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Being shy, elusive and spending most of its time underground (3) (8), many aspects of the biology of the African burrowing python are not well known (3). It is believed to be mainly nocturnal, although it has also been found foraging during the day (3) (5). The African burrowing python's small mouth is not suited to large prey (3), and it is believed to feed mainly on nestlings of small mammals such as mice, which it usually takes from the nest and kills by squashing against the walls of the burrow or by constriction, potentially taking up to four or more at once. The African burrowing python is famous for its defensive behaviour; when threatened, it rolls into a ball with the head protected in the centre of the coils. Alternatively, the tail may be lifted and moved about so that it closely resembles the head, distracting predators away from attacking the python's real head (2) (3) (5). Female African burrowing pythons typically lay between one and five large, unusually elongated eggs at the end of the dry season (2) (3) (6). Unusually for a python (7), the mother does not appear to coil herself around the eggs during incubation (3). The hatchlings grow relatively fast, and in captivity can reach breeding age at around three years old, possibly living for over 20 years (3).


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Source: ARKive

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