|Common Name:||Stimson’s Pythons|
|Scientific Name:||Antaresia stimsoni|
|Life Span:||15 to 25 years|
|Habitat:||Arid grasslands, woodlands, shrublands, and deserts|
|Country of Origin:||Western and Central Australia|
The Stimson’s pythons are among the smallest types of python, with most adults measuring approximately 34 inches. They are very polymorphic as the coloration and pattern differ widely across their extensive range.
Generally, their background color is lighter compared to the patterned markings. This background color is often straw-colored or beige. The patterns are distinct and well-defined, consisting of those irregular blotches that come in different shades, ranging from dark terra cotta to diamine brown.
The Stimson’s pythons, which are sometimes called the large-blotched pythons, have red-brown or gold or chocolate brown markings on a yellow to light tan background. These pythons are nonvenomous snakes that will kill their prey by coiling and constricting, preventing their victims from breathing.
Like other pythons, their heads are larger than their necks. Also, they have those heat-detecting organs in their heads that are helping them in finding their prey. They have 35 to 49 rackets of dorsal scales in the center of their bodies, 240 to 305 ventral scales, and 30 to 45 sub-caudal scales. The sub-caudal scales are either completely or mostly divided, but the anal scale is just one.
The Stimson’s pythons can live for 15-25 years in captivity. Proper care is a big factor in stretching the life span of these animals.
Stimson’s pythons are common in Western and Central Australia and found living in the arid grasslands, woodlands, shrublands, and deserts. These snakes enjoy being in the shelters and rocky outcrops in holes, crevices, hollows, and termite mounds.
These snakes are widely distributed species of all pythons originating in Australia. They range on the shore of Western Australia, such as in the Pilbara, in which these snakes are sympatric with pigmy pythons. The range for these species of pythons extends eastward across the greater Australian interior though they don’t exist in the coastal regions.
The eastern borderline associated with their range is comprised of the Great Dividing Range. The barrier isn’t absolute. Two species of pythons share a small region for hybridization within the neighborhood of Mt. Isa in Queensland. At the same time, A. stimsoni and A. children hybridize together along the northern part of the range.
Nocturnal in general, the Stimson’s pythons occupy the hollows, crevices, and holes created by other animals, which offer them a well-controlled climate. These snakes are ambush predators that spend their time mostly in waiting for their prey, trapping, and slaying them through constriction.
When fed properly, the young Stimson’s pythons will shed every 6 to 8 weeks. Adults shed every 8 to 10 weeks. The process of shedding typically lasts for 9 days, though several factors can affect it, such as the temperature.
If the temperature stays low for longer, that would mean the interval period between sheds and time taken for shedding extends. The Stimson’s pythons undergoing the shed process will experience some temporary changes:
- Their undertails become milky
- The snakes refuse to eat
- Their underbodies are also milky
- Their eyes are milky as if they have cataracts
- Their skin is wrinkly and darker
Everything will go back to normal as soon as these snakes are done with shedding their old skin. Snakes that shed will refuse to eat, so it’s best not to try feeding them until the shedding is over.
Stimson’s pythons become sexually mature between the age of 2 and 3. These snakes, together with the spotted and children’s pythons, lay 8 to 14 eggs in one clutch and will have only one clutch every breeding season.
Breeding these pythons may be interesting. However, some of them seem to be hard to feed after hatching, and finding a home for these snakes can be quite challenging.
The usual total of eggs they lay at this phase is still difficult to determine. Most of the time, it stays between the mentioned range. If you choose to incubate the eggs, then you have to keep them in the incubator and set the temperature between 30 and 32 degreed. Leave the eggs in the incubator for around 55 days.
Young snakes can be nervous and may bite. However, they are quite easy to tame as they settle in the long run through tolerated and constant handling. Do not grip the snakes and limit the movement while handling them. Just let them crawl through your hands. Forcing these snakes to stop moving may become alarmed.
Don’t handle these snakes in the next several days after the last time they ate. Also, refrain from touching them if they are in the pre-slough condition (shedding).
Pythons of all species are active in the daytime and even at nighttime. Their activity depends a lot on the season.
Probing done by the experienced individuals can help determine the gender of these snakes. If you haven’t done this before, then you must not attempt to do so as it can lead to serious damages when done inappropriately. Female pythons are typically heavier and longer than males.
With their short length, the Stimson’s pythons do not require big cages. The younger snakes will love to stay in secretive cages as they don’t like to be exposed to people. Their enclosures must be crafted using timber – a material known for its ability to retain heat.
As cold-blooded reptiles, these snakes need a heat source that can continuously give them a suitable amount of heat. For this, you may look for the best heating tools sold in the pet shops today. You can use these tools in keeping these snakes warm, such as heat cords, heat pads, hear lamps, and many more.
Adding a high-quality thermostat in the enclosures of your pets will also be nice. Also, you need to check the water inside the enclosure. Always give a bowl of fresh and clean water to your pets. You can put the water bowl in the enclosures. Replace the water once every week.
Disinfect the enclosures once every week to prevent your snakes from getting sick. However, these snakes can use whatever as habitats. Their enclosures can be made of wood, plastic, or rock products. On the other hand, the habitat must comprise of clean flooring. For the flooring, you need to change it regularly as part of the routine pet care and enclosure maintenance.
Spot cleaning can be done every day. You can do general cleaning once every month. Make sure the enclosures look new and smell-free every time you clean them. Keeping the enclosures clean will keep your pets happy and active. In cleaning the enclosures, you can use reptile-friendly cleaners that are widely available in the market.
Make sure as well that you take the stools out of the enclosures from the cage. People who come to Australia often work as pet sitters whose job is to look after the pets. If these pet sitters have adequate experience in looking after pythons and know some about carpentry, then they might be more able to provide better service.
Humidity is necessary and must be maintained as low as possible, as extremely low humidity levels can lead them to respiratory infections.
The Stimson’s pythons are active at night and when the lights are off. Thus, lighting isn’t a big issue for these snakes. Still, you can keep a fluorescent bulb or light and observe the day-and-night cycle. Also, UV light is advantageous for Stimson’s pythons but only in a small quantity.
The daytime air temperature must be between 28 and 30 degrees Celsius, while the nighttime must be 22 degrees Celsius or higher. These pythons regulate their body temperature with their activity. Their enclosures must have both warm and cool sides. This way, they will stay feeling cool and comfortable inside regardless of the season.
This temperature gradient inside their enclosures can be maintained by using heat lamps, heaters, and basking lamps. The air movement made by these heating tools will circulate the air inside the enclosures more efficiently. The wattage of the heat lamps will depend on the internal decorations and dimensions of the enclosures.
Hide boxes can help the Stimson’s pythons seek refuge and comfort. These snakes are secretive, so they may get stressed easily when left constantly exposed to humans even inside the enclosures. They want to be in small areas, which will let them lean on the sides of their hide boxes. With the hide boxes, these snakes will feel okay and more comfortable.
A substrate made of particles like pellets and aspen allows the fecal matter to accumulate and be easier to remove. When ingested inside, the fecal matter can pass through the snake’s system smoothly.
The Stimson’s pythons may hide away when not in the mood for hunting, so there should be a hiding spot inside to retreat and feel good for some time. The hide you prefer for your pets will depend on their size. You will find many options to choose from in the pet stores. a water dish is a must-have as well. It covers the needed requirements. The rest will be optional and will depend mainly on your budget and the personality of your pets.
You will find a large range of décor items sold even online, ranging from plants to rocks to basking platforms. It is important to check what people have and design the next enclosures of your pets based on your taste.
Cleaning the enclosures must be done every week. A great cleaning routine includes replacing the water with the fresh one and removing the shed skin or fecal matter. In case there’s a stubborn stain or dirt you need to remove, then you may remove the substrate and decorations by using an F10 solution. Allow enough exposure time for the F10 solution; allow it to work on the area properly before cleaning and rinsing.
It is a growth rate indicator. Young Stimson’s pythons may shed every 4 to 6 weeks and adults at around 3 to 4 times per year. Provide your pets with a right-sized water bowl. Make sure this water bowl will allow your pets to submerge anytime they want to.
Potential Health Issues Among Stimson’s Pythons
These snakes tend to be docile and hardy in most cases. Like other pythons, the Stimson’s pythons appear to suffer from the respiratory infections caused by too much exposure to long-term cold temperatures below 14 degrees Celsius or 57 degrees Fahrenheit and low humidity levels. If your pets have respiratory infections and left undiscovered, then the snakes will become prone to serious problems like pneumonia, which may lead them to death.
These pythons are carnivores. They enjoy food items like small mice, quails, and rats. Don’t give them frogs as these animals can be dangerous to your pets. Follow this piece of advice in feeding your Stimson’s pythons. Buy them foods in the market and store these food items in the back of your fridge to keep them at the stable cooling temperature.
When it’s time for feeding your pet, take one mouse and defrost it. Don’t burn or overheat as the food must be warm and nice. Before throwing the food to the snake, check it first for ice blocks. Once the food is 100% warm and soft, offer it to your pet either with your hand or by using the tweezers.
The snake will strike the food item and coil around it, squeezing it to “death.” The Stimson’s pythons will still constrict the food item before swallowing it whole, just like what they do with live prey. If the snake is not doing this to the mouse, then try making it like moving while it is in the snake’s mouth. The snake will react as it thinks the mouse is trying to escape.
When done, wash your hands and allow the snake to swallow the food thoroughly. Try not to cause disturbance to the animal while it eats. Any creature doesn’t want disturbance while eating.
The best food item for young Stimson’s pythons is a pinky rat to be given once every week. Feed them for now with a small rat and increase its size as the snakes grow. Adult pythons are fine with adult mice, which they should enjoy once in a week.
Remember, don’t feed these snakes with frozen rats or mice. Warm them first, reaching the normal temperature of 38 degrees Celsius. The heat will help the snakes identify the items as foods. Put the rats in the enclosures using tongs for safety purposes.
In some cases, you have to wiggle the foods so that the snakes will assume they are still alive. Also, you need to check your snake’s condition. You need to check the weight, when it sheds the old skin, what and when you fed it.
As said before, snakes of all types will bite. Some animals tend to be calmer, while others tend to be so aggressive. If your pet is aggressive, then you can help it change its behavior by changing how you approach it and how you set up the enclosure. At times, setting up the enclosure is the most tedious part of taking care of a python. Putting it in a frequently crowded room can stress the snake, making it more predisposed to bite.
When picking up the snake, don’t try to do it by its head and tail. It is where the predators attack this animal, so it may bite if you try touching it from those body parts. Instead, try to hold your snake from its side and glide your hand under the midsection. This way, your snake stays calm as you pick it up.
You can also approach the snake by using a snake hook. When the snake strikes the hook, it may struggle to bite you. Also, using a snake hook will help you avoid reacting if the snake tries to bite, which may worsen the situation. It will also help in preventing your pet from getting stressed, which makes it a better experience for you and the snake.
Handling your pet too often can cause stress. You can tell that your pet is stressed when it refuses to eat or when it faces difficulty to shed.
Handling the snake 3 days after the last time, you fed it; the animal may regurgitate the food. Keep in mind that snakes need several days to weeks in swallowing its food.
Stimson’s Pythons as Pets
These snakes can be wonderful pets. Many keepers love to take their pets out of the enclosure, allowing them to climb through their hands and shoulders. It is a fun way to bond with the snake, which you can do in every handling time.
However, be sure not to frighten the hatchlings and young Stimson’s pythons. Handle baby pythons one minute every day. A week after, if the snake eats, start handling it for 2 minutes every day. After feeding it for the second time, start handling it for up to 4 minutes. If the snake eats on weekends, continue adding 2 minutes to the current handling time.
If the snake refuses to feed and the shed cycle isn’t apparent, then leave it alone for one week. When the snake eats, begin at the last handling period. Young and adult snakes love to go outside to bask, explore the grass, and wander all over the garden.
Watch your pet carefully. You will see it spending more of its time in a specific spot or grass type. It may even go underneath the sprinkler and take a bath. All those activities are okay for the animal for as long as the garden or lawn is free from any harmful chemicals. Also, space must be free from predators. Even your dog can be a predator.
Availability – Where to Get One?
You may buy Stimson’s pythons from the local and online pet stores and breeders near you.
How to Care for a Stimson’s Python?
These pythons are easy to take care of. You just need to provide them good enclosures, hide boxes, large water bowls, accessories, and everything else they need to stay happy and active. Also, you need to feed them well. Watch carefully the frequency of feeding and the size of food items you’re giving as you don’t want your snake to be overweight or obese.
Facts about the Stimson’s python
- These snakes are non-venomous. All pythons are non-venomous.
- Stimson’s pythons can be great pets for families. However, you need to get a license and do research about proper care for these snakes.
- A lot of people incorrectly spell and pronounce their name as Stimpson’s pythons. There is no letter “P” in their name.
- Female snakes incubate the eggs by coiling up around them. The snakes even shiver to maintain the ideal temperature for incubation.
- These snakes are ambush predators. They wait patiently for mammals and small lizards.
How long do Stimson’s pythons live?
These snakes can live for 15 to 25 years. These snakes can grow for decades, provided that you give them proper care.
Are Stimson’s pythons venomous?
Pythons, including these snakes, are non-venomous. They don’t have fangs, so they kill their prey by using their fangs.
Are Stimson’s pythons good pets?
The Stimson’s pythons are good pets. They are a good choice of reptile pets for families.
Are Stimson’s pythons aggressive?
At first, these snakes can be nervous and may bite as they are adjusting to their new environment. They eventually tame and become docile with regular, proper handling.
Do Stimson’s pythons bite?
These snakes may bite when threatened. Proper handling must be done as touching them on their heads or tails can cause them to be nervous.
Do Stimson’s pythons love to be held?
Handling these snakes can be difficult when they are new to your home. Just give them time and help them realize that you are not a threat.
How do Stimson’s pythons kill their prey?
The Stimson’s pythons don’t have fangs that produce a deadly venom. Instead, they kill their prey by wrapping their bodies around their victims, constricting and squeezing them to death.