What Do Burmese Pythons Eat?

Burmese pythons are carnivores with a fairly diverse diet, depending on what is available to them. As a rule, the Burmese python depends on a diet of smaller animals, particularly tiny mammals and birds; however, Burmese pythons are known to pursue larger prey as well.

According to National Geographic, Burmese pythons have rather bad eyesight, so they compensate by hunting with chemical and heat receptors, finally killing off their prey through the use of constriction. While birds and small mammals constitute the bulk of their conventional diet, Burmese pythons prey upon pigs and fowl, particularly if agricultural environments encroach on their habitat or vice versa.

In Florida, where the Burmese is an alien species, python diets have become more diverse. Even full-sized alligators have fallen prey to the Burmese python. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Burmese python sometimes preys upon house pets, like dogs and cats. Additionally, there is some concern that Burmese pythons have targeted the Key Largo Wood Rat, an endangered species. In captivity, zookeepers commonly feed Burmese pythons rabbits and other small rodents, a diet consistent with what it might eat in the wild. While Burmese pythons are considered dangerous to humans, as of 2014, the Florida commission denies that any wild specimens have attacked people.