Blood and Short-tailed

Python Care Sheet

Three Short-Tailed Pythons

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.

Choose the Source, Then the Blood Python

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 What Goes In Will Come Out, Eventually

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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