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Burmese Pythons: How Can You Tell Male From Female?

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Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) are sizable reptiles that are part of the family Pythonidae. They're an Indian python subspecies. These constrictors live out in the wilds of southeastern Asia, including in Indonesia and China. Some people also have Burmese pythons in their homes as pets. Since the sexes display some physical differences, they are sexually dimorphic.

Background Information

Burmese pythons appear in several different color varieties, notably brownish-yellow, light beige and gray. Their physiques are also adorned with big red markings. They are found in many kinds of living environments, specifically thick rainforests, mountains, rugged hills and wetlands. They consistently opt to live close to water sources. As carnivores, Burmese pythons are big on sustenance such as reptiles, birds and mammals. Because of their noteworthy size, they often are even capable of feeding on creatures as comparatively massive as deer. They are independent in nature, and usually only interact with others of their species for reproductive purposes. As constrictors, Burmese pythons are devoid of fangs. Their life expectancies are usually between 15 and 25 years.

Body Size and Gender

One relatively easy way to tell male and female Burmese pythons apart is by taking overall size into consideration. Girl Burmese pythons are bigger than the boys. The females typically grow to between 17 and 20 feet long, while the males usually only make it to between 10 and 15 feet. The males also tend to have much narrower physiques.

Other Notable Physical Differences

Although female Burmese pythons are undoubtedly bigger than the males, they have significantly tinier heads, too, proportionally speaking. The males' spurs are also markedly lengthier than those of the females. The spurs in pythons, simply put, are wee relics of legs. These spurs are situated on the edges of their physiques, right by the starting point of their tails. Millions and millions of years ago, snakes' forefathers indeed sported legs, odd as it might sound. Male Burmese pythons sometimes employ their spurs to lightly tickle females -- and woo them for mating.

Breeding Length and Gender

Body length at the age of reproductive maturity also might be helpful for distinguishing between the genders. Males gain the ability to reproduce when they're somewhere between 7 and 9 feet long. Females, however, have to be no less than 9 feet in length for reproduction. Reproductive maturity in Burmese pythons generally occurs when specimens are between 4 and 5 years in age.