What Are the Characteristics of a Python Snake?

Pythons are a group of non-venomous snakes that ambush and constrict their prey to death, then swallow them whole. Most pythons can sense heat in addition to their good vision and sense of smell. All female pythons lay eggs, and some incubate the eggs until they hatch.

Closely related to boa constrictors, some python species can grow to more than 10 feet long, while others grow only up to 3 feet. The longest python ever recorded measures 31.5 feet long.

A python's skin color often matches the environment in which it lives, which can either be on land or on trees, allowing it to blend easily into the background and ambush its prey. Those that live on land are often near a river or lake and are adept at swimming, although they usually only hunt on land. They are often found in tropical areas such as rain forests, deserts and savannas, but they can also live in urban areas.

Most pythons prey on other birds and mammals, while the smaller python species prey on amphibians and reptiles as well. Since the prey is swallowed whole, digestion takes weeks, if not months, keeping the cold-blooded animal full for a very long time. This results in pythons eating only four to five times in a year, on average.