KINGDOM: Animalia (Animals)
PHYLUM: Chordata (Possessing a notochord)
CLASS: Reptilia (Reptiles)
ORDER: Squamata (Scaled reptiles)
FAMILY: Pythonidae (Pythons)
SUB-FAMILY: Pythoninae (Pythons)
GENUS: Liasis (Water pythons)
SPECIES: Liasis mackloti (Macklot’s python)
Macklot’s pythons are native to parts of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Macklot’s python is a medium-sized python of medium girth with a broad, flat head and clear, light eyes with a vertical slit. Their skin color ranges from olive green to dark brown, with the belly color ranging from creamy yellow (chin and neck areas) to dark brown (tail area). When viewed in good light, the scales have a beautiful rainbow sheen. They also have light-coloured speckled markings that resemble freckles. These pythons average about 214 cm and 7kg, with females being mostly larger than males. Although they have large teeth, they are not venomous.
Macklot’s pythons prefer rain forest habitats and they are semi-aboreal (semi-tree-dwelling). They can be found in tropical forests, river basins, wet savannahs and grasslands.
Macklot’s pythons are carnivores (meat eaters). They will eat rats, small mammals, water birds (and their eggs), frogs, fish and lizards. Pythons are ambush predators and after grabbing their prey using their teeth, they will suffocate it by wrapping themselves around it and constricting their muscles until it can’t breathe.
The Macklot’s python is a solitary animal. These snakes aren’t territorial (although they tend to stay in one area) and more than one have been observed together.
Macklot’s pythons are polygynandrous (males and females will both have several mates). Males find females by following a scent trail. Males will also compete for females by wrestling or dancing.
These combats may last for several hours and one male tries to force the other down. Females will lay a clutch of 10-18 eggs, which hatch in approximately 56-62 days. Females will protect their eggs and incubate them by coiling around the eggs and contracting her muscles to keep them warm. Baby Macklot’s pythons are independent from hatching. Hatchlings are born brown and as they grow they will lighten a bit and develop greyer freckles, in dots and patches. Sexual maturity is reached at about 2-3 years of age. They can live up to about 17 years.
The Macklot’s python is preyed on by larger snakes, feral dogs, cats, pigs and foxes.
Possible threats to Macklot’s pythons include habitat loss (from land clearing), habitat degradation by introduced species, habitat modification caused by global climate change, death on roads and emerging diseases.
Did you know?
- Macklot’s Pythons are known to be feisty while juvenile but they mellow down as they age
- Contrary to popular belief a snake does not “unhinge” its jaws. The jaws are not actually attached in a mechanical way
- Snakes can pick up sound and vibrations through their whole bodies
- Snakes sense odours by flicking their tongues and a special organ in their mouth. They also detect odours with their nose