Last week, a huge Burmese python was rescued and released into a forest in Assam in India. The python, which is one of the largest snakes ever found in India, was captured and bagged by an animal rescuer as a crowd of spectators watched. After being captured, the snake was released in the nearby Swang Reserve Forest.
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Questions 1 - 4
Decide if the statements are True, False or Not Given
1) The Burmese python only lives in Southeast Asia.
2) Burmese pythons prefer to be awake during the night time.
3) They are able to swim long distances.
4) The pythons eat jungle vegetation, such as leaves and grass.
Questions 5 - 8
Complete the sentences with NO MORE than TWO WORDS from the text.
5) Pythons like to live alone as they are ___________ creatures.
6) For some upland pythons. the _____________ of their living environment has resulted in a reduction in their numbers.
7) The widespread proliferation of pythons in South Florida has resulted in the snakes being categorised as an ___________.
8) In 2012, the US Government banned the ______________ of pythons.
The Burmese python is one of the five largest snake species in the world. Until 2009, it was considered to be a subspecies of the Indian python, but is now recognised as a separate species. It is native to a large area of Southeast Asia but is found as an invasive species elsewhere.
Burmese pythons are mainly nocturnal and when young, they are equally at home on the ground and in trees. As they gain girth, they tend to restrict most of their movements to the ground and adult pythons spend the majority of their time hidden in the underbrush. They are also excellent swimmers, being able to stay submerged for up to half an hour. They typically live near a permanent source of water, such as marshes, swamps, woodlands, river valleys, and jungles with open clearings.
According to the Animal Diversity Organisation, the Burmese python is typically thought to range from Myanmar eastward across southern Asia through China and Indonesia. It can grow to lengths of about 25 feet and weigh as much as about 137 kilograms. Like all snakes, the Burmese python is carnivorous. The snake uses its sharp, rearward-pointing teeth to seize its prey, then wraps its body around the prey, at the same time contracting its muscles, killing the prey by constriction. It is often found near human habitation due to the presence of rats, mice, and other vermin as a food source.
They tend to be a solitary species and are usually found in pairs only when mating. There are a small number of natural predators of the Burmese python, like the tiger and the king cobra. The IUCN has recently listed the Burmese python as "vulnerable", reflecting its overall population decline. Important reasons for the decline are trade for skins and for food, while habitat degradation is a problem in some upland areas.
Python invasion has been particularly extensive, notably across South Florida, where Burmese pythons are now classified as an invasive species. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was deemed responsible for the destruction of a large python-breeding facility and zoo, and these escaped snakes spread and populated areas into the Everglades. Also, between 1996 and 2006, the Burmese python gained popularity in the pet trade, with nearly 100,000 snakes imported into the U.S. The importation of Burmese pythons was prohibited in the United States in January 2012.
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