Southern African Python

Scientific classification

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Chordata

Class

Reptilia

Order

Squamata

Family

Pythonidae

Description

Python sebae natalensis is a non-poisonous species found in sub-saharian Africa, can be found in southern Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, northern Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa (Northern KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo). It is present in a variety of habitats, including savanna and lowland forest.

 

It is one of the largest snakes in the world and the largest in Africa, attaining 20 feet in length.

 

Unlike most snakes, females actively protect their offspring until two weeks after they have hatched from their eggs. Reproduction occurs in spring and they can lay up to 100 eggs at one time. The offspring measure between 45-60 cm and are identical to the adults, except with more contrasting colors.

 

The python is an ambush predator and an opportunistic feeder. It will consume almost the entire animal transversally. Young pythons feed mainly on small rodents, which juvenile pythons popular with local farmers to reduce species that are harmful to crops, such as the sugarcane rat. However, adults are able to feed on large prey, including young crocodiles, goats, gazelles, warthogs and even humans, making them very dangerous. Although this species can easily kill an adult human, attacks are rare. The last known case where a person was eaten occurred in South Africa in 2002. The victim was a 10 year old child.