Creature Feature: Burmese Python

Burmese Python

Python molurus bivittatus

Reptiles Alive Names: “Sunshine, Moonlight, and Starlight”

Hissstory: Sunshine was abandoned at a carpet warehouse in Sterling, VA in 2000.  The store owner called us to come and get her, and she was in pretty bad shape.  We spent about a year rehabilitating her back to health.  She has been healthy and growing ever since!  Moonlight was rescued by the Virginia Reptile Rescue from a pet store that was closed down and we adopted him in 2009.  Starlight was abandoned  as an unwanted pet at the Alexandria Animal Welfare League where we adopted him in 2009.
sunshine_profile
RA Diet: Two or three frozen and then defrosted triple extra large rats every 2-4 weeks.

Range: India, Burma, and Southeast Asia.

Habitat: Pythons live in rain forests, farmlands, and fields.

Natural Diet: Burmese pythons will eat just about any mammal or bird they can fit into their stomach.

Size: Burmese pythons are one of the biggest snakes in the world.   Their average length is 9-13 feet, but the record length is 23 feet.  They can weigh over 200 pounds.

Lifespan: Burmese pythons can live over 40 years.

Reproduction: Female Burmese pythons can lay up to 100 large eggs, but typically lay 12-36. Unlike most snakes,  mother pythons will coil around eggs and twitch their body to raise the temperature and help incubate the eggs. She will not leave the eggs until they hatch.

Conservation: Burmese pythons  have become an invasive exotic species in southern Florida.  People keeping pythons as pets either illegally released their unwanted animals into the wild or the snakes escaped improper caging.  Either way, no one knows for sure the impact these giant snakes will have on the south Florida ecosystem as they reproduce and consume native animals, including alligators.

Cool Facts:
 Sunshine, Moonlight, and Starlight are all albinos, born without the black or brown pigment called melanin. The brilliant yellows and whites you see on our albino pythons would otherwise be covered over by the brown and black pigments  found on normally patterned snakes.

2009 Wildlife Exhibitor Annual Report

This has been another great year for Reptiles Alive!  Between September 30, 2008 through September 30, 2009, we presented 735 shows for approximately 63,000 people!  That is a lot of people who have been educated about reptiles and wildlife conservation.

During that period, we also had some changes to our animal collection and our staff.

Jennifer Rafter left us this past summer to join the team at the new Delmarva Discovery Center.  She is missed – but we know she is having a great time setting up a brand new, 7,000 gallon aquarium and setting up new reptile and amphibian exhibits as well.  Last weekend, we transferred a corn snake, an America toad, and a gray tree frog to the DDC for her to display.

A few of our animals have left us as well.  We transferred a healthy carpet python to another reptile organization because the python was not “happy” doing shows with us.  He will have a great new home where he no longer has to go to work.

Two of our animals died this year.  We lost an eastern king snake and a pueblan milk snake.  Both were very old and were suffering from a gastro-intestinal disease.  We were very sad, but we had them both humanely euthanized so they would not suffer any more.

Four new animals made their way into the Reptiles Alive permanent collection this year.

This spring, Sunflower the albino boa constrictor made her way to us.  She is still less than one year old and is less than 2 feet long, so you might not see her at shows for a few more months.  But we are VERY excited about having her here – she is so beautiful.  It is rare to see albino boa constrictors exhibited in animal shows or at zoos, so you will be in for a treat when you meet her.

albino boa

Later in the year, we received another “regular” colored boa constrictor and an albino Burmese python.  The new Burmese python we named Moonlight and you can see him in shows starting this month.  The “regular” boa is named Aztec.   He is very handsome and healthy, so you will get to see him in shows starting this month as well.

Lastly, we just received another albino Burmese python.  This snake came from the Alexandria Animal Welfare League as an abandoned pet.  He/she seems healthy, but we have to quarantine all of our new animals for at least 3 months to make sure.  This new snake does not yet have a name, but we are thinking of naming him “Cloud.”  What do you think we should name him?

We are looking forward to the coming year and meeting all of you!  Be sure to fill book your show now, our calendar is filling up fast.