is 2 years. Indian python is an Oviparous which lay around 100 eggs, which are incubated and protected by female of this species. The juveniles ranged from 45–60 cm in length and grow very quick. 

The species was classified as lower rick/near threatened on the IUCN red list of threatened species (v2.3, 1996), which was an indication that it may become threatened and required care and reassessment. 

In the literature, P. m. pimbura Deraniyagala, 1945 is acknowledged as the subspecies of this species which occurs in Sri Lanka. 

Previously, the Burmese python (Python bivittatus) was also mentioned as the subspecies of the Indian python till 2009, when it was separated to full species status. The designation Python molurus bivittatus is still may be found in literature. This species can be observed variety of habitats such as mangroves, grasslands, rainforests and semi-deserts, mixed to dry deciduous forests where it can lives in dense cover of vegetation, near agricultural land, rocky hills and at places of water bodies for activity. Can be found living inside caves, dunes, on or insides tree holes. It is a nocturnal species of snakes but can be observed during day sometimes basking near water bodies and for seeking for prey. The species usually shows terrestrial activity but are also good climbers, behavior is not aggressive, mostly try to escape when cornered to take hide, while locomotion is very lethargic. Whereas, on provocation it coils the whole body, head remains slightly above the ground and try to bite. 

The species showed its distribution in Pakistan, India (Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Odisha, Pondicherry, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttarakhand), Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. 

Literature Cited: 

Ao, J.M., David, P., Bordoloi, S., and Ohler, A. (2004). Notes on a collection of snakes from Nagaland, Northeast India, with 19 new records for this state. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 11(2):155 – 162 
Ardesana, R., Bhavesh, T., and Milan, B. (2017). Rescue Note On The Indian Rock Python Python molurus (Linnaeus, 1758) Around Rajkot City, Gujarat, India. Cobra, 11 (1): 22-26 
Ardesana, R., Jhala, R., and Bharad, M. (2018). A preliminary report on reptiles of Khirasara Vidi, Rajkot District, Gujarat, India. Reptile Rap, 33(2): 17:22 - get paper here
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Herps Of Doda: Python molurus
Python molurus
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Herps Of Doda
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