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Can Pythons Swim?

Not all pythons can swim, but most pythons are excellent swimmers. While pythons are not known to be underwater snakes, many of them can stay underwater to ambush prey if needed.

can pythons swim

Some pythons are arboreal. What this means is that they live on land and would not venture to bodies of water. Arboreal pythons hang on tree branches. However, it is not unusual to see some pythons lying partially submerged in water, with their head sticking out to wait for prey.

What Kinds of Pythons Can Swim?

The best swimmer in the python family is the Burmese python. While other pythons can swim, they are rarely seen to hunt food in bodies of water.

Ball pythons are also adequate swimmers, but they are not as good as the Burmese python. In the wild, ball pythons live in woodlands and grasslands. As such, they did not really evolve to become good swimmers.

There are more than 40 species of pythons. The most popular are those that are often seen in TV shows and movies because they are dangerous. One can find the biggest snakes in the world in the python family.

Pythons are mostly found in hot areas like sub-Saharan Africa, the Philippines, and Australia. However, many of these pythons found their way to the United States due to illegal pet smuggling activities.

They are great swimmers, but they do not live in the water. If anything, they live close to water sources. Some pythons would hunt underwater, too.

Related: Do Snakes Swim Backwards?

Do Water Pythons Live Underwater?

There is a type of python called the water python. Despite its name, it lives far from the water most of the year. It is a kind of python that was discovered in Australia and Papua New Guinea. Like other pythons, it is non-venomous.

The water python is not a known swimmer; it hunts at night and lives inside hollow logs in the day. They also live near riverbanks and in areas where there is abundant vegetation. If surprised, most of them will flee in the water to hide, and thus the name.

Can Pythons Swim in the Ocean?

Yes, pyhons can swim in the ocean. There are new studies proving that Burmese pythons enjoy salt water as much as freshwater. In this study, scientists tracked 19 Burmese pythons.

What they did was to locate the snakes in the Everglades, a wetland in Florida. They used radio and GPS signals to locate the snakes. The aim of the study was to determine where these invasive species prefer to live.

What they found out was that these pythons have no preference for a habitat. They lived everywhere. Most of them thrived in the freshwater of the Everglades in the marshes. However, scientists were surprised that some of them found a home in saltwater mangroves

There is no known record of a python going to the ocean, but there are many species of snakes that live in the sea. There is, however, a record of a Burmese python swimming in the Biscayne Bay in Florida.

Biscayne Bay is not an ocean. It is a lagoon, a shallow estuary. It is a place where freshwater meets saltwater. The bay is a nursery for marine nursery life. There are many fishes here, including crabs and other crustaceans.

From here, one can deduce that the Burmese python is adaptable to its environment. The researchers concluded that these pythons could live in both freshwater and saltwater and still be fine.

Today, Florida is dealing with python infestation. Many species of animals in the reserve are diminishing, such as bobcats, rabbits, and even foxes.

How far Can Pythons Swim?

There is no scientific study that can answer this question. The Everglades is a 1.5million-acre wetland. Pythons have dominated this area already. They are an invasive species.

Scientists know that these pythons typically cover 3 miles by 3 miles of area. They have a preference for areas that have trees. Despite this coverage of territory, one cannot say with accuracy that a python can travel three miles underwater.

Pythons can only hold their breath underwater for 30 minutes. On land, they can travel up to one mile per hour. This speed on land cannot be used to measure how fast they swim.

Since they can only stay in water for 30 minutes, one can deduce that they do not travel that far at a single time. Although pythons can swim, there is no evidence or study as to how fast they can be.

Depending on the situation and availability of prey, a python can wander around for days. Like their animals, it would have to take breaks from swimming. After all, swimming requires more energy than gliding on land.

Can Pythons Drown?

Yes, pythons can drown. Snakes do not have gills. What this means is that they cannot convert water into oxygen. As such, they can drown if underwater for too long.

Fish, on the other hand, can process water and take the oxygen from it.

What pythons and water snakes do is gasp for air if they need to. Anacondas, on the other hand, can hold their breath for as short as 10 minutes only. There are species of snakes that can stay underwater for two hours.

Sea snakes are different from pythons. Sea snakes have evolved to live underwater for hours. However, they can still drown.

There is no record of any python drowning. The reason being is that they can bring themselves on top of the body of water and swim from the surface. They can do this with their heads sticking out of the water, making it easy to breathe.

Pythons will only dive deep if they are trying to hide and run from a predator. Some species will dive to swim closer to their target prey.



Many snakes are good swimmers, including pythons. The best swimmer in the python family is the Burmese python. It can stay underwater for 30 minutes. No one knows how fast they swim or how far.

It was widely believed that pythons only thrive in freshwater. However, studies of pythons in Florida prove otherwise. Pythons can relatively swim in salt water too. However, saltwater is not their preferred habitat.