The Blood Python can be found in areas of Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. They prefer to live in marshy fields and forests. Blood pythons are thrilling snakes to own, and their care requirements are not overwhelming.
A blood python can reach a length of 6-8 feet when fully grown. Their bodies are very similar to ball pythons because they are short and have a very wide girth. Blood pythons get their name from the distinct red coloration running down their body. Today there are many morphs of blood python like magpie and frostbite which are generally much more expensive. If cared for properly, these pythons can live up to 25 years of age.
Blood pythons can be unpredictable on an individual basis. Some will be very tame and understanding while others will bite and fight anything that enters their cage. This mainly occurs with wild caught pythons, as more are becoming captive bred, their temperaments are improving. Never touch or get near a python that is not looking at you or does not know of your presence because when startled they may bite you.
Like most snakes, the blood python will eat small mammals. As hatchlings, they will eat small mice. Food items should make a noticeable bulge in your snake, but it should not be uncomfortably large. A good rule is that the prey should be 125% the size of your snake's widest point. Adult pythons will consume rats, guinea pigs, and even smaller rabbits.
Adults need to eat every 7-10 days and hatchlings should be fed every 5-7 days because they will be growing rapidly. Using pre-killed food is much safer and easier for you and your snake. Live food can bite and injure your snake, and is not recommended.
Do not handle your snake within 48 hours of its last feeding because it will regurgitate its last meal if you upset its stomach.
Hatchling and juvenile blood pythons can start out in a 10-20 gallon enclosure. Full sized pythons, however, need 10 square feet of floor space. The height of the enclosure does not matter because they are not arboreal.
Since the only factor in enclosure size is floor space, keepers either use an aquarium with a mesh lid, build their own enclosure or use large plastic storage boxes with drilled holes for ventilation. All three options work well, but it is important to include plenty of ventilation. The number one problem with pythons is the lack or room for them to move around, so as adults, more room is better. Never house two males together because they will fight and stress each other out, and only house a male and a female together if you plan on breeding. Blood pythons are very solitary animals and live best on their own.
Newspaper is an inexpensive and clean substrate to use. If you are looking for a substrate that is more natural or decorative, use eco earth or coconut bark. All of these options hold moisture well. Do not use pine or cedar wood chips because their fumes are very toxic to reptiles.
Give your snake an option of at least two different hides on opposite sides of the enclosure. These hides should be dark and snug for your snake so it feels safe and protected. Improper shelter conditions will cause stress on the snake.
Blood pythons require a basking spot of 85-90F on one end of the cage because they need heat to function. The rest of the cage can stay at room temperature. It is important that the snake has a choice of temperatures. The heat required for the basking spot can be maintained with an overhead light bulb. Do not use heat pads because blood pythons are known for burrowing and they may burn themselves. No extra UVA/UVB lighting is required for this species.
Blood pythons need a form of extra humidity to avoid dehydration. A humid hide filled with paper towels or peat moss can be used and maintained. Another option is to mist down the entire enclosure three times a week. Also provide a water bowl that is kept clean and full of fresh water.
Replace newspaper substrates when soiled, and loose substrates every 2 months. Spot clean daily and keep the water bowl full and clean.
Before you think about breeding two blood pythons, check to make sure the male and the female are fully grown, about two years of age, and are completely healthy. Once you are ready to breed you can introduce the two. There is no need to alter their environment during the breeding season such as lowering the heat or changing humidity percentages. Mating will likely occur within a week, and the female will lay her eggs in approximately 45 days. During this time feeding will stop and the male and the female can be separated again.
As the female gets ready to lay her eggs provide her with a lay box filled with sphagnum moss or vermiculite, and keep it moist. A blood python's clutch of eggs is around 10-15. Once egg laying is completed, the eggs should be moved to an incubator because the female will not protect them. The eggs need to be kept at 88F for two months before they hatch.
Hatchling blood pythons will not make their first shed for up to three months after they are born. They can start to be fed after a week since birth. A ten-gallon enclosure is suitable for the first four months of life. Feed babies small mice and keep them on newspaper so they can be carefully monitored.
Blood pythons are similar to ball pythons, and they are magnificent and striking pythons, that have intermediate care requirements. Remember, do your research before buying any pet so that it can live happily and healthily.
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