HOME · Biodiversity

20 Types of Pythons: Species, Facts and Photos

This article focuses on various types of pythons, discussing their unique traits, habitats, and behaviors. As we understand each python's role in the ecosystem, how their diet varies, and what makes each type distinct, we discard common misconceptions and gain a fresh perspective on these creatures. Read on to learn more.

Python Classification

The Pythonidae family comprises non-venomous snake species in various landscapes across Africa, Asia, and Australia. Holding one of the largest snakes, pythons have 38 species across 11 genera4.

The Python genus (true pythons) has the highest number of species at ten. Morelia (tree pythons) and Simalia have six each. 

Next, Antaresia (children's pythons) has four. Leiopython (white-lipped pythons) and Liasis (water pythons) have three each. Aspidites and Malayopython have two each. Lastly,  Bothrochilus, Apodora, and Nyctophilopython are monotypic genera.

In the following sections, we discuss in detail the distribution and distinguishing characteristics of one or more species of python snakes for each genus.

Related Read: Python Facts,

20 Types of Python Species

1. Ball Pythons (Python regius)

ball python
Photo by MusikAnimal on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Ball Python is a nonvenomous constrictor snake native to sub-Saharan Africa's savannas, grasslands, and lightly forested areas. It rolls into a tight ball when it feels threatened, hence its name.

The snake is typically 3.5 to 6 feet long with a large head compared to its slender neck. We can recognize it by its shiny and smooth skin, white belly, and mottled brown and dark brown pattern.

It is most active at dawn and dusk, hunting using heat-sensing pits on its lips to detect warm-blooded prey. The Ball Python is a solitary creature, only seeking out company during the breeding season.

Its mild temperament has made it the most famous snake pet and the second most popular exotic pet3. Sadly, this fame could lead to the excessive capture of wild snakes, causing significant damage to the species’ wild population.

2. Burmese Python (Python bivittatus)

burmese python
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Burmese Python is one of the largest snake species in the world. It is native to Southeast Asia. It has an average length of 16 feet, while corrected lengths of captive Burmese pythons reached 18 feet1.

Its body has a pattern of brown blotches outlined in black, set against a tan background, which helps it blend in with the undergrowth in its natural habitat. 

Moreover, Burmese Pythons are skilled ambush hunters, using their heat-sensing abilities to detect warm-blooded prey. It consumes small birds and larger mammals such as pigs and goats. 

After laying up to 100 eggs, the female python wraps herself around them, providing warmth and protection until they hatch.

3. African Rock Python (Python sebae)

african rock python
Photo by s9-4pr on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The African Rock Python is a large snake species native to sub-Saharan Africa, thriving in savannas, rainforests, and marshlands. 

They are known for their impressive size; on average, they can stretch up to 11 feet. However, some specimens reached almost 20 feet. Their skin features dark brown blotches on a light brown or olive backdrop, which helps them blend into their surroundings.

African Rock Pythons prey on rodents, monkeys, antelopes, and crocodiles. Their hunting technique involves constricting their prey.

4. Indian Python (Python molurus)

indian python
Photo by Karunakar Rayker on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Indian Python, also called black-tailed python or Asian rock python, is one of the largest snakes, with an average of almost 10 feet. 

These types of pythons have muscular bodies with light yellow to almost black hues and dark brown blotches. 

They inhabit various habitats, including grasslands, marshes, rocky foothills, and open forests. Indian Pythons often live near water, highlighting their excellent swimming ability.

Moreover, these nocturnal hunters use their powerful constricting abilities to catch and subdue their prey, mainly mammals and birds. Although they usually prey on small animals, they hunt larger prey such as deer or antelope.

5. Blood Python (Python brongersmai)

blood python
Photo by A. Jaszlics on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Blood Python, also known as the Red Short-tailed Python, lives in the rainforests and marshes of the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and nearby islands. It has red to burgundy skin and a muscular body designed for life on the ground. 

Despite being non-venomous, it is a skilled predator that uses ambush tactics to catch small mammals like rats, mice, and birds. 

The Blood Python prefers to live near water, which provides an ideal hunting ground and humidity level for survival. This preference for waterside living also makes them suitable for captivity, as they require a high-humidity environment. 

Sadly, their beautiful skin is highly sought after in the leather industry5, which has decreased their population in some areas.

6. Myanmar Short-tailed Python (Python kyaiktiyo)

The Myanmar Short-tailed Python is a non-venomous species inhabiting Myanmar's grasslands. No other specimens have been found since its discovery in 2003 in Kyaikhtiyo Wildlife Sanctuary. Due to the limited data for this type of python, they are considered a vulnerable species.

7. Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis)

green tree python
Photo by Michael Müller on Pexels.

The Green Tree Python is a unique species found in New Guinea, some Indonesian islands, and Australia's Cape York Peninsula. This nocturnal animal hunts and feeds at night. Its green color acts as a camouflage, helping it to avoid predators and ambush prey. 

Moreover, the Green Tree Python is oviparous, meaning it lays eggs instead of giving birth to live young. After laying a clutch of eggs, the female python wraps herself around them. It also observes an extraordinary incubation behavior that involves shivering to generate heat. 

Interestingly, the young pythons come out with a yellow or red coat upon hatching, which changes to green between six and twelve months.

The Green Tree Python helps control the population of small mammals and serves as a food source for larger predators.

8. Carpet Python (Morelia spilota)

carpet python
Photo by Amos T Fairchild on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The Carpet Python inhabits various habitats across Australia. This semi-arboreal species can adapt to different environments, with skins displaying a unique pattern of colors. 

For instance, the Jungle Carpet Python subspecies live in rainforests. Meanwhile, the unique Diamond Carpet Python has an olive body with patterns of yellow or creamy rosettes. These medium to large types of pythons have an average length of four to ten feet.

These tree pythons employ various hunting strategies, including 'caudal luring,' where they wiggle their tails to mimic prey. As constrictors, they wrap their bodies around their prey, squeezing until it can no longer breathe.

9. Central Australian Carpet Python (Morelia bredli)

Central Australian Carpet Python
Photo by Declan M. Martin on Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

The Central Australian Carpet Python is endemic to the arid landscapes of Central Australia, particularly in the Northern Territory. It is also known as Bredl's python in honor of Josef Bredl, an Australian crocodile conservationist.

These carpet pythons have a fiery rust-red exterior with bands of white or cream.  Since they are semi-arboreal species, they can thrive in rocky outcrops and woodland forests, where they feed on small mammals, birds, and, occasionally, other reptiles at night.

10. Spotted Python (Antaresia maculosa)

spotted python
Photo by Stewart Macdonald on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 (Cropped from original).

The Spotted Python inhabits Northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. It also goes by Eastern Small Blotched Python and Eastern Children’s Python. Its light skin with dark spots helps it blend into the night and has heat-sensing pits to hunt small mammals, birds, and lizards. 

These pythons are a choice for reptile lovers due to their manageable size of up to 4.6 feet and docile nature.

11. Children's Python (Antaresia childreni)

children's python
Photo by Matt on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Children's Python is a small-sized python found in various areas of Australia's diverse landscapes. It gets its name not from its suitability for children but from the British zoologist John George Children. 

Typically measuring 3 to 5 feet long, this species mainly lives in grassy plains, woodlands, rocky areas, and caves in Queensland, the Northern Territory, or Western Australia. 

Its small size helps it to evade predators by slipping into crevices and under rocks. Primarily active at night, they hunt small mammals, birds, and lizards, which they subdue using a constricting grip.

You might spot them climbing trees and shrubs, indicating their partially arboreal lifestyle.

12. Pygmy Python (Antaresia perthensis)

pygmy python
Photo by Smacdonald on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 (Cropped from original).

The Pygmy Python lives in Western Australia’s arid landscapes.  It is also called Anthill Python for spending their days in large termite mounds. As their name also suggests, it is the world's smallest python species, measuring an average of 16 to 24 inches. 

This snake has reddish-brown skin with dark blotches that perfectly camouflage it in the rocky surroundings. Females are slightly larger than males, but both share a slender physique that helps them burrow into the loose soil of their habitat. 

They are most active at night when they hunt for their prey, consisting of small mammals and rodents with occasional small reptiles. 

13. Amethystine Python (Simalia amethistina)

amethystine python
Photo by Гурьева Светлана (zooclub.ru) on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Amethystine Python is found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, growing up to 18 feet long. They typically prefer rainforest habitats but also frequent open woodlands, particularly during seasonal migration. 

Larger Amethystine Pythons exhibit less hunting activity overall and prefer daytime. Compared to the drier months, these nocturnal reptiles have hunting spikes during the wet season. 

14. Oenpelli Python (Nyctophilopython oenpelliensis or Simalia oenpelliensis)

The Oenpelli Python is a python species first discovered in the town of Oenpelli in Australia's Northern Territory. This nocturnal python is one of the least studied species globally, owing to its elusive nature and inaccessible territory.

This python was initially categorized2 into the Morelia genus, and studies over the decades put them into Simalia and a new genus, Nyctophilopython. Today, ITIS and IUCN recognized them under the Simalia genus, while the Reptile Database put them under Nyctophilopython.

Compared to other types of pythons, they are thinner in proportion to their length. Adult pythons can grow up to 13 feet in the wild and 16 feet in captivity.

They have dark brown to black scales on their backs and a cream-colored belly that provides excellent camouflage in their natural habitat. 

Unfortunately, Onepelli Pythons are vulnerable species due to limited areas of occupancy, fires, low prey availability, and trade pressures.

15. Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus)

reticulated python
Photo by shankar s. on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Reticulated Python holds the record for being the longest snake species on the planet, with some individuals reaching up to 21.3 feet in length.

Its skin features patterns reminiscent of a net or 'reticulum,' hence its name. This pattern gives it camouflage in its native South and Southeast Asian habitats.  They inhabit rainforests, woodlands, and even water bodies. 

Aside from their swimming skills, Reticulated Pythons are stealthy hunters and prey on mammals, birds, and other reptiles. While they usually prey on small to medium-sized mammals, larger pythons also hunt pigs and primates. 

16. Northern White-lipped Python (Leiopython albertisii)

Northern White-lipped Python
Photo by Tylwyth Eldar on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Northern White-Lipped Python, also named D'Albertis Python, is a long creature with adult females reaching 7 ft. With a spectrum of skin from brownish-violet or blackish-blue to yellow or grey, it sports light markings. 

Its diet encompasses birds, mammals, and even lizards among the young. Armed with heat-sensitive pits, it navigates nocturnal hunts skilfully.

17. Water Python (Liasis fuscus)

water python
Photo by Max Tibby on Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

The Water Python, primarily found in Australia, thrives particularly on the Adelaide River floodplains in the Northern Territory. Adult pythons, boasting an average length of 6-8 feet, display a long head equipped with thermosensitive pits. 

They are cloaked in a uniform dark brown color, shining with an iridescent quality. Below, their belly presents shades ranging from muted to vibrant yellow, complemented by a cream-colored throat. 

Intriguingly, despite their name, Water Pythons often venture far from aquatic surroundings. These creatures favor nocturnal activity, taking refuge during the day in hollow logs, riverbank dens, and amid vegetation. Their instinct is to dart towards any nearby water if caught off guard.

18. Black-headed Python (Aspidites melanocephalus)

black-headed python
Photo by djambalawa on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The Black-headed python is native to the northern half of Australia, typically growing up to 6.6 feet in length. You'll find this snake dwelling among rocks and loose debris, excluding arid regions.

This terrestrial creature has a muscular body with a flattened profile and tapering tail. Its shiny, black head - a feature that extends several inches down its throat - contrasts with the earthy tones of its banded or brindled-toned body.

19. Bismarck Ringed Python (Bothrochilus boa)

bismark-ringed python
Photo by Glenbrooks on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Bismarck-ringed python inhabits the Bismarck Archipelago and is often seen in rainforests and piles of coconut husks. Adult snakes reach lengths of up to 6 feet. 

During its juvenile years, it is characterized by brilliant orange and black rings. However, as the snake matures, that vibrant color fades to a more subdued brown with black rings or a uniform blackish-brown tone with a light spot behind its eye.

Primarily feeding on small rodents, the Bismarck-ringed python is an active forager. They also venture into human settlements and agricultural domains to hunt prey.

20. Papuan Olive Python (Apodora papuana)

The Papuan Olive Python, or simply Papuan Python, inhabits the forests of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. This python is one of the world's largest, able to grow up to 13 feet in length. 

Typically, these snakes display colors ranging from black to mustard yellow. They initially present a youthful olive green, darkening to a mature olive with age. Notably, their sides and undersides are distinctly lighter.


Barker, D. G., Barten, S. L., Ehrsam, J. P., & Daddono, L. (2012). The corrected lengths of two well-known giant pythons and the establishment of a new maximum length record for Burmese pythons, Python bivittatus. Bull Chicago Herp Soc, 47(1), 1-6.


Reynolds, R. G., Niemiller, M. L., & Revell, L. J. (2014). Toward a Tree-of-Life for the boas and pythons: Multilocus species-level phylogeny with unprecedented taxon sampling. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 71, 201–213.


Valdez, J. W. (2021). Using Google Trends to determine current, past, and future trends in the reptile pet trade. Animals, 11(3), 676.


 Uetz, P., Freed, P, Aguilar, R., Reyes, F., Kudera, J. & Hošek, J. (eds.) (2023) The Reptile Database.


Grismer, L. & Chan-Ard, T. (2012). Python brongersmai. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T192169A2050353. 

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

Photo by ZhiYeNature on Pixabay.
Pin Me:
Pin Image Portrait 20 Types of Pythons: Species, Facts and Photos
Sign Up for Updates