Childrens Python Care Sheet

Below is a Childrens python care sheet based upon my experiences with this medium-sized Australian snake.

Children's Python
Antaresia childreni

These pythons get their name not because they are small and tend to have docile personalities, but in honor of John George Children, a 19th century zoological curator at the British Museum. It's amazing how many people just assume the former.

Range: Northern Australia, including the Torres Straight islands.

Physical Description: Hatchlings have deep hazel blotches peppered over a tan base. As the snakes reach maturity they lose some of this defined coloration, but are still beautifully patterned. Children's pythons have a distinct visible rainbow sheen in certain lighting. Unlike Ball pythons, they are not heavy-bodied snakes (they are more comparable to a Corn snake's physical build).

Size: These are the second smallest pythons in the world; only the Anthill python (Antaresia perthensis) is smaller. Children's pythons can reach a full adult length of approximately 3', although 2.5' is much more common.

Behavior: These pythons have a reputation for being manageable not only because of their smaller size, but because of their generally calm demeanor. Hatchlings, however, can be more defensive by nature.

I've found that these snakes are fairly active. For example, if I take the lid off my female's cage, she'll come out from under her hide and face me. In all likelihood, she has learned that I am a source of food.

Enclosure: The best cages for these Australian snakes are shallow, clear plastic bins, in my opinion. Provide adequate ventilation by cutting a large, square hole in the top and covering it will secured plastic screening material. Aquarium tanks can also be used very successfully. You can keep Children's pythons individually, or even in pairs, but make sure you separate them for feedings if they are kept together.

Size-wise, provide a bin or tank that has at least three square feet of floor space for a single snake, or four square feet for a pair. As with many snakes, they will spend a considerable amount of time under cover, and don't need a tremendous amount of space for moving about.

Provide aspen bedding about 1" deep (avoid cedar), and spot clean it preferably every day. Replace all of the aspen bedding once per month, or sooner if necessary. Include a heavy water bowl, and refresh it regularly as
Children's pythons appreciate fresh water.

Include a couple pieces of size-appropriate curved cork bark or similar shelter for the snake to hide in or under. One should be located on the cooler side of the cage, and the other should be over the heat mat. It's not a bad idea to place moistened peat moss or similar material in the cooler hide, as it will aid them in shedding.

Heating & Humidity: Attach a low wattage heat mat to the bottom of the bin (on the exterior), covering 33% to 50% of the cage. This will, in effect, provide a thermal gradient which allows the snake to regulate its own temperature. Use a temp gun and calibrate the inside surface (directly above the heat mat) to 85F to 95F degrees. This is the area where the snake will go to digest its food.

Lighting: Traditional (fluorescent), basking (halogen floods), and UV bulbs are unnecessary for keeping these snakes healthy. The room lights should be fine for regulating their day and night cycles.

Feeding: Hatchling Children's pythons can be fed live pinkie mice. Once in a while, they will refuse to eat, and this can be remedied by scenting the pinkie mouse with a lizard such as a feeder House gecko or even a Green anole. I feed my young pythons two to three pinkies per week, and they grow like weeds.

Adult snakes will take adult thawed mice (
never live). Feeding frequency is partially dependent upon the snake's appetite. Offer your adult pythons around two mice per week. Use mice that are about 1.5x the diameter of the snake at its thickest point. Supplementation is not necessary. These snakes, like most, will fast preceding a shed.

Breeding: Most, if not all, Children's pythons in the U.S. are captive-bred. They are not common, per se, but they are quickly gaining popularity within the reptile market. The age of sexual maturity is debated, but most agree it's likely at two or three years.

The snakes will cycle automatically if you provide a thermal gradient as mentioned above, and will breed often. Be sure you're feeding the female plenty of food prior to breeding. Eggs can be incubated in an incubator, or by the snake itself (she will coil around them). Using an incubator is recommended, on a bed of moistened perlite, at temperatures of 87F to 90F degrees. Make sure you do some research on how to maintain proper humidity levels without exceeding them. This breeding section is meant as a very high-level summary,
not a detailed reference.

Price Range: Approximately $70 to $180, depending on the size (hatchlings are less expensive than juveniles and adults). You can browse our list of pythons for sale on our main website.

Species Notes: These snakes can have lifespans of over 20 years. Antaresia is named after the star Antares. Known as Faded pythons to some, due to the fading of their patterns as the snake ages. One of the few snakes known to hang from cave ceilings in order to catch small bats in flight, which it then consumes.

Summary: Children's pythons are not demanding snakes to keep and breed in captivity, and are highly recommended for both beginner and expert.

Copyright 2011 - BackwaterReptiles.com

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Why buy our reptiles?

We offer exotic reptiles for sale online at absolute rock-bottom prices, which means we make these fascinating animals available to you affordably as pets, or even to start your own reptile breeding project. We are reptile enthusiasts who believe captive breeding is integral to the future of the market, as it not only helps protect wild herp populations, but is an incredibly rewarding experience that tends to intensify one's passion for these amazing prehistoric creatures. Whether you buy a snake, lizard, turtle, tortoise, or alligator, we are driven to provide the highest quality live reptiles for sale.

Why buy our amphibians?

Amphibians are generally slower-moving than reptiles, and have uniquely moist skin which means they are never far from a source of water. Their life cycle is nothing short of incredible: they hatch in water, spend weeks or months in metamorphosis, then become either terrestrial or remain primarily water bound. Some salamanders even breathe through their skin! Our live amphibians for sale online include frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts. Some are huge, some are small, and virtually all are amazing to observe in captivity. When you buy amphibians from us, you can rest assured they are fully guaranteed to arrive alive and in great condition. Why not start an amphibian breeding project today?

Why buy our reptile feeders?

Reptile and amphibian food should be varied, which is why we offer an array of feeder insects for sale. It's always far more cost effective to buy feeder insects in bulk, which often saves up to 70% off pet store prices. Plus, the feeders are delivered right to your doorstep. We offer live crickets for sale, as well as dubia roaches, mealworms, wax worms, nightcrawlers, and now even lizards, all at the lowest possible prices. Our reptile and amphibian feeder insects and lizards include a guarantee of live arrival.

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