The animal on the cover of Programming Python is an African rock python, one of
approximately 18 species of python. Pythons are nonvenomous constrictor snakes
that live in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Australia, and some Pacific Islands.
Pythons live mainly on the ground, but they are also excellent swimmers and
climbers. Both male and female pythons retain vestiges of their ancestral hind legs.
The male python uses these vestiges, or spurs, when courting a female.
The python kills its prey by suffocation. While the snake’s sharp teeth grip and hold
the prey in place, the python’s long body coils around its victim’s chest, constricting
tighter each time it breathes out. They feed primarily on mammals and birds. Python
attacks on humans are extremely rare.