African Rock Python

Topics: Pythonidae, Python sebae, Python Pages: 5 (1814 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Zoology
African Rock Python
The African rock python. It is Domain: Eukarya. Domain is the highest taxonomic rank of organisms, higher than a kingdom. The African rock python falls under Eukarya because it is a multicellular organism composed of eukaryotic cells. It is Kingdom: Anamalia. Kingdom is the second highest rank. It falls under Anamalia for obvious reasons. It is Phylum: Chordata. Phylum is the primary division of the plant or animal kingdom. It is Class: Reptilia. Class is a group of related plants or animals, in the general classification of plants and animals. The African rock python falls under Reptilia because it has a characteristic of being cold-blooded. It is Order: Squamata. Order is a taxonomic rank used in classifying organisms, generally below the class, and comprised of families sharing a set of similar nature or characteristics. The African rock python shed their skin periodically and have very flexible jaws, which are characteristics of Squamata. It is Family: Pythonidae. Organisms belonging to the same family would have evolved from the same ancestors and share relatively common characteristics. The Pythonidae family is a family of non-venomous snakes who are powerful constrictors that wrap around their prey to kill it. This family includes the African rock python. It’s Genus: Python. In binomial nomenclature, the genus is used as the first word of a scientific name. It’s Species: Python sebae. Species is the second part of the name is the binomial nomenclature. The name Python Sebae was derived from the Greek mythology, which refers to a huge serpent. The largest snake in Africa and the third largest snake in the world, the African rock python, have long bulky bodies. Snakes are considered vertebrates because they have a backbone, a closed circulatory system, where the heart and blood vessels are continuously contracting. The blood never leaves the blood vessels. The outer layer of the epidermis is thick and lacks glands. It is characterized by keratin scales. Ranging anywhere from an average size of 18 to 20 feet long, but can grow up to 28 feet long! The females are larger than the males and can weigh almost 300lbs. However the size may vary according to their natural habitat. It is amazing to note that in areas where there is a higher population, the size of the African rock python has been smaller in size, as compared to areas where human habitat is less; the African Rock Python snake is much bigger in size. African Rock Pythons are often tan with brown spots that have black outlines. This helps them camouflage in the environment, and gives them an advantage to hunt their prey or hide from potential predators. This is considered cryptic camouflage. A V-shape noticeably marks the face. This python is non-venomous, and has teeth curved inward to help pull in prey when eating. Like all pythons, the scales of the African rock python are small and smooth, and those nearby the lips control heat-sensitive pits, which are used to distinguish warm-blooded prey, even in the dark. Pythons also possess two functioning lungs, unlike more “advanced” snakes which have only one, and also have small, visible pelvic spurs, believed to be the remnants of hind limbs. It is said that snakes are evolved from lizards that burrowed in tunnels or in water, and the use of hind legs made it harder for them to burrow. Over time there legs started to grow shorter and eventually becoming useless, leaving behind what is now known as there spurs, located right before the anus. The rate of this evolution occurred at a slow constant pace over millions of years. This evidence of evolution would be considered phylogeny, the evolutionary relationship among species. African rock pythons reside in sub-Saharan Africa, but prefer evergreen forests or moist, open savannahs. You will always most likely find an African rock python associated with water and often are found near rivers and lakes. The African rock python has recently...
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