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Etymology: The family name comes from the genus Python, which was the name of a giant snake killed in Greek mythology by Apollo.1
Notes: Formerly included as a subfamily (Pythoninae) within Boidae, Pythonidae is now recognised as its own distinct family.

All members of this family are non-venomous, killing their prey by constriction. This suffocates the prey item, and possibly also causes circulatory failure. Constriction is thought to be a primitive behaviour and is exhibited by a number of other snake families.2

In Australia, pythons can be distinguished from other land snakes by the higher count of midbody scale rows (more than about 30 versus fewer than about 25).
Statistics: Reproductive modes:
Oviparous - 14 out of 14 Australian species

Size range:
Smallest Australian species: pygmy python (Antaresia perthensis) at 40 cm
Longest Australian species: olive python (Liasis olivaceus) at up to 650 cm
Number of Australian genera: 5
Number of Australian species: 14
Genus name Australian species
Antaresia 4
Aspidites 2
Liasis 2
Morelia 4
Simalia 2
5 14
  1. Storr, G. M.; Smith, L. A.; & Johnstone, R. E. (2002). Snakes of Western Australia. Western Australian Museum. 309 - search web for this book
  2. Greene, H. W. & Burghardt, G. M. (1978). Behavior and phylogeny: constriction in ancient and modern snakes. Science, 200(4337):74-77.
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