Python molurus reaches sexual maturity between 2-3 years of age provided the proper body weight is met. At this time courting behavior may begin. During courtship, the male wraps his body around the female and repeatedly flicks his tongue across her head and body. Once they align their cloacas, the male uses his vestigial legs to massage the female and stimulate her. Copulation ensues, with the female raising her tail to allow the male to insert one hemipenis (he has two) into the female's cloaca. This process lasts between 5-30 minutes. Approximately 3-4 months later, the female will lay up to 100 eggs, each weighing as much as 207 g (7.3 oz). At this time the female generally coils around the eggs in preparation for an incubation period. Incubation lasts between 2-3 months.
Range number of offspring: 100 (high) .
Range gestation period: 2 to 3 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 to 3 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 to 3 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous
Average number of offspring: 40.
During incubation female Python molurus use muscular contractions or "shivers" to raise their body temperatures slightly higher than the surrounding air temperature. It is very uncommon for a mother to leave the eggs during incubation. Once the eggs hatch, the young quickly become independent.
Parental Investment: pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Female)
- American Museum of Natural History, 1998. "Indian Python" (On-line). Accessed Feb. 19, 2001 at http://www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/Endangered/python/python.html.
- Murphy, J., R. Henderson. 1997. Tales of Giant Snakes:A Natural Historical History of Anacondas and Pythons. FL: Krieger Publishing Co.
- Woodland Park Zoo, 2000. "Indian Python" (On-line). Accessed Feb. 19. 2001 at http://www.zoo.org/educate/fact_sheets/python/python.htm.