An expert reptile handler, Josh Ruffell is an animal trainer for the movie and television industry. On one assignment, Josh Ruffell handled a Burmese python for the television series Desperate Housewives.
Among the earth’s largest snakes, Burmese pythons inhabit Southeast Asia and can potentially grow to more than 20 feet in length. Weighing as much as 200 pounds, they are usually a very docile species in captivity.
Eating mostly birds and small mammals, they capture prey in their sharp teeth, then coil around them, constricting and suffocating them. Flexible jaws enable Burmese pythons to swallow food whole. Hunting by ambush, they often lie in wait near rivers and other waterways.
When young, these snakes can be partially arboreal, becoming ground dwellers as they mature. Burmese pythons also swim well, staying beneath the surface for up to 30 minutes without taking a breath.
Traveling alone, Burmese pythons gather only for mating. Females lay up to 100 eggs that hatch approximately two months later. While coiled around the eggs, females contract and shiver their muscles, creating heat, helping to maintain optimal incubation temperatures. Their lifespan in the wild can reach 25 years.
The population of Burmese pythons is decreasing due to their popularity among leather makers and depletion of their habitat.