Identification of Burmese Pythons

Pythons can be killed on private lands at any time with landowner permission - no permit required- and the FWC encourages people to kill pythons on private lands whenever possible. Pythons may be killed at any time throughout the year from 22 Wildlife Management Areas, Public Small Game Hunting Areas and Wildlife and Environmental Areas where they are known to exist.  There is no bag limit and pythons may be humanely killed by any means other than traps or firearms (unless provided for by specific area regulations). Do not enter areas posted as “Closed to Public Access.”

It’s important to be able to correctly identify Burmese pythons, and learning how to do so is easy! The information below will help you learn the distinguishing characteristics of Burmese pythons, and the additional web pages give tips on how to tell Burmese pythons from other native and nonnative species. Properly identifying Burmese pythons can help target this species for destruction from the Everglades ecosystem while protecting our native snakes.

Burmese pythons are large constrictors that can grow to over 20 feet in length, although those caught in Florida are generally between 6 and 10 feet long.  As adults, they are larger than almost all native snakes.

Typical Burmese pythons are tan in color with dark blotches along the back and sides.

Burmese Pythons Front

Burmese python
Photo credit Pat Lynch SFWMD

Burmese Pythons Side

Burmese python
Photo credit FWC

Three characteristics help distinguish Burmese pythons from other snakes.

  1. Blotches are irregularly shaped
  2. Blotches fit closely together like puzzle pieces or a giraffe pattern
  3. Dark wedges are on head, behind and below eye

BurmesePythonsHead.jpg

Burmese python
Photo credit Pat Lynch SFWMD

 

Similar nonnative snakes that have been reported in Florida:

 

Native snakes that Burmese pythons are often misidentified as:

Additional resources

Learn more about pythons in Florida



FWC Facts:
Panthers space themselves so they will have enough food. If panthers lived close together, all the deer would soon be gone, and there wouldn't be enough to eat.

Learn More at AskFWC