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Python Found in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

03 July 2007

by Nardus du Plessis

A very scarce reptile was recently found near the Auob riverbed in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park just north of the Munro waterhole. The snake, a python, was located on a calcrete ridge in view of the road where it was clearly visible in the morning sun.

It was approximately three meters in length and appeared to be very lazy, as indicated by its Afrikaans name, luislang. The snake did not appreciate the unexpected attention and swung around with it’s mouth wide open and aiming straight at the field ranger who approached it. The snake covered about three meters in seconds in its attempt to reach the field ranger.

After all the action the snake curled itself up and returned to a peaceful and lazy posture. The only other python sighting in the park in the recent past was in 1995, when another python crawled up underneath the vehicle of a tourist.

In Bill Branch’s reptile book “Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa”, the python is said to occur mainly in the Low Veld, Kwazulu Natal and the Northern parts of Namibia. There have also been isolated sightings of pythons in and around the Kgalagadi area, such as those found in Soutputs near the Welkom settlement.

It is exceptionally rare to find that a python has survived and reached a length of three meters in the open Kalahari habitat where so many predators and predatory bird species occur.

Any new information on sightings of this rare and beautiful creature inside the park would be highly appreciated and valuable.