PREVALENCE: Less common
ACTIVE PERIOD: Active during the day
KEY ID FEATURES: Distinct brown spotted body with tan to greenish yellow coloration between spots and stripped head, can grow very large with some exceeding 8 meters in length
BEHAVIOR: Relatively calm, will hiss and bite if handled and can attempt to constrict
OTHER: Hong Kong's largest snake species
QUICK ASSESSMENT 0-10
IMPORTANT: Most snakes can be found to have significant variance in coloration and pattern even within the same species. There can also be extreme differences in appearance from juveniles to adults so it is important to never assume you have properly identified a snake.
Hong Kong's largest species of snake, the Burmese Python is a relatively easy snake to identify given its distinct coloration and pattern as well as its size. Burmese are also common in the pet trade and so may have been observed outside of the wild by even the least nature-inclined individuals. Clearly discernible brown spots or patches run the length of the body with tan to greenish yellow coloration in-between the spots. The head is arrow shaped with two tan stripes running on either side of the top. This species can grow to lengths exceeding 8 meters, though more commonly observed closer to 6 meters when mature. In addition to its impressive length the Burmese is also quite a heavy snake easily exceed 90 kg when fully grown. Juveniles are similar in color and pattern to adults and relatively easy to identify.
Mostly out during the day the Burmese Python is largely terrestrial though has been observed as juveniles climbing trees in search of food, to rest or roost. Generally slow moving due to their size, Burmese are not difficult to approach. However, despite not being overtly aggressive these gentle giants are capable of delivering damaging bites if provoked and due to their size have a long strike range. Fully grown a bite from a Burmese can result in serious tissue damage requiring stitches or worse and a need for antibiotics to avoid infection. Though generally not a serious risk to fully grown healthy adults, their size makes them dangerous to small children and pets. There are no known fatalities or serious injuries associated with the Burmese in Hong Kong due to their generally docile nature and the deterrent of their size, so while its not necessary to fear them, they should be respected if observed.
(Click on the following link if video does not load: https://youtu.be/s4wCIgaRTJ0)
Wide spread around Hong Kong the Burmese prefers well grown in grass land, covered forest and mangrove as its preferred habitat. They generally avoid over developed locations but have been seen in public spaces around Sai Kung and the New Territories.
NO SNAKE SHOULD EVER BE HANDLED BY ANYONE BUT EXPERTS: Not normally confused with other species due to its unique appearance and size.