is there a difference between a snake and a python

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Pythons are a group of snakes, so all pythons are snakes but not all snakes are pythons.


Almost Legendary
Jun 30, 2006
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With my snakes
From what I have read pythons and boas differentiate from snakes in that they don't have fangs or venom glands while most snakes do. They are still a species of snake, and many, many ppl will refer to anything legless, as a snake, but I am pretty sure its the anatomy that separates pythons and boas from other snakes. Carpet snake and carpet python are the same animal. But you don't hear ppl call a king brown snake a python. A snake is a snake is a snake, and so is a python :D


May 18, 2012
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A python is a non venomous snake i.e carpet python, where as the elapid is a front fanged venomous snake, i.e king brown, exept you dont put elapid on the end like you would a python


Pythons are snakes, just as elapids, colubrids and vipers are snakes... Lizards without legs are lizards, not snakes...



Not so new Member
Jul 16, 2012
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Snakes get separated into many groups. Pythons have no fangs, no venom but are very strong and muscular. Pythons are the wrap around, squeezy type. Pythons rely on this method for catching and killing their prey. The snakes with fangs and venom are called elapids, front fanged snakes. They rely on the venom to weaken and kill their prey... but that is just two groups of snakes out of the few that are out there. Hope that helps a bit.


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Nov 17, 2009
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Daintree, FNQ
Basically what junglepython2 said.

Short answer: Yes there is a difference.

Long answer/more detailed answer/explanation: "Snake" is basically the "type" of animal, i.e. dog, cat, cow, pig etc.

"Python" is one of many different "groups" or "families" of snake. Python is the term given to the snakes that belong in the family/group "Pythonidae".

However, there are many other families/groups of snake. Some of the families found in Australia (and their "common" family names) are "Typhlopidae" aka Blind Snakes, "Acrochordidae" aka File Snakes, "Colubridae" aka Colubrid Snakes/Colubrids, "Homalopsidae" aka Mangrove and Freshwater Snakes, "Elapidae" aka Venomous Land Snakes/Elapids...
Although here is where I might point out that the "common names" for these families are loosely correct to some degree, or moreso include more than just what the common name states, or doesnt actually include all of the species the common name its given Sea Snakes are also the family Elapidae, as are Sea Kraits... Which as you may have guessed arent "Land Snakes"... Hence there are also "Subfamilies" as well.

Which is why, like Junglepython2 said, a python can be/is a snake, but a snake is not always a python... It can be a colubrid, an elapid, a file snake, blind snake etc etc etc.

Which is also why a lot of people (moreso the scientific community) are more inclined to use scientific names as opposed to common names, as they arent always correct, and there are nearly always atleast two or more different common names for the one scientific name,
i.e. Pseudechis australis's common names are Mulga Snake, King Brown; Oxyuranus microlepidotus will/can be referred to as any of the following, Western Taipan, Inland Taipan, Small-scaled Snake, Fierce Snake/Fiercy etc.
It can depend where you are, and what you were brought up to call them, although some people actually will think that they're 4 different snakes, even though they are all the same snake, just different people call them different things. :S

But there are generally NEVER two scientific names for the one animal (unless there has been a recent splitting/grouping in taxonomy etc. i.e. Lucasium steindachneri use to be known as Diplodactylus steindachneri aka both known as Box-Patterned Gecko; Nephurus milii is now known as Underwoodisaurus milii aka Thick-Tailed Gecko etc.)

Though, in reference to the Elapidae family, generally people will call/refer to the "venomous land snakes" as Elapids, and Sea Kraits and Sea Snakes, Sea Kraits and Sea Snakes.
Sorry if that all sounds confusing and has confused you, and for going off on a tangeant. I'm not always the best at explaining what I mean either lol.

Hope that helps a bit though... :oops:

- - - Updated - - -

Carpet snake and carpet python are the same animal. But you don't hear ppl call a king brown snake a python. A snake is a snake is a snake, and so is a python :D

To add to your point Kathy,

Another couple of examples where a lot of wires can get crossed and could end unpleasantly/dangerously (depending on the example, as some mistakes have more harmless consequences) with using common names where they are NOT the same snake, are:

Rough-Scaled Snake and Rough-Scaled Python (Rough-Scaled Snake can kill you and is highly venomous, Rough-Scaled Pythons are virtually harmless - aside from having long teeth and hurting a bit more than other pythons),

Green Tree Snake and Green Tree Python (Green Tree Snakes are a colubrid and Green Tree Pythons are pythons and again, relatively harmless aside from longer teeth hurting a bit more).

There are more examples, but those two are probably more common than the others...
Just another reason why it pays to be preferential towards using scientific names sometimes (and for a lot of reptiles, there are NO commonly used/known/recognised common names).
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