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Spotted Python - New Frontier Story

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Posted by: Ameron at Thu Mar 21 21:58:38 2013  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Ameron ]  
   

A reptile lover all my life, I’ve mostly kept snakes since they are more easy & inexpensive to maintain than lizards or turtles. I’ve kept King, Milk, Corn, Rat, Garter & Gopher snakes – but I previously regarded Pythons as being too primitive & big to keep.

Last January on my 53rd birthday, a Reptile Expo occurred in a local Holiday Inn. In the plastic cups & displays, I saw the usual suspects: Kingsnakes, Ball Pythons, Corn Snakes. I also noticed a strong newcomer: Carpet Pythons. There were many dealers selling several species of various sizes, and the Complete Care book was one of the thickest and most complete I’ve seen in the industry. I was impressed & intrigued.

Despite already having two existing snakes in naturalistic setups, I was “bitten” by the python obsession and began researching them. I assured myself that I would not get another snake, and that this was all just snake research. On Day 3 of researching, my housemate said to me, “Is another snake in the works?”. I told him, “No”.

I initially coveted a Bredl’s Python most, but my interest later shifted to the Childrens group due to their small size, temperament and cost. I wanted a Spotted or a Stimson’s, and I wanted a male – adult if possible. I found a dealer in eastern WA that had a Spotted Granite phase only; a dealer in Portland had only Cape York hatchling females.

On Day 4, I phoned to a local pet shop known for their advanced knowledge of reptiles, their high quality selection and a separate venomous snake museum. They had a pair of Children’s that they were not selling, so I asked if I could stop by just to see them. Then I heard the casual comment that changed my life: “We also have a male Spotted Python”.

I drove to the pet store and bought the Spotted Python, then made hasty arrangements to redo my 55-gallon terrarium as the new “Carnarvon Gorge” biome for my Spotted Python. In the two months that I’ve had him, I’ve discovered some interesting surprises:

1) Field researchers often find Spotted Pythons in pairs! Two or three different research groups were consistently finding Male/Female couples under cover. In the wild, they may be social creatures which often hang out in adult pairs. I’ve never heard of this behavior with other snakes.

2) The claim that they do NOT feed on other snakes is not necessarily true:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtjbJm17kfk

3) The claim that they do NOT bask during daylight is likely not necessarily true. Mine remains out on his heated rock or branches most of the day when I use an infrared red bulb. If I use a regular light bulb during the day, he retreats to a hide. (Carpet Pythons are likely seen basking during the day more often only because they are larger and are more easily seen. Spotted Pythons likely bask in concealed cracks or under shrubs due to their smaller size.)

4) They are much more temperature-tolerant than what most online literature suggests. (I laugh every time I see a web site stating to keep night temperatures above 75 degrees.) Australian weather is erratic & EXTREME. Even in sub-tropical Queensland, winter temperatures have reached 32 degrees Fahrenheit – and colder. Many locations of Queensland have night temperatures in the 50s or 60s; winter temperatures can dip into the 40s. The Bunya Mountains have a climate very similar to Portland, Oregon.

As many other Herpers have found, mine tends to like his temperatures somewhat cool. Only my basking spot has temperatures of 85 degrees or higher; the rest of his biome has air temperatures in the 70s and low 80s. He often rests in a cool corner next to his water pool.

There is just something about my Python that other snakes lack. Maybe his cute, gecko-like face, or his unique character? I’ve also noticed a similar trait among Python owners; they seem just *one notch more* excited about their snakes than are most Herpers.

Mine was active for over 8 daytime hours on the second day after being introduced into his naturalistic biome. I see him daily either at the heated rock (under-tank heat mat) or basking on upper branches under the infrared heat bulb. He moves often and is very fun to watch explore his home. He is very placid and handles very well. I can hardly wait for warmer days allowing outside exercise sessions.

I hope that this post accelerates activity on this forum. If you have fun or unique stories to tell about your python, please share. Pythons are a new Frontier for me.

1.0 Antaresia maculosa “Guardian”
0.1 Pantherophis guttatus (Carolina) “Amazing Grace”
1.0 Elaphe schrencki “Khan”
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