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Any of 28 species (family Pythonidae, sometimes a subfamily of Boidae) of sluggish, docile, nonvenomous snakes found in tropical and temperate regions. Except for one Central American species (Loxocemus bicolor), pythons are found from western Africa to China, Australia, and the Pacific islands. Pythons feed on birds and mammals, killing them by constriction. Most are found near water; some are arboreal. Unlike boas, pythons lay eggs (15–100, depending on body size). The Asian reticulated python (Python reticulatus) may be the world's longest snake (the anaconda is heavier); specimens over 30 ft (9 m) long have been recorded.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on python, visit Britannica.com.