Blood Python

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Python brongersmai

DIETVariety of small mammals and birds, primarily will feed on rats, mice, and other rodents

RANGEFound in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia

HABITATThey live primarily in lowland swamps, but can also be found in rainforests and marshes

Blood Python

Status: Least Concern

 A mature Blood Python will grow to 5-8 feet in length and are heavily built with muscle. In relation to the length of the python’s body, its tail is very short in length. Its blood red color comes from its scales, which will begin to appear within 2-3 years of age. They are non-venomous snakes. Females are often longer than males. When breeding, they lay a clutch of up to 12-16 eggs.

Also known as Brongersma’s Short-tailed Python or Red Short-tailed Python. This snake was originally considered as subspecies of Python curtus but was recently upgraded to it’s own species in 2001.

Habitat/Range: Found in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Unconfirmed records state that these snakes may be found in several other countries (Singapore), but it is more likely that they were introduced there by humans.

They live primarily in lowland swamps, but can also be found in rainforest habitats and marshes. They have been known to exist well in human populated areas and are especially found in oil palm plantations where they feed on rodents attracted to the area. It is believed that the ability to thrive in these human-modified areas is leading to an increase in the general population of the species.

Diet in Wild: Variety of small mammals and birds, primarily will feed on rats, mice, and other rodents.

Diet in Zoo: One adult rat per week- (humanely raised and euthanized)

Predators: Main predators for this species are humans and large birds of prey. They are susceptible to many more predators when juveniles and hatchlings.

Life Cycle/ Social Structure: Blood Pythons reach sexual maturity at 2-4 years old. Oviparous, females will lay up to 16 eggs. Females will remain coiled during incubation period and are likely to shiver to produce heat for the eggs. Because of this, they may lose half their body weight during incubation. Hatchlings will emerge after 2.5-3 months at approximately 12 inches in length. Wild pythons will be nervous, thus aggressive. Pythons in captivity will be more docile if handled from a young age. They spend most of their time in water for hunting purposes.

Life Span: Blood Pythons can live up to 25 years in captivity. The maximum known lifespan is 27.8 years.

Interesting Facts:

  • Can weigh up to 50 pounds
  • Spend most of their time underwater waiting for prey
  • Have heat-sensing pits on the upper lip that help them detect warm-blooded prey

Conservation Message: Blood Pythons are hunted frequently for their scales for leather. It is estimated that 10,000 individuals will be taken for this a year. 50,000 skins are reported to CITES by Indonesia. Populations are now dropping in Southeast Asia due to this overhunting. They are also quite common in the pet trade. However, many owners cannot provide the proper care for these snakes because of their large size and long life span. 

What You Can Do: Be careful when buying leather or snake skin. Do not buy leather or fur from real animals. Research pets before you become an owner. Be aware of expected lifespan, diets, and specific requirements. Make sure to research the provider of your pet and not purchase from someone who removes animals directly from the wild.

Bibliography
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
http://eol.org/