As a well-known Perl person, I have a few thoughts, and almost none of them are related to one language being better than another. Perl and Python, in the hands of skilled practitioners, can basically do the same things.
You mentioned the perhaps perl hasn't been embedded in anything. I know of or use embedded perls in apache, postgres, nagios, and exim. There are probably many others, but they aren't in the same problem domains that Python dominates.
So, let's think about that a bit more.
First, things take hold often by accident. Perl was initially popular in the biotech community because someone wrote some useful software and other people wanted to use it. If that first person had chosen some other language, people would probably still want to use that initial software. I've often found people will use the most convenient tool without caring too much about the language it's in.
Second, once something get a foothold, it benefits form a virtuous cycle. Someone builds a useful tool in some language and people start using it. Those people are probably going to stay with that particular language just because it's easier than switching or combining several languages within a project. People only have so much time to think about things. I don't mind working in many languages, but it does take a bit of mental work to switch from one to the other during the day.
Now, as for Perl versus Python, I've been thinking about this for an article for Perl.com (so if you want to tell me about your cool Python stuff, please do!). In my long experience with Perl, I've noticed that we tend to build things for other programmers or what we now call DevOps. There are some turnkey applications out there, but there's much more in the module/framework space to allow you to make applications. This tilts the Perl community toward the hard-core, full-time developer space and lots of backend development.
On the Python side, there are some amazing tools for "normal" people for non-programming tasks. For example, there's youtube-dl, a Python program to download videos. I can't think of that many turnkey Perl things I use that aren't programming tools. Exiftool maybe, but that still seems sysadminy to me? It's not that some other language would have trouble doing this, but the group of people that gravitated to a particular language decided to work on more user-facing things.
Some people don't like Perl's syntax, which is fine, and those people probably aren't the sort that spend quite a bit of time doing shell or systems programming. Perl makes a lot of sense if you come from a unix-heavy background, and if you haven't seen some of those concepts things appear weird (and this is where I like to geek out in my Learning Perl classes). Perl is this beast of a language that pulls in C, awk, sed, shell, BASIC, and anything else Larry Wall thought was useful for getting sysadminy work done. Many of the people I've worked with as Perl programmers work in several languages. That's neither virtue nor vice, just that Perl is the sort of language that attracts that sort of person.
Guido Rossum wasn't designing a language to run the world. He had worked on the teaching language ABC and came up with an evolution of that. The items in the Zen of Python make a lot of sense if you are thinking about classrooms and instructional design. Sometimes those languages escape their initial uses (heck, Macs used to use Pascal!). Since they tend to be simpler or more straightforward, people tend to like them for shorter tasks. I see it similar to how PHP displaced Perl from the CGI webspace. It was a simpler tool that completely satisfied the people doing that stuff.