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Care sheet for pythons
Tuesday, 17 January 2006
Blood Python Caresheet
GENERAL INFORMATION:


The term "Blood" python refers to the red coloration of some individuals. Other colors that are found on this snake are yellows, oranges, browns, and black. The are a short, stout python with a very imperssive appearance to them. Adults may reach lengths of between 5 and 7 feet, but the most impressive part of the snake is the girth of the body which can reach 6" in diameter. The head is long and broad and distinctly wider than the neck.
Of all the pythons, Bloods rank up at the top for being one of the meanest. The temerment of these pythons leaves a lot to be desired. Babies are known to bite anything that moves. It takes a lot of patience to get a Blood Python tamed down by handling it for a few minutes everyday. But it is well worth the effort as a tame adult Blood Python is a very impressive snake. The average life span of a captive Blood Python is 20+ years.




HOUSING:


As this is a short, stout snake you will not need a very large enclosure for an adult. For one adult your enclosure size should be 6'x2'x2'. A good substrate to use can be newspaper, Kraft paper, or cypress mulch. More information on substrates can be found by clicking HERE.
The girth of this snake is going to make it difficult to find a suitable "hide" box for the cage, so one is most likely going to have to be constructed for it. The water bowl should be large and heavy so as to prevent it from being tipped over. Fresh water should be provided at all times.
Any type of decorations that are not totally secured to the enclosure will be uprooted, toppled, and just plain moved around by the snake wandering around it enclosure. To get a better idea on the furnishings for your cage click HERE.



LIGHTING:
Lighting should be set on a schedule of 12 hours on and 12 hours off. There are no special bulbs that are needed. Make sure never to leave visible light on 24 hours a day as this cause stress to the animal.




HUMIDITY/TEMPERATURE:
The daytime temperatures should be kept at levels between 84 and 88 degrees, with a basking spot no hotter than 92 degrees. Nighttime temperatures can be lowed to between 76 and 80 degrees with a spot in the enclosure that is at 85 degrees. By keeping the temperatures at these levels and providing a large water bowl, the humidity levels should stay around 60%. Another good idea for providing extra humidity for your Blood python is a humid hide box. This can be a frosted/colored plastic bin with a lid and a hole cut in the side that has moist (Not wet) peat or sphagnum moss in it. This will also aid in the shedding process.



DIET:
As with all constrictors, the diet consists mainly of rodents. Babies can be fed mice and the food item size must be increased as the snake grows to adulthood. Adults can be fed rats of various sizes depending on each paticuar snake. NEVER feed your snake live food if it can be fed frozen/thawed feeders. If you find you must feed a live mouse or rat, make sure you kill the animal before feeding it to your snake. Mice and rats have very sharp teeth and cllaws and will not hesitate to bite or claws a snake that has just grabbed it for dinner. Bites and scrathces can lead to infections that can cause scarring.



BRUMATION/HIBERNATION:
They do not require a hibernation/brumation period. To mimic their natural life cycle you an reduce the time daytime light period to 8 on and 16 off. Stop all feeding two weeks prior to this. After you have established the lighting hours, the nightimte temperature can be lowered to no less then 73 degrees. This simulated brumation should have a duration of between 1 and 2 months.



ADDITIONAL NOTES:
Herp World does not recommend this snake to beginners. It is an aggressive snake that doesn't hesitate to bite. But if you have experience with other pythons and boas, this snake would make a wonderful addition to any collection.




Posted by crazy/reptilesbreeders101 at 2:25 PM EST
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Reticulated Python Caresheet
GENERAL INFORMATION:
Said to be the longest snake in the world, Reticulated pythons can reach over 25 feet in length and weigh in at between 200 to 250 pounds. Retics have a reputation for having a bad attitude in captivity. They have a strong feeding response and wild caught specimens and unheld captive specimens are difficult to handle and will bite in order to escape. Captive born Retics that are handled often, turn into giant snakes that have no problems with being handled and rarely strike. It is best to always purchase a captive born hatched from captive parents (CBB), as wild caught specimens often are infested with parasites and almost always have nasty temperments. Initially, the snake may be prone to bite. Be patient. Wear gloves when handling the snake, and it will learn to trust you and not bite anymore. Some people recommend feeding the snake outside their cage in a "tote" or separate cage. This way the snake will not associate the opening of their cage with fedding time and be less likely to strike. Babies and juveniles have bright orange eyes with a vertical pupil. This eye coloration tends to fade to a gold color as the snake matures.Babies are about 18 to 24 inches long. They are long and thin compared to the Burmese Python babies which are shorter and stout. As the snake grows, it will remain a thin snake compared to other stout bodied pythons. But once the snake reaches a length of over 12 feet, it will start to fill out and gain body mass as well as length. This is not a laid back kind of snake. They are very active and very strong. Caution should be taken when dealing with an adult. Do not handle an adult without at least one person present with you at all time and when htey reach lengths over 20 feet, it is better not to handle them at all. The avergae life span of a Retic in captivity is said to be around 25 to 30 years.




HOUSING:
Babies can be kept in enclosures measuring 24x12x12. Remember, Retics grow quickly, so this enclosure will not house it for long. Start with a 48x24x18 enclosure and increase the cage size as needed. Adult Retics need a room size enclosure. Housing adult Retics is not an easy thing to do, this is another reason why it is not recommend keeping this snakes to anyone who isn't willing to commit to the needs of the snake. They grow very quickly and can outgrow an enclosure in under a year.
Suggestions for substrate are newspaper, the new rolls of brown paper that are out now, and cypress muclh. DO NOT use cedar or pine! Apsen is good for babies, but not adults as it can work its way inbewtween the belly scales and cause irritation. By and far, newpaper or the brown paper, it best. It is easily replaced, and won't house any small insects. More information on the different types of substrate can be found HERE.



LIGHTING:
Lighting should be set on a timer of 12 hours off and 12 hours on. Florescent or incadescent lighting can be used. Retics are active both day and night, but lighting should not be left on 24 hours a day as this can cause undo stress for the snake.



HUMIDITY/TEMPERATURE:
Daytime temperatures between 78 and 84, with a basking spot of about 88 degrees. Nighttime temperatures can be in the low 70's with a warmer area around 82. I use dome lights with red or blue bulbs to provide this nighttime wamr spot. The light doesn't effect the day/night cycle of the snake. Or Ceramic Heat Emitters (CHE) can be used as they only gove off heat and not light. As they are tropical snakes, a higher humidty level is required. The humidity level should be around 70%. Whne humidity levels are too low, they seem sot have a some slight trouble breathing which may sould like a whistle and forcefull exhaling of breathes, but not to the extent of sounding like a repiratoory infection. Also, shedding trouble are common when the humidity level is too low.



DIET:
Babies can be given small rats right from the beginning. Rats are know to have more nutrition than mice. Be aware, they grow quickly, and so must the feeder size. A yearling Retic can already start taking small rabbits with no problems. Retic have a very high metabolism, so they often will take food items that appear to be too big for them, with no second though about it. As the Retic reaches adulthood, the food items should get larger to accomodate the snake. Finding a good supplier of large food items, suc as rabbits, is needed so you will not have to buy live and stun/kill it for feeding. And it is not so easy to kill a cute little bunny rabbit so it can be fed to your snake.



BRUMATION/HIBERNATION:
As Retics are tropical snakes, they do not require a hibernation/brumation period. But their normal cycle calls for the daylight hours to be reduced for about 2 to 3 months. Just reset the timers to have the light cycle changed from 12on/12off to 8on/16off. The temparatures can remain as normal.



Posted by crazy/reptilesbreeders101 at 2:24 PM EST
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Burmese Python Caresheet
GENERAL INFORMATION:
The Burmese Python (or Burm), is one of the 5 largest snakes in the world today. Unfortunately, this distinction, also makes it a "cool" snake to own and many are bought each year but unsuspecting people who have no idea what they are getting themselves into. This is not a beginner snake! These snakes grow quickly and can reach lengths of over 8 feet in just one year. An adult can reach lengths of 18 to 23 feet and weigh in at over 200 lbs. The Burm is the snake that is most likely to end up in shelters and rescues as adults. Due to the size and requirements of the snake, most people who purchase them as babies cannot keep up with the snake's needs once the snake reaches adulthood. Owning one of these giants snakes is a lifelong committment. The average lifespan in captivity is over 25 years.




HOUSING:
Like other "Giant" snakes, adults require a large enclosure, if not a room sized one. Babies can be kept in smaller enclosures, keeping in mind that they will outgrow them quickly. Babies should be lept in a 24x12x12 enclosure, moving the snake into larger encolsures once they outgrow this one. The rule of thumb is: add the cage length to teh cage width and the total is the biggest size snake that should be housed in that cage. Example: Cage is 24" wide by 12" deep (the cage height doesn't need to be used with mainly ground dwelling snakes), add those two together and you get 36". So once the snake reaches 36" it should be moved to a larger cage. As the snake a certain weight, it is not recommended to use glass as a window or door. A big Burm can break the glass just by pressing against it and cause injury to itself, not to mention escape.
Fresh water should always be provided. A large water bowl that can accommodate the snake that wants to soak should be placed in the cage and the water changed daily. I use either the big heavy ceramic dog bowls or the metal bowls that are wider at the bottom so that the are difficult to tip over.
Once again, as with other "Giant" snakes, it is easier to use newspaper or the rolls of brown paper as a substrate. Aspen can be used for babies and juveniles, but not adults. DO NOT use cedar of pine shavings. These are harmful to the snake. Cypress mulch is a good alternative for these. More information on substrates can be found by clicking HERE.
A hide box that is just big enough for the snake to fit into should be placed in the back corner of the enclosure. This will give the snake some place to get away from it all and feel secure in its surroundings.




LIGHTING:
Burms are diurnal, meaning they are active both day and night. lighting should be on a schedule of 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Changing the schedule to 6 hours on and 18 hours off, during the brumation period. Florescent of incadescent lighting can be used.




HUMIDITY/TEMPERATURE:
Daytime temperatures should be 85 and 88 degrees with the temperatures dropping to between 78 and 80 degress at night. A basking spot of 90 to 92 degrees should be provided. At night have an area of the cage that is warmer, around 84 to 86 degrees.
The humidity level should be between 50 and 80%, with 70% being the ideal level. The humidty level will aid in teh shedding process and overall health of the snake.



DIET:
Babies Burms can be fed adult mice or crawler/fuzzy rats once every 7 days. As the snake grows so should the food item with adults being able to eat large rabbits with no problems, on a schedule on average of every 10 to 14 days. Do not feed a Burm, or any other snake, store bought, or farm raised chicken, or any wild caught animals.



BRUMATION/HIBERNATION:
Burmese Pythons do not need a hibernation period, but it is recommended that you try to mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible. Reduce the daylight hours from 12 on and 12 off to 8 on and 16 off. Stop feeding the snake snake at this time. Reduce the temperatures to not much higher than 80 degrees during the day and upper 60's to low 70's at night. Keep this schedule for 2 months. Then begin extending the daylight hours and warming the enclosure to the normal temperatures and begin feeding again.



ADDITIONAL NOTES:
Herp World does not recommend this snake to anyone who has not at least owned an adult Boa Constrictor. They get big, FAST! And can become a handful even after only 1 year. Most people cannot provide a home for them after they reach a certain size. (A mature female is not easily removed form her cage on cleaning day. )



Posted by crazy/reptilesbreeders101 at 2:24 PM EST
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African Rock Python Caresheet
Like its cousin the Burmese Python, the African Rock Python is one of the "giant" snakes in the world. Adults may reach lengths of over 16 feet and weigh in at over 150 lbs. Unlike the Burmese, Rock pythons have a bad temperment and are aggressive. The care for this snake is basically the same as for the Burmese Python. Housing, temperatures, humidity level, food items, etc. are all the same.


Like all "Giant" snakes, adults require a large enclosure, if not a room sized one. Babies can be kept in smaller enclosures, keeping in mind that they will outgrow them quickly. Babies should be lept in a 24x12x12 enclosure, moving the snake into larger encolsures once they outgrow this one. The rule of thumb is: add the cage length to teh cage width and the total is the biggest size snake that should be housed in that cage. Example: Cage is 24" wide by 12" deep (the cage height doesn't need to be used with mainly ground dwelling snakes), add those two together and you get 36". So once the snake reaches 36" it should be moved to a larger cage. As the snake a certain weight, it is not recommended to use glass as a window or door. A big Burm can break the glass just by pressing against it and cause injury to itself, not to mention escape.
Fresh water should always be provided. A large water bowl that can accommodate the snake that wants to soak should be placed in the cage and the water changed daily. I use either the big heavy ceramic dog bowls or the metal bowls that are wider at the bottom so that the are difficult to tip over.
Once again, as with all "Giant" snakes, it is easier to use newspaper or the rolls of brown paper as a substrate. Aspen can be used for babies and juveniles, but not adults. DO NOT use cedar of pine shavings. These are harmful to the snake. Cypress mulch is a good alternative for these. Fpr more imforation on the different types of substrate, visit my "What is the best substrate?" page.
A hide box that is just big enough for the snake to fit into should be placed in the back corner of the enclosure. This will give the snake some place to get away from it all and feel secure in its surroundings.




LIGHTING:
Rock Pythons are diurnal, meaning they are active both day and night. lighting should be on a schedule of 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Changing the schedule to 6 hours on and 18 hours off, during the brumation period. Florescent of incadescent lighting can be used.




HUMIDITY/TEMPERATURE:
Daytime temperatures should be 85 and 88 degrees with the temperatures dropping to between 78 and 80 degress at night. A basking spot of 90 to 92 degrees should be provided. At night have an area of the cage that is warmer, around 84 to 86 degrees.
The humidity level should be between 50% and 80%, with 60% being the ideal level and closer to 80% during the shed process. The humidty level will aid in the shedding process and overall health of the snake.



DIET:
Babies Rock pythons can be fed adult mice but it is recommended to use young "crawler" rats or "fuzzy" rats as rats contain much more nutrition. As the snake grows so should the food item with adults being able to eat large rabbits with no problems. General rule of thumb is to feed a food item that is no larger then the thickest part of the body. After feeding the food item, there should be a slightly noticable lump in the body area. Do not feed a Rock python, or any other snake, store bought, or farm raised chicken, or any wild caught animals.



BRUMATION/HIBERNATION:
African Rock Pythons do not require a hibernation period, but it is recommended that you try to mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible. Reduce the daylight hours from 12 on and 12 off to 8 on and 16 off. Stop feeding the snake snake at this time. Reduce the temperatures to not much higher than 80 degrees during the day and upper 60's to low 70's at night. Keep this schedule for 2 months. Then begin extending the daylight hours and warming the enclosure to the normal temperatures and begin feeding again.



ADDITIONAL NOTES:
Of the "Giant" snakes, this is the one I do not recommend being kept by anyone not familiar with big, heavy, aggresive snakes. Rock Pythons are very tempermental, some say more "mental", snakes that are just plain aggressive. If you can obtain a nice captive bred baby, then you will have a chance to get the snake to trust being handled. Wild caught animals may never be tame enough to handle at all.



Posted by crazy/reptilesbreeders101 at 2:20 PM EST
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Black-headed , Western Stimson's ,Southern Carpet Python Caresheet
Western Stimson’s Python (Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni) – Maximum length 100 cm. Category 3.
Southwestern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota imbricata) – Maximum length 180 cm (Male), 205 cm (Female). Category 3.
Black-headed Python (Aspidites melanocephalus) – Maximum length 300 cm. Category 4.

Natural Habits
Western Stimson’s Python occurs on stony cliffs, hills and outcrops, eucalypt-lined creeks and old buildings over much of WA extending south to Waroona, the central wheatbelt and goldfields. Southwestern Carpet Python occurs in heathlands, woodlands, forests and on granite and limestone outcrops north to Northampton and east onto the Nullarbor. Black-headed Python occurs in most habitats in northern WA, south to about the 26th Parallel.

Pythons are active day and night.

CAUTION: Large pythons can deliver a painful and bloody bite.

Housing
Pythons are best housed separately, except when breeding. Young pythons to one metre can be adequately housed indoors in a top-ventilated vivarium of 60 x 30 x 50 cm high. Larger adults require a minimum of about 100 x 50 x 100 cm high to allow climbing. A guide is half the length of the python for the width of the cage by a quarter of the python for the height of the cage. Wire fronted cages are unsuitable for snakes. Enclosures must be secure and escape proof.

Captive Environment
Cage furnishings should kept simple and include strong climbing branches and a hide box constructed so you can access the snake at any time. Try not to clutter up the cage too much. The floor covering should be easily removed for cleaning. Some alternatives are newspaper, pea?gravel, woodchips and indoor-outdoor loop-pile carpet. Do not use sand or soil, as this is unsuitable and will harbour disease-causing pathogens. Include a hide box, such as a commercially available bird-nesting box, to allow the snake to retreat.

Temperature and Lighting
All species like to bask beneath a spotlight for several hours each day during the cooler months, however a commercially available heat pad should be included to allow access to a warm place at all times, unless cooling off for breeding. The heat source needs to be positioned at one end of the vivarium so that there is a gradient of temperatures so that the snake can maintain a preferred body temperature by moving backwards and forwards. The basking spot should reach about 34° C and the far end of the cage should be about 20° C. There must be a physical barrier between the python and the basking lamp to prevent burns.

Water
Water should be provided at all times in a solid non-spillable container.

Food
Young pythons will become very active when hungry and require feeding every 7 – 10 days. Adults feed immediately after each defecation. Adults may be fed as many thawed rodents as they will eat but be observant as some individuals may become obese if food is unrestricted. It is far better to feed fewer large meals than many small ones. Juveniles will take thawed fuzzy to weaner mice. Adult snakes may feed regularly for several months and then abstain from eating for long periods, occasionally for as long as twelve months. If the snake is reluctant to take food off the floor, offer it held in tongs. Remember, they are low energy specialists spending most of their time doing nothing.

Captive Behaviour/Breeding
Young pythons may be nervous and bite. Most will settle and tolerate handling, although this should be kept to minimum. Never grip the snake and restrict its movement during handling as it will become alarmed. Do not handle a snake for several days after it has eaten, nor when in pre-slough condition – that is from commencement of "milky" eyes until it has shed its skin. Probing by an experienced person can determine sex. Female carpet pythons get much bigger than males (250 v. 180 cm). Breeding success is improved by allowing a cooling off period in both sexes for a month or so in winter. Mating occurs in mid winter to early spring with eggs being deposited in early to late summer. Sexually active male Black-headed and Stimson’s Pythons demonstrate intraspecific fighting that includes biting and thrashing and can inflict serious injuries to each other.

Problems
Wheezing is not uncommon in pythons during pre-slough, although if it continues then it may suggest respiratory infection. Try raising cage temperature to at least 35° C, but if problem persists seek veterinary assistance. Adhered skin after sloughing is common in dry environments when humidity is too low. Try a larger water container. The adhered skin is easily removed after soaking the snake in wet bag for twenty minutes or so. Lack of appetite may be normal seasonal fasting, but is also caused by too low a cage temperature. Regurgitation can also be a sign that the snake cannot get warm enough to digest its food.

Diseases
A clean artificial reptile environment with the appropriate husbandry mentioned above will usually result in your pets remaining healthy. Quarantine newly acquired animals for at least a month before introducing them to those already being kept.

Reptile Mites
Reptile mites are the scourge of many keepers. They can rapidly multiply and quickly kill a reptile. If an infestation is found, it is imperative that you take immediate action to eradicate it. Although small (a large female may be one-third the size of a pin head) they will be obvious on white paper as miniature black tick-like animals. If you find you have an infestation, it is important to kill it in situ. This can be achieved by placing a Sureguard Ministrip within the respective cage for at least 8 hours before cleaning. Then follow-up with two 8-hour cycles two days apart. DO NOT expose your pet to the pest strip for any longer or you may kill it.

Ticks
When first obtaining your reptile, check it for ticks. These are often seen tucked up under the scales. They can be removed using tweezers and the bite site dabbed with antiseptic.


Posted by crazy/reptilesbreeders101 at 2:18 PM EST
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Pygmy Python / Anthill Python Caresheet
Common name(s): Anthill Python

Latin name: Although its species name is pretty fixed as perthensis, it has in the past been placed in the genera Liasis, Bothrochilus and, most recently, Antaresia. The latest classification, Antharesia perthensis, uses a genus name invented and adopted by Wells and Wellington in 1983, and followed by others, including Dr. Hal Cogger of the Australian museum and Dave and Tracy Barker in 1994.

Native to: Pilbara region of northwest Western Australia, as well as adjacent areas of similar habitat. How far this species extends outside the Pilbara is largely unknown, due to the mainly uninhabited nature of possible habitat, coupled with an official discouragement by Australian wildlife authorities towards research on much of Australian's wildlife, including snakes. To date the most accurate distribution information was that published by Laurie Smith in his 1985 paper reviewing the "childreni" species group. Smith noted and mapped locality information for all anthill pythons (A. perthensis), Stimson's python (A. stimsoni), children's python (A. childreni) and spotted pythons (A. maculosus) specimens that are in Australian museums.

The Pilbara region is located south of the tropical Kimberly in Western Australia. It is essentially arid, and includes the hottest parts of Australia. Typical of the Pilbara are rocky hills covered with spinifex (grass) bushes (Triodia spp.). Being arid, the Pilbara does not have formal wet and dry seasons, but most rainfall does occur in the so-called summer months, when the occasion tropical lows wander further south than usual.

Adult size: Averages about 60 cm (about 23-1/2 inches) in length."


Life Span: 20 year plus+

Eggs or young: Only 2-6 eggs per clutch are laid

Appearance: The Anthill python is a small, reddish colored python. Dorsally the color is usually brick red, with or without a pattern. Any pasterns are most pronounced in young specimens, and they usually fade in captive specimens. The reason for this is not known. A typical antihill python pattern is comprised of a series of darker spots arranged in four more or less regular series, giving the general impression of a series of irregular crossbars. Ventrally, the snake is creamish white. The head is distinctly shorter and proportionately smaller than those of Stimson's pythons, which are found in the same areas. Anthill python's heads are more triangular in shape, as well. Stimson's pythons are the only species likely to be confused with anthill pythons, but anyone who's familiar with both species should be able to avoid misidentifying them. Besides the fact that its body is usually thicker than a Stimson's python, there is a color difference, as well; anthill pythons are of a reddish base color whereas Stimson's are usually a yellowish or brownish base color. Besides the differences already noted, the scalation of both species differ, too. (Anthill pythons have fewer than 37 midbody scale rows and 250 or less ventrals.) If misidentification were to take place, it would probably occur with younger specimens of either species, both of which may have similar patterns.

What does it eat? I feed mine mice.

Ease of care: This little guy is a tough and durable snake that is usually docile, easy to handle and one that rarely bites.

Temperament: 80-90 degrees

Cage set up: The common thread in all anthill python cages appears to have been the relatively dry conditions, which probably is essential. Bear in mind the arid areas these snakes come from. (A water bowel should always be available) A small hide box is required. I use a flower pot with a hole cut into it or a large margarine tub with a hole cut in the top.

Substrate: I keep mine on aspen bedding but, you can use washed gravel or newspaper.


Posted by crazy/reptilesbreeders101 at 2:15 PM EST
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Spotted Python Caresheet
Common Name: Spotted Python
Latin Name: Antaresia maculosa

Origin Australia
Experience Level
Easy
Approx Adult Size 3'
Temperature Day
86 F / 30 C
Life Span 12+ years
Temp in Warm End
90 F / 32 C
Lighting UV recommended
Temp in Cool End
80 F / 27 C
Heating Ceramic Heating
Temperature Night
75-80 F / 24-27 C
Food Rodents
Humidity
Low
Vitamin Supplements Not necessary
Temperament
Flighty

Introduction
A flighty small python which will usually tame down with regular handling.
Housing
A 24" x 18" x 18" vivarium fitted with a Ceramic heater and thermostat is ideal housing for a pair of Spotted Pythons. The ceramic heater should be left on day and night but the thermostat should be turned down by the appropriate temperature at night and back up again in the morning.
UV lighting is recommended by us for these snakes and should be on for 12-14 hours per day and then switched off at night.
Snakes are "cold blooded" and "thermoregulators" ie they need external heat sources to maintain their body temperature. This means they need a thermal gradient ie a warm and a cool area to be able to choose the correct temperature they need.
Suitable substrates (material that is on the bottom of the vivarium) include Reptile bark, kitchen roll, Aspen shavings. Cedar/pine shavings are unacceptable as they can cause respiratory problems in snakes.
Furniture must include at least two hides (one at the warm end and one at the cool end) and water bowl containing fresh water at all times. Climbing branches are not necessary but your snake will probably appreciate them.
Diet
Rodents of the appropriate size (The girth of the food item should be approximately the same size as, or slightly larger, but no more than 1.5 times the girth of the snake).
During the first couple of months of the snakes life feeding should be 1-2 appropriate sized rodents every 5 to 7 days. As they grow the size of the food should also grow and they should only be fed 1-2 appropriate sized rodents every 7 to 10 days.
Vitamin supplements can be added either to the food or in the water but this is not normally necessary. Suitable vitamins include: Nutrobal powder, T-Rex 2:0 Calcium powder, Reptasol liquid vitamins.

Breeding
Spotted Pythons breed readily in captivity following a cooling period (brumation) where heat/light is reduced and feeding is stopped during November through to January. Mating will occur around February/March and the female will lay up to around 5-15 eggs in April/May. Eggs will need to be removed and incubated separately.
This information is only to be used as a brief guideline for breeding, for further details or assistance please contact your local reptile shop or breeder.

Posted by crazy/reptilesbreeders101 at 2:09 PM EST
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Children's Python Caresheet
Liasis childreni


Basic Facts

Children's Pythons are the second smallest python in the world (second to the Ant Hill Python). Named for naturalist John Children, they are native to Northwestern Australia. Their average adult length is 3 feet. When they are young, Chidren's Pythons are generally reddish-brown with dark brown patches or spots. As they age, these patterns fade resulting in a mostly dark brown to black snake with many older snakes showing no pattern at all. They may be found listed under the name Liasis childreni or Antaresia childreni. In most recent literature, they are grouped within the genus Liasis. Children's Pythons are closely related to and strongly resemble Spotted Pythons, Antaresia maculosa and the Blotched Python, Antaresia stimsoni. In many cases, captive Chidren's Pythons and Spotted Pythons have been misidentified and are sold under the wrong name. This makes it difficult to determine whether or not offspring are pure crosses. In the wild, these pythons are known to eat birds, lizards, and occasionally hang from the mouths of caves in order to catch bats in flight.

Recommended Enclosures


Fig. 1 - The Spotted Python, a close relative of the Children's Python.
Due to their compact size and docile nature, Children's Pythons do not require large enclosures. A single adult python may be housed comfortably in a 10-gal aquarium, but I always encourage a slightly larger cage than necessary to make room for climbing and moving in general. These snakes can climb well and adding a couple of climbing branches to any enclosure is a good idea. Also make sure the snake has room to stretch out within the enclosure. Sedentary snakes, especially those that do not take large enough food items, may be prone to bowel impactions and cloacal infections. This doesn't mean your snake should be moving constantly. This means that the enclosure should be large enough not to impede the movement of the snake. For substrate, I use smooth, non-painted aquarium gravel. You may also use newspaper or reptile bark. Also provide a hiding space large enough for your snake to fit completely under. They use this space for hiding from stressful surroundings and also as a retreat from heat lamps. A water bowl large enough for the entire snake to fit into is also necessary not only as a drinking water source but also to aid shedding and increase humidity. A secure latching or locking cage lid is necessary. I prefer the fitted screened enclosure lids where the wire is plastic-coated.

Lighting and Heating

A heat lamp with a simple 75-watt bulb can be sat on top of the lid (as long as the lid is heat resistant - metal frames are best). It is not necessary to use a broad-spectrum bulb but they can be used in place of an incandescent. If necessary at night, a blue or black reptile 'night' light can be used to supplement heat. The temperature of the enclosure should be between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and about 10 degrees less at night. There are a variety of different cage thermometers available and regulating and monitoring the temperature in any enclosure is a good idea. Children's Pythons come from a fairly humid climate and require a high humidity to shed properly. It is recommended that you mist the enclosure with warm water occasionally in between sheds.

Feeding


Fig. 2 - The Spotted Python.
Due to their size, Children's Pythons take fairly small food items. They tend to grow in length faster than they grow in girth, so it can be hard to determine when and what to feed. A good rule of thumb is to offer no food item that is larger than the largest part of the snake. Items that are too large will cause the snake to regurgitate the food. Hatchlings or juveniles under one foot in length may be fed pink mice (pinkies) or fuzzy mice (young mice whose eyes are not yet open) on a one per week schedule. Many hatchlings can be picky eaters and may refuse to eat at first. If a hatchling refuses a live pinkie, offer it freshly killed. If this is refused, offer frozen/thawed. If this is refused it may be necessary to scent the food item using a live lizard or to expose the tissue and blood of the mouse prior to offering it. Force-feeding should be done only as a last resort. Using force-feeding to start any snake feeding stresses the animal and can cause them to become afraid of food items, resulting in a lifetime of force-feeding. Adult pythons, from 2-3 feet can be fed small to medium sized mice. They may take 2-3 at a time and should feed once every 3-4 weeks. My preference is freshly killed mice, but if you don't like the idea of killing the mice yourself, frozen/thawed works just as well. I do not promote live feeding since many captive snakes do not correlate live animals with food and may kill the mouse but not know to eat it. Others may not kill the prey at all and not eat, and in some of the worst cases I've seen, the mouse has bitten the snake causing sever infection.


Posted by crazy/reptilesbreeders101 at 2:08 PM EST
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