Step into the Memphis Zoo with our friend Liz Harrell and learn a little about Elmo, the giant Burmese Python!
Elmo the Burmese Python is currently the largest snake residing at the Memphis Zoo, and he is certainly a fan-favorite. Burmese Pythons are one of the largest snakes in the world and can reach lengths of up to 23 feet and weights of nearly 200 pounds. Elmo isn’t quite that big — he weighs in at right around 100 pounds and is just under 16 feet long. Still, because of his size it usually takes three keepers to pick him up and transport him!
More on Burmese Pythons
Burmese Pythons are from an area in Southeast Asia called Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. These snakes aren’t poisonous, so that means they are constrictors. They will wait to ambush their prey, then squeeze it to death before they eat it. Because they are such big snakes, they can also eat some pretty big animals in comparison to their size. According to our friend Liz the Animal Interpreter at the Memphis Zoo, a Burmese Python could easily eat prey the size of small deer, weighing up to sizes of 80 to 100 pounds. While they can eat animals of this size, they will mostly eat smaller mammals like rodents, rats, etc.
Because they eat prey much larger than their mouths, their jaws are multi-hinged. Think of your elbow: You can move it both horizontally and vertically. A Burmese Python can do the same thing with its jaw to get its mouth around its food and push it further into its belly. They also have these tiny little “spurs” that help move themselves forward while they’re eating. As Liz mentions in the video above, it’s very difficult to eat when you don’t have any arms!
For more information on Elmo, visit the Memphis Zoo’s website by clicking here!