BLOOD AND SHORT-TAILED PYTHON

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Blood and Short-tailed

Python Care Sheet

BloodPython

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Three Short-Tailed Pythons

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viagra wirkungsdauer stunden Borneo short-tailed pythons (P. breitensteini) occur on the island of Borneo, and vary in appearance from dark coffee brown to pale tan, with black, white and brown markings. There are several known color morphs, including stripes and “Ultra-breits,” which are beautiful, pale snakes with highly reduced patterns. Borneo short-tails are often referred to as “Borneo blood pythons,” a practice we discourage, as it causes confusion regarding the origin of these animals.

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Choose the Source, Then the Blood Python

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Blood Python Housing

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Our first choice of substrate is layered kraft paper. The pythons will often burrow between the layers, which then double as a hide. Newspaper is an equally effective, inexpensive alternative. We also use aspen chips in some of our cages, with a layer of kraft paper over the chips. We spot clean the aspen as necessary, ensuring that the remaining substrate is fresh and smells clean. Soiled bedding is always replaced when needed.

We maintain our collection at 80 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and allow the temperature to drop to 78 degrees for an overnight low. Bloods and short-tails of all ages thrive at stable temperatures within this range. Excessively warm temperatures can cause undue stress. Most of our snakes do not have basking spots, but those that do are given supplemental heat in the 86- to 88-degree range. Always check your cage and snake room temps with a digital thermometer or temperature gun.

Blood and short-tailed pythons drink copiously, and their water should always be fresh and clean. Changing water is our most frequent husbandry activity, and we keep spare water bowls on hand to simplify the process. Water cups are always disinfected and allowed to dry prior to being used again. We use 8-ounce deli cups to provide water to our hatchlings, 16-ounce cups that sit in 4-inch-diameter PVC holders for juveniles and sub-adults, and 9-inch-diameter, 96-ounce plastic cups for adults.

These snakes love to soak and will do so if you provide a container large enough. If your short-tailed python spends the majority of time in its water bowl, check whether the cage is too warm. Also ensure that there is an alternative hide spot available, and that the snake isn’t suffering from an infestation of snake mites. All of these factors can lead to excessive soaking.

When acquiring a new blood python, set up the enclosure and regulate temperatures so that everything is stable by the time your snake arrives. This will make the acclimation process easier on both of you.

Blood Python Water and Humidity

Correct humidity for bloods and short-tails isn’t a mystery or a challenge — it’s a simple balancing act. They don’t need soaking wet cages and may fail to thrive in such conditions. When kept too wet, they develop crinkly skin, and the chances of respiratory problems increase. On the other hand, a dry cage will usually result in retained sheds, whether in pieces or the complete skin. We maintain our bloods and short-tails at humidity levels of 60 to 70 percent. The plastic racks and tubs we use make this easy to regulate, while providing proper ventilation and fresh air.

When our pythons go into shed, we spray their tubs to raise humidity, and do so until they shed. Otherwise, the combination of ventilated plastic enclosures, ambient temperatures in the low 80s and evaporation from the snakes’ water bowls keeps ambient humidity within the preferred range.

Blood Python Food

A common misconception about blood pythons is that they must eat large meals, due to their considerable girth. Actually, these are fuel-efficient pythons that don’t cost a fortune to feed properly. In fact, blood and short-tailed pythons have enormous appetites and slow metabolisms, a combination that can easily lead to obesity if they’re overfed.

These snakes thrive on rats, from the time they are juveniles all the way into adulthood. While we start our hatchlings on live hopper mice, within a few meals they switch to pre-killed fuzzy rats offered off tongs once a week. We continue to offer appropriately sized rats on a weekly basis as our snakes mature. By the time they are 3 years old, we’re feeding them every 14 days. We feed medium or large rats to snakes that are 4 to 5 feet in length, and weigh between 10 and 15 pounds. Snakes prone to gaining too much weight are given smaller meals, or else fed every 21 days. Blood and short-tailed pythons can be conditioned to take pre-killed or frozen-thawed prey off tongs, or it can be left within the cage.

Feeding is usually a no-fuss process, but an occasional picky python may turn its nose up at first. Keep in mind that these snakes rely heavily on their supralabial (upper) and infralabial (lower) heat pits — the “holes” in their lips that are specialized, heat-receptive scales that they use to locate prey — and a dead rodent at room temperature isn’t much of a target. If your snake seems disinterested in feeding, try warming up the rodent immediately prior to offering it to your snake, by using a heating pad or heat lamp for a few minutes, or soaking the rat in hot water (either directly, or by first placing it in a plastic bag before putting it in the water). Make sure the rat is not uncomfortably hot to the touch before feeding your snake. Also, don’t leave a rat belly-down on a heating pad for too long. This can weaken the rodent’s abdominal skin, and could result in a messy, exploding rat upon constriction!

 What Goes In Will Come Out, Eventually

A common concern among new short-tailed python keepers is the infrequency with which these snakes defecate. It is not unusual for them to go four months or longer without defecating, yet they’ll continue to feed regularly. We think this is another great characteristic of these snakes — we spend less time cleaning python poop and more time enjoying our pythons! Nevertheless, this may be unsettling if you’re just starting out with these species. We recommend that you keep accurate husbandry records on feeding, shedding and defecation to get a feel for your blood python’s normal behavior.

In our experience, hatchlings and juveniles may defecate as frequently as once a week. Sub-adults and adults fed on a 10- to 14-day schedule will defecate every 30 to 45 days on average, but may easily go longer without raising concerns. In the very few stories we’ve heard of “constipated” bloods, there were other contributing factors, such as dehydration, incorrect temperatures, overfeeding or a combination of these things. Healthy bloods and short-tails that are kept correctly do not normally experience problems with defecation.

Handling a Blood Python

Confident handling is important in building rapport with your blood or short-tailed python. These heavy-bodied snakes need to feel secure when handled, and don’t take well to being dangled haphazardly or draped around your shoulders. Supporting the snake’s body weight with both hands and forearms (for larger snakes) will help accomplish this. Be deliberate when handling your blood python, and don’t grab at the snake or try to restrict its head. Let your snake grow accustomed to gentle handling on a consistent basis, and you will quickly build trust with that animal.

Remember that bloods and short-tails are very vocal when handled — you can expect to hear a variety of huffs and puffs that are completely normal for these species. Keep handling sessions short, sweet and consistent when working with juveniles, and try to end them on a positive note, with the snake relaxed and calm.

The Blood Python “Reputation”

We hear reptile enthusiasts refer to the “typical blood python attitude” and think two things: “Yeah, right! Your boss gives you more attitude than these snakes!” and “You haven’t kept bloods lately, huh?”

Blood pythons initially got a bad rap, temperament-wise, due to wild-caught adult animals that were imported many years ago. Primarily from Malaysia, they were reported to be untrusting creatures that were unpredictable even after years in captivity.

Within the past 10 years, most imported blood pythons have originated from Sumatra. In our experience, they tend to be easygoing animals. We have long-term captive Sumatran bloods that are as calm and trusting as our own captive-bred-and-born pythons, which are some of the friendliest snakes we’ve ever known (sure we’re partial, but it’s the truth).

Over the years, Borneo and Sumatran short-tailed pythons have been lumped together with blood pythons and tagged with the old, negative reputation. The three snakes were actually considered to be subspecies of Python curtus up until the year 2000, when they were each given full species status. The Borneo and Sumatran short-tails are typically docile, beautiful, laid-back snakes as well, regardless of their “guilt by association” with blood pythons.

Welcome to the Future

We think that blood and short-tailed pythons are some of the most rewarding snakes to keep — in fact, they are now the only snakes we keep! They are the ideal size for most keepers: solid and girthy, but not so large that you have to fit an 8-foot cage into your home. They’re easy to feed and maintain. They are alert, docile pythons that can learn to recognize their keepers, and best of all, they’re gorgeous! Whether your preference is the inky black of a Sumatran short-tail, the creamy browns and blondes of a Borneo, or the ultimate wow factor of a knockout red blood python, there’s no denying that these are some of the most beautiful snakes around, and the growing availability of captive-bred stock and the number of enthusiastic keepers working with these pythons ensures that bloods and short-tails are here to stay!

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