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Royal python, Africa, up to 120 cm (3.9 ft) Pythons are large snakes with heat-sensitive organs on their heads that help them to find prey. Most pythons are ambush predators: they lie in wait, hidden by their camouflage colouring, before striking suddenly at passing prey. To kill their prey, pythons coil their muscular bodies around the animal until it can no longer breathe. This is called constriction. The prey is then swallowed whole; it may take several days or even weeks to digest. Pythons live in Africa (south of the Sahara) and South and Southeast Asia. The reticulated python, which grows up to 10 metres (33 feet) long, is the longest snake in the world.

Indian python, South Asia, up to 3 m (10 ft) long, constricting its preyGreen tree python, New Guinea and Australia, 1.8 m (6 ft) long

Tree climbers

Because of their many bones, strong muscles and flexible joints, pythons are able to climb trees, despite having no limbs. They grip the tree trunk or branch with their neck or tail then pull the rest of their body up or down.

While they incubate their eggs, female pythons do not eat. They leave their nests only to raise their body temperature by basking in the sun.

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