Indian Rock Python (Python molurus molurus)
English - Black-Tailed Python
Distribution - Widely distributed from Rajasthan to Bangal; from Punjab to whole South India.
Status - Common.
Length- Juveniles 14-16”, adults from 8-12ft; maximum can grow upto 25ft(rarely grow more than 17ft)
Dorsal body- Body thick with shiny smooth scales. Body full of irregular shaped patches with black border; main dorsal color white mixed with yellow, gray or brown; color of patch mostly dark brown or blackish, between these patches yellowish-brown color exist.
Ventral body- Ventral scales much narrower than typical snakes. Color whitish or mixed with yellow also have brown patches on edge. Both sexes have “spur” (thorn like structure) on each side of anal; larger in males. Subcaudal scales paired in zigzag manner.
Head-Head triangular, clearly broader than the neck. Heat sensitive pits found in snout tip and first two supralabials. Head color pinkish in adults, juveniles also have pink but brown shade on the top which becomes faint in subadult and totally absent in adults. In all specimens, an arrow shape mark present on posterior side of the head, may be faint in adults. Two streaks, passes from eyes and touches middle and posterior supralabials. Eyes have vertical pupil; tongue color pinkish-red or purplish with brown spots.
Tail- Tail short, having dark yellow and black appearance.
Key Characters for Identification-
Look alikes- Russel’s Viper, Common Sand Boa, Burmese Python.
- Thick body having shiny scales and irregular shape patches in whole dorsal surface.
- Head mostly pink colored.
Head- 11-13 Supralabials; Rostral and first two SL are pitted.
Dorsal- Smooth scales in 60-75 rows.
Ventral- 253-270; Anal undivided.
Subcaudal- 58-73; divided in Zig-zag manner.
Behavior- Indian Rock Python is nocturnal species; actives at night but can be spotted at daytime for basking and hunting. Remains hidden in dense bushes, scrubs, vegetation, dense trees, caves during day time. Habitat of Rock Python is grasslands, dense forests, mangroves, rocky areas, big gardens and farms. It like water body and wet surrounding during dry and warm weather.
Feeds on rodents, all small & medium size mammals, birds, monitors and other lizards, etc. Famous for its deadly suffocative constriction power.
Rock Python is generally a silent species and likes to escape on provocation. On further disturbance it coils its body and produce hissing sound (which is less louder than Russel’s Viper) and attacks on its enemy from one third front body. Pythons can hibernate during winter from December to February in groups.
Reproduction - Mating period is Winter to Summer mostly. Make “mating ball” during mating course. Female lay 10-107 eggs from March to June. Incubation period is 60-70 days, female always guard its eggs to give extra warmth by vibrating its body.
Rock Python is one of the biggest snake in rescue issues. In rescues they are found in size range from juveniles to adults upto 14ft. They always try to keep safe distance from humans and rarely enter in houses. In few cases Pythons act as domestic bird or meat eaters also. Mostly observed while crossing roads, in agricultural lands, gardens, farms, around poultry farms etc. In most of the cases their “catching” is not required if rescuer uses his own logic and experience by observing the situation. People call rescuers when they find a huge snake even in forest or place far from colonies. In such condition, rescuer must not disturb the animal and let it go in its territory again. If required, they can release them within 500mtr range from rescue point in the same geographical section.