Woma Python

STATUSCritically Endangered

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Aspidites ramsayi

DIETSmall mammals, ground birds and lizards

RANGEAustralian interior, from central Australia into the south-western edge of Queensland, and into northern South Australia

HABITATGrasslands, shrub land and woodlands

Woma Python

Status: Endangered

Also known as the Ramsay’s python and the sand python. Woma pythons are a non-venomous constrictor species. They are generally light brown-green and black in color, with a tan-yellow underbelly. Adults can range from 4.5 to over 6 feet in length. Males tend to be smaller than females. The scales around the eyes are usually a darker color than the rest of the head. This species also lacks the heat sensing pits of all other pythons. Like other snakes they have the Jacobson’s organ in their mouth for smelling. These adaptations help to make them very successful nocturnal hunters even though they have poor eyesight. Even though they are constrictors, when hunting prey in small tight burrow spaces, the Woma python will use a portion of its body and crush its prey against the wall of the burrow in order to kill it. During the day, these pythons can be found residing in hollow logs, burrows or thick vegetation. This species has a unique way to travel across hot sands; it will lift parts of its body off the ground and move forward.

Habitat/Range: This species is found in the Australian interior, from central Australia into the south-western edge of Queensland, and into northern South Australia. They mainly inhabit grasslands, shrub land and woodlands.

Diet in the Wild: They primarily prey upon small mammals, ground birds and lizards.

Diet in the Zoo: 1 hopper every Monday. Frozen hoppers. No animals are fed live food to help prevent disease spread and for the safety of the animal.

Predators: In the wild they often fall prey to larger mammals, such as foxes, as well as birds of prey when young.

Life Cycle and Social Structure: Mating occurs from May to August and between 5 and 19 eggs are deposited between September and October. Oviparous with 5-20 eggs per clutch. Females remain coiled around their eggs until they hatch, with the incubation period lasting 2–3 months. An adult female that is about 4–5 years old and 5 feet (about 1.5 m) in total length will usually lay about 11 eggs.

Life Span: live around 20-30 years

Interesting Facts:

  • Their genus name Aspidites is translated into shield bearer in relative to the symmetrically shaped head scales.
  • The specific name, ramsayi, comes from Australian zoologist Edward Pierson Ramsay
  • The Woma Python eats many species of Australia’s most venomous snakes and is actually immune to venomous snake bites.

Conservation Messages: The Woma python’s population have been affected by habitat loss due to agriculture and grazing. Habitat loss affects population sizes by removing the Woma python’s shelter and food sources, particularly small mammals and reptiles. Introduction of new predator species, such as foxes, has also led to a decline in population sizes.

The Woma Python provides the opportunity to talk about a variety of conservation messages. One message to give is: research before you buy a pet. These animals are very common in the pet industry and many people associate them as good pets.

What You Can Do: Do your research before buying any pet to ensure that you can provide the care that it needs, research pet suppliers before buying from them and research any company that you may buy animal skins from.

Bibliography:
http://www.iucnredlist.org
http://www.naturebase.net/
http://www.arkive.org/