|Common Name:||Savu python|
|Scientific Name:||Liasis savuensis|
|Life Span:||20 years ++ in captivity|
|Size:||Up to 5 feet in length|
|Habitat:||Open areas, under stones and soil cover|
|Country of Origin:||Sawu Island in Indonesia|
One of the easiest to care for snakes is the Savu python. It is safe to care for even by someone who has never handled a snake before. The Savu originated from the island of Sawu in Indonesia and was recently discovered less than two decades ago. But immediately right after its discovery, it instantly became a hit with snake lovers because of its cute size and docile attitude.
The Savu python is classified as a python subspecies and is known locally as sanca mata putih or the white-eyed python. It is the fourth-smallest of all the 53 taxa of pythons. A breeder said that his largest Savu python is a female that is 4 to 9 inches long. The Savu may grow longer, but this is the typical size for adult snakes.
Adults have large and white eyes, mainly the reason for its local name. From the first time the Savu was imported in the United States in the middle of the 1990s, it was simply called white-eyed python.
Adults have dark, brownish-black, and lighter colors with brown to orange speckles. It has a white belly that has orange speckles as well. Some orange color from the belly may also be seen coming from the underside of the snake. The scales are iridescent, another reason why this is a very appealing snake for pet reptile owners.
Hatchlings are usually orange-brown or the color of the terracotta tile. These colors are similar to the young snake’s eyes. It will take a year for the color of the hatchling to change while some snakes may retain the orange color.
In captivity, Savu Pythons can live up to 20 years. However, some species can live up to 30 years on average. Savu Pythons are like other reptiles with three life stages: hatchlings/young, juveniles, and adults/mature pythons.
Hatchlings are very small and have rich orange colors from head to tail, even their eyes. These are born helpless, but after a few days will start to develop insatiable hunger.
Juvenile pythons are larger and can hunt for their food in the wild. After leaving the nest, a young python looks for prey and spots to curl up and rest. Juveniles start to develop features like their parents. Their size has also doubled and will soon catch up with their parent’s size and weight.
Adult Savu Pythons develop a dark body with speckles and marks all over even on the belly. The belly is white with some orange color that comes to the sides. As mentioned, snakes like the Savu will undergo extreme changes in color from hatchling to adult. However, selective breeding has made possible different color combinations, some more striking than the other.
The Savu Python’s diet consists of lizards, small mammals, and mice or rats. Pythons grow larger when they eat regularly. In the wild, Savu Pythons will hunt their prey with their amazing sense of smell. The most common prey in the wild are rats, birds, and other smaller mammals.
Savu pythons are non-venomous and kill their prey using constriction. These will coil around their prey and suffocate them by gradually squeezing until these run out of air. The Savu Python will swallow its prey whole. It may take them a long time to swallow larger prey, and digestion can be from only a few hours to a few days.
To feed your Savu Python, feed them hairless mice. Adults may also eat commercially-raised mice and rats.
Adults can handle one large mouse every two weeks. Juvenile and hatchlings can be fed appropriately-sized food at least once a week. Always have clean, freshwater inside the snake tank all the time. You can use a ceramic bowl, so this won’t spill as the snake moves about.
Savu Pythons need a small enclosure or hide where it can roll and sleep. The best choice is a ceramic pot or a strong cardboard box. Place one hide away from the lamp and another directly at the bottom of the light source. This will allow your python to rest on any environment that it wishes to be in, depending on its internal body temperature.
Some species of pythons are nocturnal, but most Savu python owners say that their snakes will prefer to eat, hunt and bask in the morning and sleep in the evenings.
Savu Pythons need fresh water to drink. Place water in wide bowls made of ceramic or clay pots. The python will just slither and lick water from the bowl anytime it wants a drink. You must change the water inside this bowl regularly because this could become dirty, especially if you have more snakes in your tank.
Development, Reproduction, and Breeding in Captivity
Savu pythons survive longer in captivity because of their predators in the wild. Also, environmental changes have affected the survival of many types of pythons, including the Savu.
According to breeders, wild-caught Savu pythons are more difficult to breed compared to captive snakes. Very few breeders have successfully bred first import snakes. But as soon as the first captive-bred pythons were able to mate, breeding has become more efficient. This has also led to the exponential growth of the Savu python.
First of all, consider the right housing for your pets. Some breeders use stack housing or using small containers to house their pets, but some use ordinary cages. Heating is important. Those who do not use temperature-regulated enclosures should need to improve the temperature inside the snake’s cage using a heat lamp, reptile heat panel, or pad. Experiment on different kinds of the lamp until you find the right one that will fit your needs.
The right size for breeding
Savu pythons can grow to their adult size and length in just two years, but they may start to become interested in breeding by the time these are 3 to 5 years old. The best way to start is to provide a cool-down period. At this time, place the pythons in individual cages or tanks.
In October, start reducing nighttime temps a few degrees every other night. Maintain a 12 hour daylight period as you lower the temperature. Do this until December and then gradually increase nighttime temperatures back to the normal level. The cooling period will stop at the end of December. Rest assured that the pythons will be ready to breed after the cooling period.
Feeding for breeding
After the cooling period, feed your snakes less than usual, Feed one large mouse a mouth if possible. And after two or three weeks of the cooling period, you may now introduce the male and female pythons. Experts say that eating very little during the cooling phase helps stimulate the reproduction phase in pythons. Also, obese snakes or overfed snakes do not make good parents. A slender Savu python is a sign of good health, while python that looks like a ball is not.
Breeding starts May and ends in June. Ovulation starts in July. Once the females have large follicles, they will stop feeding, and their bodies swell from the posterior to the middle. Swelling can last a day.
Place an egg box filled with slightly damp moss, and the soil is a good nest. Place this on the cooler side of the cage. The female will come in and out of the box for 30 days. She will only come out to drink and bask but only for a short period.
In the first week of September, a female will have laid a clutch of eggs, usually composed of 10 eggs. Breeders remove the eggs to artificially incubate these in a tub filled with moist vermiculite. Burry the eggs half the diameter in the vermiculite.
After 59 days of incubation, the small pythons will poke their heads out of the eggs. Each baby will weigh around 19 grams and are less than 14 inches in length.,
Common Health Problems
Pet pythons are generally healthy as long as it is fed the right food and their cages well maintained. But sometimes these are not enough to prevent some health conditions.
Take note that healthy pythons have clear eyes, nose, and mouth. These are alert and active, have a good appetite, with a rounded and full-body plus have healthy skin. Also, take note that those suffering from health issues have wrinkled skin, poor energy, with discharge from the nose or mouth, abnormal feces or urine, poor appetite, and vomiting. The following are the most common health issues of Savu Pythons:
Pythons may become affected by skin conditions, especially abscesses. This usually develops after a previous injury that becomes infected. This may look like a simple lump on the skin, but. It can protrude to the internal tissues and organs. Abscesses may be confused with tumors, constipation, and eggs, which may have remained inside the body of a female.
Another skin condition is a blister. This is a fluid-filled skin structure that forms along the underside of the python. This is due to the python living in a moldy, dirty, and recycled substrate. Blisters must be removed by a vet since these could pile up and develop along the mouth and nose.
Other conditions are cuts and blisters and are usually due to the accessories or display found inside the snake tank. This is preventable by ensuring that the accessories inside the enclosure are will never harm the python.
The most devastating skin condition are mites and ticks may. Mites are tiny moving dots that can be red, white, or black while ticks are larger and can bury in between the scales. Ticks are very difficult to remove, and usually, this will not let go. Do not remove the tick with tweezers, just simply soak the snake in a warm bath to remove these parasites.
A wild Savu Python can pick up parasites from other reptiles and also from infected prey. Some signs of internal parasites are poor appetite, regurgitation, lethargy, and an overall tired appearance.
Regurgitation is due to stress, holding, or handling the snake inappropriately and due to an undiagnosed and untreated illness. This may be prevented by avoiding holding your snake after feeding. Make sure to have your pet checked by the vet for any untreated or improperly treated illness.
Symptoms like lethargy, coughing, runny nose, open-mouth breathing wheezing, or unusual clicking noises, your snake may have respiratory issues. Increase the temperature inside the tank to stimulate the snake’s immune response. If the condition worsens, take your snake to the doctor.
Shedding may pose a problem to pythons, especially when the snake tank is not properly hydrated. The skin in the body and tail may shed, but the skin surrounding the eye or the eyecaps and tail may cling to the body if it is too dry. You must take your pet to the vet if it is having difficulty removing dried skin on the tail and eyecap.
To prevent illness, make sure that the tank has optimal temperature and hydration. Use a digital thermometer and hygrometer to monitor tank conditions. Properly hydrate your snake by misting the tank with water. Leave a bowl of water inside the tank and change this water daily. Change bedding often to avoid parasitic and bacterial infections.
If you have a snake, quarantine it for a few weeks first before you allow it inside the room with your other snakes. Some infections are due to snakes and other reptiles from the wild. And when it comes to shedding, leave your snake be to avoid stress. Help only when you see problems with shedding along the tail and eyecap. Prevent these by maintaining correct temperature and humidity inside the tank.
The Savu Python is a docile snake and will never display any vicious behavior towards other snakes, their handlers, and other people. This is why it is more preferred as a first-time pet snake.
Easy to handle
Savu pythons are very easy to handle and will always be ready to eat, are ideally healthy, and will be easy to control even if you hold it in public.
Hard to breed for wild-caught specimens
This is a fact, according to breeders; it’s impossible to breed two nature-caught pythons compared to pythons that are bred in captivity.
Regular shedding means that you have a healthy Savu Python. Pythons shed once a month, and during the shedding process, the skin grows to accommodate the growing size of the python. Shedding happens more often in young or juvenile pythons than in adults. But if your snake is not shedding, then this could indicate malnutrition or other medical conditions.
In the wild, the Savu Python prefers to remain in rocky areas. It uses the color and texture of rocks to hide from predators. In captivity, Savu Pythons should be kept in enclosures that are ideally 2 feet deep, 4 feet in width, and at least a foot high.
A glass terrarium can keep humidity better. Use an insulator to prevent the escape of heat and humid air from the tank. You may put accessories inside like perches, plants, and pots where the python can sleep, bask, and eat.
Lighting and Humidity
Use a good lamp made for reptile enclosures. The ideal temperature should be maintained, and this is maybe from 88 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and reduced by five degrees at night. Use a digital hygrometer and thermometer to measure and monitor temperature and humidity carefully. Place a pan of water inside the tank or a spray bottle or mister to spray water inside the tank.
Place a heating pad at one end of the tank to create a hot spot of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The rest of the tank may have an ambient temperature of 80 degrees. A light or lamp may not be needed, but a household fluorescent lamp may be installed if you want to view your snake.
Tank Bedding and Accessories
Aspen bedding or aspen bark is a good substrate. Provide safe bedding and accessories for your pet. Always follow its natural habitat and use rocks and pebbles. If you must use rocks, use smooth rocks and sand, which are the same color as the snake’s skin.
The substrate must be spot-checked daily or several times a day to maintain tank cleanliness and hygiene. Use natural or artificial plants and ledges so you can easily clean these as you maintain your tank or enclosure.
Clean the snake tank by using natural cleaning agents like lemon, baking soda, or vinegar; these will remove dirt and smell, which can affect the health of your snake.
If you want to use chemical products but make sure to follow directions on the product label. Rinse the tank well and always dry with paper towels before you place accessories, substrate, and your pet inside the enclosure. If you’re using humidifiers, fans, and filters replace the filters or clean them well at least every two months.
Place a dish of clean water inside the python tank. The snake will drink this water, and this may also help improve humidity inside the tank. The dish must be made of ceramic or clay and not plastic, so it’s harder to move and spill.
Another way to improve humidity is to spray the tank with water in a mister. The snake may also lick vapor from the side of the tank if it wants to drink. Keep an eye on humidity to find out if you need to correct this. For easy humidity correction, apply a mist of water using a spray bottle or mister.
Availability – Where to Get One?
You can get a Savu Python from a local pet shop or an online pet or reptile store. Buy from a reputable dealer or pet store to make sure that your pet is in good health.
Male Savu Python can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 depending on the size, color, and length. Shipment costs can make it more expensive to buy a Savu Python online, so people look for these pets from a local store.
How to Care for a Savu Python?
Remember the following tips when caring for a Savu Python
- Feed your python size-appropriate meals like insects, arthropods, mice, rats, and lizards. Savu Pythons will swallow its food, and this is the best way to sneak in some supplements or multivitamins in your snake’s diet by gut loading its food.
- Be sure to hold your pet early to help it adjust to your handling. Handle well to reduce the python’s shyness.
- Always maintain tank cleanliness and orderliness. Spot clean the tank regularly, change, or wash bedding more often to prevent medical conditions. Never reuse bedding or substrate.
- Monitor tank temperature and humidity with a reliable digital thermometer and hygrometer.
- Place a dish of water inside the tank to improve humidity inside the tank.
- As your snake sheds provide good food afterward and hydrate its tank by misting to guarantee complete shedding.
- Take your pet Savu python to the vet for any medical issue. Do not delay respiratory problems, severe cuts and wounds, and ticks or mites.
How big do Savu pythons get?
The Savu python is the fourth-smallest species of pythons. The largest Savu python known is around 9 inches long for females and 9 inches for males as well.
Where can you find spotted pythons?
You can find spotted pythons in rocky areas, woodlands, riverbanks, and even in caves. You must strive to provide an enclosure that has the same substrate medium as it has in the wild.
Are Savu pythons aggressive?
Savu pythons are not aggressive and will not bite, which is why it’s preferred as a first time snake for novice reptile or snake handlers.
Do Savu pythons climb walls and trees?
If platforms are provided, a Savu python will climb out of its enclosure. So keep its cage or tank covered and secure at all times.