Indian Rock Pythons Released 13 kilometers from Home Range Can Find Way HomeIndian rock pythons are large constricting snakes that occur in India, southern Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.

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Indian Rock Pythons Released 13 kilometers from Home Range Can Find Way Home

The snakes were captured in the Moyar River between the Sathyamangalam and Mudumalai Tiger Reserves.

What the researchers found is that the female pythons have a smaller range, and larger individuals didn't have larger home ranges.

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The Indian rock python (Python molurus), one of the larger snake species in the world, and classified as near threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has a home range of 1.4 hectares to 8.1 km, with an average of 4.2 km, according to a telemetry study of the reptiles by researchers with the Wildlife Institute of India and the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom.

The researchers captured 14 Indian rock pythons from residential villages, agricultural lands and forest areas and released them far away from their home ranges in an effort to examine their home ranges and how big their ranges are, and how their size may affect the variation in the size of their home ranges. The snakes were captured in the Moyar River between the Sathyamangalam and Mudumalai Tiger Reserves. The researchers found the snakes by looking for tracks, shed skins, holes, termite mounds and hedgerows in forests. They were then radio tagged. The researchers also used tagged snakes to locate new snakes during the mating season. The radio tracking occurred between December 2018 and December 2020. The snakes were released in areas from 0.2km to 55.7 km from their capture locations in areas that were suitable to rock pythons, (the presence of rock pythons already in the area). Two pythons were released in the location in which they were captured as a control.

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What the researchers found is that the female pythons have a smaller range, and larger individuals didn’t have larger home ranges. Snakes that are released within 13 kilometers of their home range will return to it, with one python taking 11 months to return to his home range that was 13 kilometers from where he was released.

Indian Rock Python Quick Facts

Indian rock pythons are large constricting snakes that occur in India, southern Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. It averages near 10 feet in length, though the largest recorded species measured 4.6 m (15 ft) in length and weighed 52 kg (110 lb). The species is related to the Burmese python, which was once considered a subspecies of the Indian rock python but is now considered its own species, Python bivittatus.

Rock Pythons Cross Breeding With Burmese Pythons In Florida Everglades

Both species have been documented to be crossbreeding in the Florida Everglades, where both are considered invasive species, according to a study published in August 2018. Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey were initially studying the genetics of the Burmese python in an effort to better get a grasp of how they spread and what could be done to control them. They took tail tissue samples of 400 snakes that were captured in south Florida, and of the 400 sampled, the researchers found genetic markers for the Indian rock python in 13 snakes. This, the researchers say, over time, could create a super snake, as both species prefer different environments. The Burmese python is adapting well in the swamps, and the Indian python, also called the Indian rock python, preferring dryer and elevated ground.

The complete study, “Home range ecology of Indian rock pythons (Python molurus) in Sathyamangalam and Mudumalai Tiger Reserves, Tamil Nadu, Southern India” can be read on the Nature.com website.