Burmese pythons are very massive creatures that require the utmost care as they are both expensive and extremely dangerous. I can’t begin to stress how dangerous these snakes are since some owners have lost their lives as a result of poor manhandling. So it is crucial that you know about them before you decide to have them as pets.
Finding someone to care for large snakes like the Burmese can be somewhat difficult since they have a knack of outliving their owners, so be completely sure to cross the Tees before taking on adopting one because they aren’t suitable for beginners and are in fact best left in the wild.
The Burmese python also is known as python bivittatus can grow up to 15/20 feet and weight up to 200 pounds. This beautiful, monstrous snake comes in amazing colours of brown and black patterns, and their remarkable size makes them one of the most interesting pets. The fact that they can live up to 25 to 30 years makes them even more keep-worthy.
Behaviour and Temperament of Burmese Pythons
The Burmese pythons are typically considered compliant unlike other large snakes, although hatchlings can get easily scared but are usually completely tamable with consistent handling.
Despite their docile character, the size of the Burmese pythons makes them even more aggressive feeders and can inflict serious injury on their handlers. It is critical that a second person is always present when feeding constrictors that are 8 feet long or more.
It is also necessary to handle these snakes as frequent as possible when they are still young, so when they get older and bigger, it wouldn’t be difficult handling them. You can gently touch your pet but do it firmly and remain persistent if it resists. Desist from handling your Burmese for some days after feeding, or it may cause it to regurgitate.
When your python wraps itself around you, try unwinding it starting at its tail. It doesn’t take much for a full-grown Burmese python to completely overpower a person, so it is of the utmost importance that as your snake grows, you should have at least one other person present especially when you’re only handling strong pythons.
Burmese are typically voracious eaters and are often unconsciously conditioned by their owners to only enter their cages at feeding time. It is risky if your snake associates you to the food it eats; and might likely have a go at you one day or worse, try wrapping itself around you. It is advised to socialise your pet, so it doesn’t view you as a potential meal.
Accommodating a Burmese Python
A 55-gallon tank is OK to house a younger Burmese python, but you’ll require a stronger and larger enclosure as the snake grows bigger. Handlers can opt for Plexiglas cages, custom built wood, or just make a large enclosure or room for your pet.
Pythons are strong escape artists, so it is essential that the enclosure must be considerably large, at least 8 feet long, 5 feet wide and 4 feet tall, and must be much secured, so the snake doesn’t escape.
Hides, wooden enclosure or box made from cardboard would do for younger snakes, but ensure to be consistently creative as the snake grows. You could seek professional help when it comes to that.
Pythons require a daytime temperature of up to 85 to 88 F and a basking area at 90 to 93 F. The temperature may drop to 78 to 80 F at night. You can also use ceramic heat elements, spotlights, and heating pads to keep warmth intact, but ensure such lights remain shielded to prevent burns on the snakes. Pig heating blankets would be a good option for large snakes for maintaining their temperature.
Paper towels or unprinted paper are good alternatives for hatchlings since it makes cleaning easy and also makes it easy to monitor the health of your snake. Bigger pythons, however, linoleum, indoor or outdoor carpeting are easier to maintain; so have some pieces on hand and just switch them out when it is time to clean and disinfect.
Food and Water
As stated earlier, Burmese pythons are voracious eaters, and it’s essential to remain careful not to have them overfed, so you don’t end up having an obese snake. Hatchlings can survive on mice or fuzzy rats, progressing up to rats and eventually rabbits depending on their level of growth. The prey (food) shouldn’t be larger than the snake’s width and can be fed once or twice per week, but adult Burmese need to be fed every two weeks or so.
A low bowl or dish of water should be readily available for drinking and soaking, especially for smaller snakes, and should be frequently changed. A tub or pool of water is required as the snake gets bigger because the dish of water would no longer be able to accommodate large snakes when soaking is needed.
Choosing Your Burmese Python
A reliable way to become a Burmese owner is to get one from a reputable breeder who can discuss the snake’s health history it may have. Burmese pythons are often targeted by poachers due to their beautiful and intricate skin patterns, and snakes abandoned by their owners are likely to fall into the wrong hands. It is essential to consider if or not you have the time to care for a Burmese python, as well as space and patience.
A healthy Burmese python hatchling displays its unique colouring just as it comes out of the shell, so any snake that looks nothing like the Burmese should be returned or call a vet for advice. Lethargy, signs of respiratory infections or redness around the mouth are a clear indication that your snake isn’t well and needs immediate care.
Typical Health Problems
One common ailment that afflicts pythons and the boa family is inclusion body disease (IBD). This is a fatal virus that can be transmitted from one snake to another and symptoms may include abnormal shedding, weight loss, anorexia, tremor, constipation, and loss of motor control. Snakes with IBD may starve to death due to the inability to digest new food, even in cases where force-feeding is required.
Burmese pythons are similar to other reptiles and are very susceptible to respiratory infections and mouth rot, or stomatitis. A python suffering from respiratory infection would breathe with its mouth open or wheeze, and mouth rot would show signs as reddish discolouration in and around the snake’s mouth.
A veterinarian should be contacted immediately to check for any signs of infections and diseases since many handlers can’t readily tell if their snake is suffering or not.