Most members of this family are ambush predators, in that they typically remain motionless in a camouflaged position and then strike suddenly at passing prey. They will generally not attack humans unless startled or provoked, although females protecting their eggs can be aggressive. Reports of attacks on human beings were once more common in South and South-east Asia, but are now quite rare.
Python is a common name for Nonpoisonous snakes of boa and python family. Pythons are large and muscular, and kill their prey by squeezing, or constricting, until it suffocates. Although most feed on small mammals, some large species can kill and swallow small pigs and goats. Rarely have they killed humans.
Pythons range from 1 to 10 m (3 to 33 ft) long and weigh up to 140 kg (300 lb). The female lays 15 to 100 eggs, and broods them until they hatch.
They are found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific islands.
The reticulated python of Southeast Asia is among the largest snakes, reaching a length of 10 m (33 ft). Other well-known pythons are the Indian python, a favorite of snake handlers; African rock python; ball or royal python of equatorial Africa, which curls into a ball and can be rolled on the ground.
Diamond snake or Carpet snake, also diamond python, common name for a large constricting snake found in Australia and New Guinea. It is named for diamond-shaped markings of yellow and black on the back and abdomen.
Prey is killed by a process known as constriction; after an animal has been grasped to restrain it, a number of coils are hastily wrapped around it. Then, by applying and maintaining sufficient pressure to prevent it from inhaling, the prey eventually succumbs due to asphyxiation. It has recently been suggested that the pressures produced during constriction cause cardiac arrest by interfering with blood flow, but this hypothesis has not yet been confirmed.
Larger specimens usually eat animals about the size of a house cat, but larger food items are known: some large Asian species have been known to take down adult deer, and the African rock python, Python sebae, has been known to eat antelope. Prey is swallowed whole, and may take anywhere from several days or even weeks to fully digest.
Contrary to popular belief, even the larger species, such as the reticulated python, P. reticulatus, do not crush their prey to death; in fact, prey is not even noticeably deformed before it is swallowed. The speed with which the coils are applied is impressive and the force they exert may be significant, but death is caused by suffocation, with the victim not being able to move its ribs to breathe while it is being constricted