Like all varieties of snake, members of the python family are cold-blooded and rely on their tongues for smell. Somewhat uniquely, pythons are unambiguously non-venomous, and rely primarily on strangulation for killing prey. They are also some of the longest snakes on the planet. There are many different species of pythons, including royal, Angolan, African rock, Timor and Burmese, all of which have unique characteristics.
Royal pythons are also known as ball pythons because of the way they roll up when threatened. According to exotic-pets.co.uk, these pythons are native to western and central Africa and prefer forested environments, dividing their time between the trees and the ground. Royal pythons have a black body, with brown, gold and yellow markings that generally form a banded pattern. The bands may be broken or otherwise hard to distinguish. They can grow to be about 5 feet in length.
The Angolan python is from western Africa, and ranges from Angola into Namibia. According to reptilepets.co.za, the snake features distinctive raised scales and is not often in captivity. Angolan pythons are bit wider and stockier than their royal cousins, and grow on average to be 5 feet long, although they can reach up to seven feet.
African Rock Python
African rock pythons are some of the longest snakes in the world, and can grow to be almost 30 feet in length but are usually between 18 and 20 feet. According to exotic-pets.co.uk, the pythons are native to sub-Saharan Africa, and typically feature tan bodies and are covered with black-outlined, brown spots. Humans often kill the snakes for their oil, skin and meat.
the Timor python is a shy, nervous snake in the wild, according to centralpets.com. It is native to the Lesser Sunda Islands, off the coast of southeast Asia, including the islands Adonara, Flores, Lomblen and Pantar. For this reason, it is also commonly referred to as the Lesser Sundas python. The snake features a brown-coloured pattern on the front-half of its body, but towards the tail this generally fades away into a solid greenish/brownish colour. After shedding, the skin of a Timor python may also appear iridescent. On average, the python grows to be between 5 and 8 feet long.
Burmese pythons look very similar to African rock pythons, as they both have the same body colour and spots. The only real distinguishable difference is that spots of the Burmese python form a different pattern. According to exotic-pets.co.uk, the snake can grow to be between 12 and 25 feet long, and ranges from northwestern India, through southern China, and into the East Indies.