By j. Michael Miller
Maligned by politics and hysteria, as well as television and film, the Python is an extremely intelligent and passive animal that makes a great pet, providing you feed and care for it properly. Although Pythons are reputed to be one of the largest snakes at full growth, which can be as much as 20 feet in length, and exceed 200 pounds in weight; this potential is exaggerated as something that is common and to be expected, when it fact it is not. Such lengths are rare, unless a deliberate attempt to create a large Python was made through overfeeding; and this is almost always done in captivity.
In the wild, less than a few percent have the luxury of a prey rich environment that is free of predators that kill the Python long before it reaches such size. Many animals, especially cold blooded, can be overfed and as a result overgrown. The real "average" size for the Burmese Python ranges between eight and twelve feet, depending on a variety of issues in its housing and care. The larger examples beyond this are less than 10% category.