Exotic Leather Blog

A Brief Overview of Python Skins

Posted by Mark Mendal on Jan 26, 2015 5:24:00 PM

In many of our recent blog posts about high-end handbags, we’ve discussed the use of python skin. In those posts, we discussed how python skin makes for a great material to use for large fashion accessories. 

However, what we didn’t mention earlier was that there are actually three different species of python that are frequently used for exotic leather. They are:

  • The Short Tail Python.

  • The Burmese Python.

  • The Diamond Python.

Each of these python species have their own distinguishing characteristics that separate them from one another, which we will discuss in brief here.

The Short Tail Python

Here's an example of a red short-tail python skin. Note the wide belly scales going across the center of the skin.The short tail python, which has the scientific name of Brongersmai, is found in western Malaysia, Sumatra, and several islands in the Strait of Malacca, preferring marsh-like tropical swamp environments.

Averaging a length of 1.6 meters and a width of 28 cm in the center and 15 cm at the ends, the short tail python is smaller than the other python species. However, the hide of a short tail python possesses a full-bodied thickness with only slight tapering, meaning that the yield for a hide of a given width will be relatively high.

The center belly scales of the short tail python are relatively wide, making a great focal point for an exotic leather piece. Currently, these hides are only available in a back cut bleached style. This shows off the wide belly scales, and ensures that the hide will be free of natural markings.

The Burmese Python

When most people think of python skins, the patterns of the Burmese python spring to mind. The round, irregular shapes are a defining characteristic of Burmese python hide.The Burmese python, also known by the scientific name of Python bivittatus (it was once considered a subspecies of python molurus, but has more recently been recognized as its own unique species). The Burmese python is natively found in Southern- and Southeast Asia. In recent years, the Burmese python has also begun to spread throughout the southeast United States as an invasive species, displacing or threatening other animal species native to the Florida Everglades.

One of the largest snake species in the world, Burmese pythons range from 2.5 to 6 meters long, and 25 to 60 cm wide at their widest point. The average size of Burmese python hides found on the market tends to be around 3.25 meters long and 28 cm wide at the center (15 cm at the ends).

The natural markings on the Burmese python are more random than other python species, and a little more rounded in shape. The hide of the Burmese python is also relatively thin, making it ideal for garment pieces where thick material would otherwise have to be shaved down.

Because the hide only tapers slightly until you near the ends of the skin, the yield for these skins tends to be high for their width. However, combined with the high demand for Burmese python hides, this means that you can typically expect to pay a little more for these hides than their counterparts.

The scales of the Burmese python’s belly are relatively narrow compared to the other two python species on this list.

As one of the most demanded python skins, Burmese pythons are available in both front and back cuts. Also, many designers like to take advantage of the natural color patterns in the hide of the Burmese python, so they are available in both bleached and unbleached varieties.

The Diamond Python

Here is a front-cut diamond python skin. The patterns in this skin tend to be more regular than those of a Burmese python, and these skins taper more severely from center to end.The diamond python, also called python reticulatus by the scientific community, derives its name from the regular, diamond-like color patterns common to this species of snake. The scientific name, reticulatus, means “net-like” in Latin, which would be another appropriate way to describe the color patterns in the hide.

Native to Southeast Asia, the diamond python grows anywhere from 3 to 6 meters long, and 25 to 60 cm wide. The average size for commercially-available skins tends to hover near 3.25 meters long, and 28 cm wide in the center.

The diamond python’s hide tends to taper more severely than the others on this list. What this means is that a diamond python skin that is equal to another type of python skin in size will actually provide a smaller yield. Because of this, the cost for a diamond python skin tends to be a little less than that of an equivalent skin from another species of python.

Similar to the short tail python, the diamond python has wide center scales, making them stand out in exotic leather goods.

Learn More

In the coming weeks, we’ll be adding more blog posts that talk about each of these three python species in detail, so check back with our blog later for more info.

If you need to know more about our exotic python skins right away, contact Pan American Leathers today to learn more, or check out our guide to python skin for free using the link below.

Python Skin Guide

Topics: python skin