Angolan Python: Species Profile & Care Guide

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Angolan python (Python anchietae) is a species of python that is native to Angola, a country in southwestern Africa. It is a nonvenomous snake that is found in a variety of habitats, including savannas, grasslands, and forests. Adult Angolan pythons can grow to be quite large, with some individuals reaching lengths of up to 6 feet.

They are generally docile and not aggressive towards humans, but they can be dangerous if threatened or provoked. Like other pythons, Angolan pythons are constrictors, meaning they kill their prey by wrapping their body around it and squeezing tightly. They primarily feed on small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Angolan Python Overview

Scientific namePython anchietae
Common nameAnchieta’s dwarf python, Angolan python
Adult size4 to 6 feet
Average lifespan30 years
Natural habitatSouthwestern Africa
Dietsmall mammals, birds, and reptiles
HousingTerrarium at least 2ft x 2ft x 22ft

Origin

Angolan pythons (Python anchietae) are native to Angola, a country in southwestern Africa. They are found in a variety of habitats in Angola, including savannas, grasslands, and forests. It is believed that Angolan pythons have been present in this region for a very long time, although there is limited information about their evolutionary history and the precise timing of their origin.

Appearance And Behavior

Angolan pythons, also known as Python anchietae, are a non-venomous species of python found in Angola and Namibia in southern Africa. They are a small to medium-sized species of python, growing to an average length of about 6-8 feet. They are generally a brown or tan color, with darker brown or black markings on their back and sides.

Angolan pythons are primarily nocturnal, and they are found in a variety of habitats including savannas, woodlands, and rocky areas. They are generally docile animals and are not known to be aggressive towards humans. Like other pythons, they are non-venomous constrictors and kill their prey by coiling around it and squeezing until it is unable to breathe.

Angolan Python Snake

Size And Lifespan

Angolan pythons, also known as Python anchietae, are a small to medium-sized species of python, growing to an average length of about 6-8 feet. However, they can reach lengths of up to 12 feet in some cases. As with many species of reptiles, the size and lifespan of an Angolan python can vary depending on a number of factors, including diet, habitat, and overall health.

In general, pythons are long-lived animals and can live for 20-30 years or more in captivity with proper care. In the wild, their lifespan may be shorter due to a variety of factors including predation and disease.

Temperament

Angolan pythons, also known as Python anchietae, are generally docile and are not known to be aggressive towards humans. Like other pythons, they are non-venomous constrictors and do not pose a venomous threat to humans. However, as with any wild animal, it is important to remember that pythons are wild animals and should be treated with caution and respect.

It is always a good idea to use caution when handling any type of python, even if it is a docile species. When threatened or feeling stressed, pythons may become defensive and may try to bite or thrash about in an attempt to protect themselves. In general, pythons are not aggressive animals and do not pose a significant threat to humans, but it is important to handle them with care and respect for their natural behaviors.

Housing Angolan Pythons

When housing Angolan pythons, it is important to provide them with a spacious and secure enclosure that meets their needs and allows them to express their natural behaviors. In general, a python’s enclosure should be at least as long as the snake is, and it should be tall enough to allow the snake to stretch out fully.

The enclosure should also provide plenty of hiding places for the snake to retreat to, as pythons are naturally secretive animals and need a place to feel secure.

The enclosure should have a substrate, such as cypress mulch or aspen shavings, that is easy to clean and helps to maintain proper humidity levels. It is also a good idea to provide a water dish that is large enough for the snake to soak in if it desires.

The enclosure should also have a basking area with a heat source, such as a heat lamp or ceramic heater, to provide a warm and comfortable environment for the snake.

It is important to keep the enclosure clean and well-maintained, as pythons are sensitive to dirty and unhealthy environments. The enclosure should be cleaned on a regular basis, and the substrate should be replaced as needed. Fresh water should also be provided daily.

Enclosure Size

Angolan pythons are native to the desert regions of Angola, Namibia, and South Africa, and they are relatively small compared to some other species of pythons. Adult Angolan pythons typically reach lengths of around 4-5 feet, although some individuals can reach up to 6 feet in length.

In terms of enclosure size, it is generally recommended to provide a minimum of 10 gallons of enclosure space per foot of snake. So for an adult Angolan python, a minimum enclosure size of 40-50 gallons would be recommended. However, it is always better to provide as large of an enclosure as possible, as it will allow the snake to have more room to move around and will create a more naturalistic environment.

Lighting and Temperature

Angolan pythons are native to desert regions and are accustomed to relatively high temperatures and low humidity. In terms of lighting, it is important to provide a basking area with a heat source such as a basking lamp or ceramic heater. The basking area should be kept at a temperature of around 90-100°F, while the rest of the enclosure should be kept at a slightly cooler temperature of around 80-85°F.

It is also important to provide a photoperiod, or a schedule of light and darkness, that simulates the natural day/night cycle. Angolan pythons do not require any special type of lighting, and a regular incandescent bulb or fluorescent bulb can be used to provide the necessary heat and light. It is important to monitor the temperatures and lighting conditions in the enclosure to ensure that they are appropriate for the snake.

Humidity

In terms of humidity, it is important to maintain relatively low levels in the enclosure. Angolan pythons do not require high humidity levels, and in fact, too much humidity can be harmful to them. A humidity level of around 40-50% is generally recommended for these snakes.

It is important to monitor the humidity levels in the enclosure and to use a hygrometer to measure the humidity. If the humidity levels become too high, you can use a dehumidifier or ventilation to decrease the humidity.

Substrate And Decoration

The substrate, or material used as a floor covering in the enclosure, and decoration, or items used to furnish the enclosure, are important factors to consider when setting up an enclosure for an Angolan python.

For the substrate, you can use materials such as cypress mulch, aspen shavings, or coconut coir. These materials are attractive, easy to clean, and safe for the snake to crawl on. Avoid using materials such as pine or cedar shavings, as they can release harmful oils that can be harmful to the snake.

As for decoration, you can provide items such as hiding spots, branches, and climbing structures to furnish the enclosure. These items can help to create a more naturalistic environment for the snake and provide it with opportunities to explore and exercise. It is important to make sure that any items placed in the enclosure are safe for the snake and cannot cause injury.

Cleaning

Cleaning the enclosure of an Angolan python is an important part of caring for the snake. The enclosure should be cleaned regularly to remove waste products and to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria. Here are some steps you can follow to clean the enclosure of an Angolan python:

  1. Remove the snake from the enclosure and place it in a secure holding area.
  2. Remove any soiled substrate and any visible waste products.
  3. Clean all surfaces of the enclosure, including the walls and decorations, with a reptile-safe disinfectant.
  4. Rinse the enclosure thoroughly and allow it to dry completely.
  5. Replace the substrate and any decorations that have been removed.
  6. Place the snake back in the enclosure.

It is important to use a reptile-safe disinfectant to clean the enclosure, as regular cleaning products can be toxic to reptiles. It is also important to make sure that the enclosure is completely dry before returning the snake to it, as snakes are susceptible to respiratory infections if they are kept in damp environments.

Food And Water

Angolan pythons are carnivorous and require a diet of appropriately sized prey items. In the wild, these snakes feed on rodents, birds, and small reptiles. In captivity, they can be fed a diet of mice and rats of appropriate size. It is generally recommended to feed juvenile Angolan pythons every 5-7 days and adult pythons every 7-10 days. The size of the prey item should be roughly the same size as the widest part of the snake’s body.

In terms of water, it is important to provide a clean water source for the snake to drink from. A shallow water dish should be provided at all times, and the water should be changed and the dish cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria. It is also important to mist the enclosure lightly every few days to provide additional moisture and to help maintain proper humidity levels.

Handling

It is important to handle Angolan pythons with care and respect, as they can be sensitive and can become stressed or agitated if handled improperly. Here are some tips for handling Angolan python:

  1. Make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling the snake.
  2. Approach the snake slowly and calmly, and allow it time to acclimate to your presence.
  3. Never grab the snake by the tail, as this can cause injury. Instead, gently support the body of the snake, using your thumb and fingers to hold onto the sides of the body.
  4. Avoid handling the snake immediately after it has eaten, as it will be more vulnerable to regurgitation.
  5. Never leave the snake unattended while handling it, and always be aware of your surroundings to ensure the safety of both you and the snake.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure a safe and stress-free handling experience for both you and the snake.

Common Health Issues

Angolan pythons are generally hardy snakes, but they can still be prone to certain health issues. Some common health issues that may affect Angolan pythons include:

  1. Respiratory infections: These can be caused by a number of factors, including dirty enclosure conditions, inadequate temperature or humidity levels, or a suppressed immune system. Symptoms include nasal discharge, open-mouth breathing, and a decreased appetite.
  2. Mouth rot: This is a bacterial infection that can affect the mouth, gums, and teeth of a snake. It is often caused by poor husbandry practices, such as dirty enclosure conditions or improper feeding techniques. Symptoms include swelling of the mouth, discharge from the mouth, and difficulty eating.
  3. Egg binding: This is a condition that occurs when a female snake is unable to lay her eggs. It can be caused by a number of factors, including obesity, a lack of a suitable laying area, or a calcium deficiency. Symptoms include straining to lay eggs, lethargy, and a decrease in appetite.
  4. Malnutrition: This can be caused by a number of factors, including an improper diet, a lack of access to water, or a lack of appetite. Symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, and a lack of muscle mass.

It’s important to provide your Angolan python with proper care to help prevent these and other health issues. This includes maintaining a clean enclosure, providing the right temperature and humidity levels, feeding your snake a balanced diet, and ensuring that it has access to clean water. If you suspect that your python is experiencing any health issues, it’s important to seek the advice of a veterinarian who is experienced in treating reptiles.

Breeding

Breeding Angolan pythons can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning and preparation. Here are a few things to consider if you are interested in breeding Angolan pythons:

  1. Age and size: Angolan pythons typically reach sexual maturity at around 3-4 years of age, and they should be at least 4-5 feet in length before being bred.
  2. Diet and nutrition: It is important to ensure that both the male and female are in good health and well-nourished before breeding. A diet high in protein and calcium is important for proper egg development in females, and males may benefit from an increase in protein intake to help maintain their weight during the breeding season.
  3. Housing and environment: Angolan pythons should be housed in a spacious enclosure that provides plenty of room for them to move around and thermoregulate. The enclosure should also provide a suitable area for the female to lay her eggs. It is important to maintain the proper temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure to help stimulate breeding behavior.
  4. Breeding behavior: Angolan pythons typically breed in the fall, and the male will court the female by vibrating his tail and rubbing against her. If the female is receptive, she will allow the male to mate with her.
  5. Egg laying and incubation: Once the female has mated, she will lay a clutch of eggs a few weeks later. The eggs should be incubated in a controlled environment, with the temperature and humidity levels maintained at the proper levels for successful hatching.

Breeding Angolan pythons requires a significant investment of time and resources, and it is important to do your research and be prepared before attempting to breed these snakes. If you are considering breeding Angolan pythons, it is a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a reptile breeding expert to get advice and guidance.

Choosing And Buying An Angolan Python

There are a few things to consider when choosing and buying an Angolan python:

  1. Source: It is important to buy your Angolan python from a reputable breeder or pet store. Avoid buying from a place that cannot provide information about the snake’s history or health.
  2. Age: It is generally best to buy a juvenile Angolan python rather than an adult, as they are easier to handle and care for. Juvenile pythons are also more adaptable to new environments.
  3. Size: Consider the size of the snake when choosing one. Angolan pythons can grow quite large, reaching lengths of up to 10 feet or more, so make sure you have enough space to accommodate a full-grown snake.
  4. Health: Look for a snake that is alert and active, with clear eyes and no signs of respiratory infections or other health issues. The snake should also have a clean, dry enclosure.
  5. Price: The price of an Angolan python can vary depending on the age, size, and coloration of the snake. Be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars or more on a healthy, well-bred Angolan python.

It’s important to do your research and be prepared to provide proper care for an Angolan python before buying one. These snakes require a significant investment of time and resources, and it is important to be committed to their care before bringing one into your home. If you are new to reptile ownership, it may be a good idea to start with a smaller, easier-to-care-for species before attempting to care for an Angolan python.

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