/puy"thon, -theuhn/, n. Class. Myth.
a large dragon who guarded the chasm at Delphi from which prophetic vapors emerged. He was finally killed by Apollo, who established his oracle on the site.
[ < L Python < Gk Pýthon]

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Any of 28 species (family Pythonidae, sometimes a subfamily of Boidae) of sluggish, docile, nonvenomous snakes found in tropical and temperate regions.

Except for one Central American species (Loxocemus bicolor), pythons are found from western Africa to China, Australia, and the Pacific islands. Pythons feed on birds and mammals, killing them by constriction. Most are found near water; some are arboreal. Unlike boas, pythons lay eggs (15–100, depending on body size). The Asian reticulated python (Python reticulatus) may be the world's longest snake (the anaconda is heavier); specimens over 30 ft (9 m) long have been recorded.

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      in Greek mythology, a huge serpent that was killed by the god Apollo at Delphi either because it would not let him found his oracle, being accustomed itself to giving oracles, or because it had persecuted Apollo's mother, Leto, during her pregnancy. In the earliest account, the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, the serpent is nameless and female, but later it is male, as in Euripides' Iphigenia Among the Taurians, and named Python (found first in the account of the 4th-century-BC historian Ephorus; Pytho was the old name for Delphi). Python was traditionally the child of Gaea (Earth) who had an oracle at Delphi before Apollo came. The Pythian Games held at Delphi were supposed to have been instituted by Apollo to celebrate his victory over Python.

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Universalium. 2010.

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