Last updated on July 22, 2022 by

English Documentary on Pythons with Transcript & Flashcards

English Documentary on Pythons with Transcript & Flashcards to improve your listening and reading skills and enrich your vocabulary

Source of documentary: National Geographic YouTube Channel

Source of image:

Listening comprehension

Reading comprehension

Formidable snakes

Almost no other predator on the planet inspires as much terror and curiosity as the python. One of the world’s longest snakes is a python.

Length as a weapon

The reticulated python of Southeast Asia usually grows around 16 feet long. However, the current record holder for the longest reticulated python measured at 25 feet. Pythons’ long bodies help the reptiles kill by way of constriction. They wrap their bodies around prey and every time the prey exhales, the python squeezes more tightly. This disrupts the prey’s respiration and blood flow, inevitably leading to its death.

Legged snakes

Pythons have legs. Called spurs, these two limbs appear as small bumps on the sides of a python’s pelvis. While too small for locomotive function, the spurs and pelvis are remnants of pythons’ evolution from lizards. This evolution occurred around 100 million years ago.

One possible early ancestor of pythons, called the Tetrapodophis, was a fusion of lizard and snake-like features and had hind legs. Interestingly, scientists found that pythons had retained the genetic mutation for growing limbs. This means pythons may be capable of having fully functional legs once again.

Python’s jaws

Pythons do not unhinge their jaws when they eat. Contrary to popular belief, pythons cannon unhinge their jaws. Rather, their jaws rest on a multi-hinged joint that provides for incredible flexibility and enables the snakes to devour large prey. Flexibility is also aided by pythons’ lower right and left jawbones.

Unlike mammals which have one solid lower jawbone, pythons’ lower jaws are made of two bones linked by an elastic ligament. This allows the bones to stretch more widely to help swallow prey at least two to three times wider than the snake’s head.

Python’s skull

Pythons’ skulls can walk over prey. Pythons have six rows of teeth in their skulls; two in their lower jaws, two in their upper jaws, and two more in the roof of their mouth. Through a phenomenon called cranial kinesis or pterygoid walk, each of these rows can be moved independently, which allows snakes to drag prey into their throats without the use of front limbs. Python teeth also help this process. They’re extremely sharp and curve backwards, perfect for catching and clinging onto prey.

Invasive predators

Some pythons have become invasive species. While natives to the tropics of Africa, Asia, and Australia, several python species have been transported to the United States by way of pet trafficking. Florida’s Everglade National Park is home to tens of thousands of invasive Burmese pythons.

Poor care, neglect, and accidents have caused many pythons, originally taken in as pets, to kill native wildlife, other pets, and even children. But when left alone in their natural habitat, pythons are generally docile.

Awe-inspiring creatures

Pythons are some of nature’s most incredible predators. Their long bodies, constricting capabilities, and skulls optimized for devouring large prey are enough to strike fear and awe in anyone’s heart.

About Dr. Mohammad Hossein Hariri Asl

Dr. Mohammad Hossein Hariri Asl is an English and Persian instructor, researcher, inventor, author, blogger, SEO expert, website developer, and the creator of LELB Society. He's got a PhD in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Study our guest posting guidelines for authors.

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