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Water python

water python (Liasis fuscus)
Fogg Dam, Northern Territory
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
Liasis fuscus - Peters, 1873
Pronunciation  lee-AH-sis   FUSS-kus
Etymology  Liasis: possibly from 'lias', a type of blue limestone. Possibly just a made-up name.1 Possibly derived from a fossil region, The Lias, in Dorset, UK.
fuscus: 'dusky'.
Other names  Yellow-bellied python
Liasis mackloti
Nardoa crassa
Total length
Species avg: 250 cm
Species max: 300 cm
Clutch size
Average: 10
Range: 10 - 19
Length and clutch size information comes from a variety of sources, but primarily from Shine (1991) and Cogger (2000).
Description Distribution Natural history Conservation Further information More photos


Large snake.
Heat pits in lower labial scales are present, but absent from rostral scales.

Similar species

Olive python (Liasis olivaceus) - lacks a yellow belly and lacks an obvious iridescent sheen.

Taxonomic notes

The taxonomy of the Australasian water pythons is not clear. The name Liasis fuscus has been used to refer to the Australian population, separate from the New Guinea/Indonesia Liasis mackloti. Barker and Barker (2004) recognised the Australian-endemic Liasis fuscus, but Kluge (1993) took a conservative approach and recognised only the widely distributed Liasis mackloti.2

Rawlings et al. (2004) recognised two genetic groupings of water pythons: an 'eastern' clade (which could take the Liasis fuscus name, as the type specimen comes from Port Clinton on Queensland's east coast) comprising Queensland and New Guinea specimens, and a 'western' clade (which could take the Liasis mackloti name, as the type specimen comes from Timor) comprising Northern Territory and Indonesian (and presumably Western Australian) specimens. The authors did not make any taxonomic changes, but suggested their work could be used to focus further investigation.2

Hoser proposed that the water python be split from the olive python into a new genus, Katrinus. Hoser's reason for this appeared to be that water pythons have fewer midbody scale rows than do olive pythons. Hoser's proposal has not been widely accepted.1

Scale count information

Dorsal scales at midbody   40 to 55
Ventrals   270 to 300 with a single anal scale
Subcaudals   60 to 80 and are divided
Other scale information  
Danger rating   Non-venomous. Not considered dangerous, but can still bite.
Note: even a bite from a 'virtually harmless' or non-venomous reptile can result in serious complications. Play it safe and don't get bitten by anything.
Notes and disclaimer
This information may not be complete. While all care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information in this page, primary sources should always be consulted for definitive information. Animals have an endearing habit of disobeying the rules, so the information on this page should be interpreted with a degree of flexibility.
The author and site operator accepts no responsibility for any losses or damages incurred through using this web site or the information contained herein. Don't get bitten by anything!
This page may be cited as:
  Liasis fuscus at the Australian Reptile Online Database. Last updated 2017-04-13 14:41:53.
  Retrieved from on the 24th of October, 2021.
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Copyright notice
This page, its content and layout are copyright © 2007-2021 Stewart Macdonald / Ug Media, unless otherwise stated.
All photographs in The Australian Reptile Online Database are © the photographer and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the photographer.
No part of The Australian Reptile Online Database may be reproduced without written permission from Stewart Macdonald.
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