Scientific Name: Liasis olivaceus
Lyn Francis, North Arm Cove
Olive pythons are non-venomous and harmless to humans. Unfortunately they are sometimes mistaken for the highly venomous king brown snake and needlessly killed.
The beautiful smooth skinned olive python is a uniform light to dark olive-brown to red-brown, with a white or cream underbelly. Growing to almost 4 metres, this robust python is Australia’s second largest snake species. There is also an olive python sub species – the Pilbara olive python – that is found only in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Its scale configuration is slightly different and the snakes grow slightly larger, with snakes up to 6.5 metres long being reported.
Olive pythons are found across northern Australia, from Western Australia to Queensland. They are found in mountain ranges and savannah woodlands and favour rocky gorges and watercourses. They are mainly nocturnal and during the day will shelter in rock crevices and hollows. They are great swimmers and will hunt in watercourses.
Mammals – as large as rock wallabies – birds, reptiles and frogs. As well as catching prey in the water, they have been known to wait in ambush on mammal pads. Once they’ve caught prey they kill it by wrapping their coils around it and so that the animal suffocates because it can no longer draw in air.
Mating occurs from May to mid-July, with females laying 12-40 eggs in late spring. These are incubated for 50 days before hatchlings about 35 centimetres long emerge.