Are pythons poisonous? (3 types of non-poisonous snakes)

In this blog post, we will answer the following questions: Are pythons poisonous? Are they good pets? How to differentiate a non-venomous snake from a venomous one? What types of non-poisonous snakes exist? Keep reading to find interesting things about non-venomous snakes.

Are pythons poisonous?

Pythons are not poisonous but they can bite if they feel in danger. They are well known for the large size of some species. As a result of their size and attractive branding, many pythons are in danger and of significant concern. They are also considered to be one of the most primitive families of snakes, keeping residual elements such as the hips and hind limbs. They can exhibit maternal care, something that is very rare in snake families.

Since they kill their prey by constriction, there is no need for them to possess venom. They do not have fangs, but they do have several small teeth that they use to grab their prey. So if you’ve ever been bitten by a ball python, it won’t do you any harm. You would bleed, but the bite wouldn’t hurt much.

Are pythons good pets?

Pythons are good pets if you are looking into getting a snake pet. Anyone will find the python to be a docile and passive pet. Along with garter snakes and corn snakes, they are the least dangerous that are commercially available.

A Ball Python, especially one born and raised in captivity, is usually a well-behaved pet. These snakes are not aggressive, and as members of the constrictor family, they are not programmed to bite.

Captive-bred pythons typically do not view humans as a threat and tolerate handling very well. 

As long as you hold them properly (keeping them one-third and two-thirds the length of their body), they’ll be very happy to be in your arms. Ball pythons are good-natured and do not usually hiss or show signs of aggression towards their keepers. If anything, they are a bit shy.

How do you know if a snake is poisonous?

Many types of snakes exist, some with venom and others without. 

Non-poisonous snakes swallow their prey alive. Therefore, they specialize in hunting small animals, such as mice or insects. Other snakes can attack larger prey. To do this, they inoculate a poison that immobilizes or kills them. If they feel attacked, they can also use this poison to defend themselves against humans. But how do you know if a snake is poisonous?

The reality is that there is no method to know if a snake is poisonous, although there are certain characteristics that can give us a clue:

  • Habits: Venomous snakes tend to be nocturnal, while non-venomous snakes tend to be diurnal.
  • Fangs: Venomous snakes have hollow or furrowed fangs on the front of the jaw. Its function is the injection of the poison. Non-venomous snakes, however, usually do not have fangs.
  • Head shape: Venomous snakes often have a triangular head due to the greater mobility of their skull. Snakes without venom, meanwhile, tend to have it more rounded.
  • Pupils: Non-venomous snakes have round pupils. This part of the eye, however, is usually elliptical in venomous snakes.
  • Thermoreceptive pits and neck: Vipers, a very common family among poisonous snakes, have a fossa between the eyes and the nose that allows them to detect the heat of their prey. Besides, its neck is narrower than the rest of the body.

In many cases, these rules are not followed. Therefore, we should never focus only on these characteristics. The best way to know if a snake is poisonous or not is to know in detail the different species.

Types of non-poisonous snakes

More than 3000 species of snakes are known around the world. Only 15% are poisonous, so as you can imagine, there are many types of non-poisonous snakes. 

Many people are looking for non-poisonous snakes to have at home, however, it is important to note that these animals require a lot of care and a fully enabled space. 

Therefore, it is not recommended to live with a snake, even if it is not poisonous, without knowing how to do so. Above all, we must bear in mind the welfare of the animal and the people who live in the home.

Snakes of the Colubridae family

Colloquially, all non-poisonous snakes are often called a snake. However, in biology, we call snakes in the Colubridae family snakes.

Snakes are characterized by the arrangement of their scales, their circular pupils, and relatively small size. They often have olive or brown tones that help them camouflage themselves. Most are diurnal, nonpoisonous, and fanged. Of course, there are many exceptions to all of these features.

The mountain whip snake 

In South America and Central America, the Chironius is very abundant. The best known is the mountain whip snake (Chironius monticola), distributed throughout the Andes mountain range, and is part of the non-poisonous snake species. It is a very aggressive but harmless tree snake.

The snakes of the species Apostolepis are also typical of South America. They stand out for the intense red colouration of their body, which contrasts with the black and white bands on their head. The tip of its tail is also black, giving it an unusual appearance among non-venomous snakes.

Another red snake is the well-known false coral (Lampropeltis triangulum). Its red body is covered by black and white bands along its entire length. This colouration closely resembles that of coral snakes, which are poisonous and belong to the Elapidae family.

Snakes of the Boidae family

Boas are a group of species belonging to the Boidae family. Contrary to what many people think, these are non-poisonous snakes. Venom is not necessary for them as they kill their prey by strangulation. Their large size and strength allow them to compress their victims until they die from suffocation.

The ability to kill prey by strangulation allows boas to feed on very large animals. Many are even specialized in hunting large mammals such as deer or leopards.

The most prominent species within this family is the Boa constrictor, a snake present in almost the entire American continent and that is part of the list of largest snakes in the world. It can measure up to four meters and its colouration is brown, green, red or yellow, depending on the habitat in which they camouflage themselves.

Snakes of the Lamprophiidae family

The Lamprophiidae family comprises a large number of non-venomous snake species, many of them belonging to the African continent or endemic to Madagascar. However, there is a species with a great presence in Southern Europe and Africa. It is the bastard snake (Malpolon monspessulanus).

Although this snake kills its prey thanks to the action of the poison, it is not dangerous for humans and, therefore, it is not considered poisonous. However, this snake can get very large and when threatened it is quite aggressive. If disturbed, it stands up like a cobra and hisses. Therefore, it is a species highly persecuted by human beings.

Conclusions

In this blog post, we answered the following questions: Are pythons poisonous? Are they good pets? How to differentiate a non-venomous snake from a venomous one? What types of non-poisonous snakes exist?

Now you know that not only pythons are not poisonous, but they are also considered great to have as pets by many snake lovers. Captive-bred pythons typically do not view humans as a threat and tolerate handling very well.  As long as you hold them properly (keeping them one-third and two-thirds the length of their body), they’ll be very happy to be in your arms.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Are pythons poisonous?

Is a python poisonous?

No, pythons are not poisonous. They kill by constriction, so there is no need for venom. Pythons are not aggressive by nature, but you should not underestimate them and treat them with care. 

Do Pythons kill their owners?

It happens very rarely that pythons kill their owners, but yes, it can happen. That is if you are not careful while feeding them and your hands or clothes smell like their food.

What temperature will kill a ball python?

A temperature that exceeded 33-34 Celsius degrees is too hot for your Ball Python. he terrarium should always have a daytime temperature between 26º C (in the cold part) and 32º C (in the hot part). 

Are Stimson Pythons good pets?

Stimson Pythons are good pets for beginners. They are amongst the easiest pythons to keep. However, this doesn’t mean that you can neglect them or overlook the facts that they are still wild animals and predators. 

Are Stimson Pythons dangerous?

Stimson Pythons are as dangerous as any other non-venomous snake. Its bite hurts and it can represent a danger for anyone who doesn’t know how to behave around them. 

References

Reptifiles.com – Ball Python Handling Tips

Reptiles Magazine – Stimson’s Python Care And Breeding Information

Pet City Australia – Keeping pet snakes

Hi, I am Martin, I am a pet lover! I own a Golden retriever and a Long-eared Owl. They keep me company & I often had questions about them which I couldn't find answers for online. I put this hub together for people like me & you.

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