The Children's Python did not get its name from those kids running across your lawn, but rather the person who discovered them, John Children. They are found in northern Australia and stay less than 4 feet long. Like all other pythons, they will eat appropriately sized mice.
Adults will only reach a length of 2-3 feet and stay fairly skinny. Children's pythons are about half the size of a ball python. These snakes have faded splotches of brown or black on a tan body. They look like this so they can blend into their environment. If you care for your Children's python properly, they can live to 20 years of age. Sadly, many keepers don't understand the proper care for this python and they never have a chance to reach their full age.
Children's pythons are fairly docile snakes and if you handle them regularly, you should have no problems with them. Younger pythons can be a little jumpy at first, but they will settle down as they mature.
Give your Children's python 48 hours before handling after you feed him or her. If you hold them as they are digesting, they may regurgitate their food.
Adult pythons will eat a mouse once a week. The mouse needs to have a little more girth than the snake, or about 10% of its body weight. Smaller Children's pythons can be fed a pinkie mouse every 5 days or so. You do not need to supplement the mouse because it was raised and fed with everything a Children's python needs.
When feeding your snake, it is better to feed frozen then thawed mice over live mice. Live mice can fight back and possibly injure your snake. They are also less healthy and smell much worse.
Because of their smaller size the Children's pythons do not need very large enclosures. A 15-20 gallon enclosure will fit a single adult and a 5-10 gallon enclosure will work well for younger pythons. For pythons under 2 months old keep them in a plastic shoebox with a screen lid.
The Children's python will climb on any branches that you put into the enclosure. Make sure all the branches are secure and will not fall and injure your snake.
The easiest substrate for this species is aspen bedding. Aspen bedding is a popular, and effective substrate that is easy to use and replace. Put down about 1-2 inches of the bedding and replace it every 2-4 months. Other things that can be used are paper towels and newspaper. These substrates are good for baby pythons and if you need a readily available substrate.
There should be 2 shelters, one on each side of the enclosure. These hides can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. Some easy ideas are butter containers with a hole cut in them, an empty macaroni box or any other ideas you can think of. A good hide box will fit your snake snugly. They need to feel secure and safe inside of them so the hide shouldn't be too tight or too loose.
You can also add some fake vines among the branches in the enclosure. They look nice and will be used by your Children's python.
A basking spot of 90F is required for the Children's python. They need the warmth heat to digest food and make energy in their body. The basking spot should consist of an overhead light bulb that rests on the screen on top of the cage. Under tank heaters can be used as well, but they are less reliable and when your snake is off the ground, it will not be warm.
The other side of the cage can stay 75-80F so they can thermoregulate. Do not use hot rocks or anything similar to heat your cage because they get extremely hot, and have melted the scales off of many reptiles. There is nothing proven that UV lighting will benefit Children's pythons, so they are not needed.
Since they are from Australia, they do not require a high amount of humidity. A small water dish is fine for them.
Replace loose substrates every 2-3 months and paper substrates when soiled. Remove feces and spot clean daily. A Children's python is fairly low maintenance and cleaning will only take 5 minutes of your time each week.
Children's pythons are easy to breed. They do not require any fancy set ups or specific temperatures. All you need is a fully mature female and male. The two pythons can be kept together for about 2-3 weeks to guarantee mating has occurred. You will know when a female is gravid with her eggs because she will stay in the same place and limit her movements. It is also common for the females to stop eating once they are gravid.
If you don't have one already, place a humid hide in the female's cage. This is where she will lay her eggs about 90 days after mating has occurred. The eggs will be laid in the humid hide, which should stay fairly humid, but not dripping wet. Once you see eggs, you have two options. The eggs can either stay in the humid hide until they hatch, or you can put these eggs in an artificial incubator. You may get better results with an artificial incubator, but if you leave then in the warm, moist humid hide, you don't have to worry about handling and risk of killing the eggs.
The hatchling pythons should be separated from the mother's cage or removed from the incubator as soon as they are moving around. When housing the hatchlings, you can keep them all together, keep them in groups, or keep them individually. There are pros and cons to all of the options, but you will find the most success if you keep them in groups of 3-4. That way you can observe the hatchlings and make sure each snake is eating, growing and developing properly.
A 5-10 gallon enclosure can hold 4 Children's pythons, but a bigger cage will be needed because they will grow fast. Give the newly hatched pythons a week before offering food because they will still be living off of the nutrients that were in the egg. Provide a lot of secure hides for the baby snakes. 1-2 hides per snake should be found in the cage.
The Children's python may be the perfect beginner snake. They stay at a small and manageable size and only need to be fed once a week. They do not require a huge enclosure and can be held and played with daily. You can't go wrong with a Children's python. Remember, do your research before buying any pet so that it can live happily and healthily.
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