Angolan Python

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Python anchietae is a rare species seldom seen in the wild or in captivity, it is the only python to have “bead-like” head scales. It is named after the Portuguese naturalist and explorer José Alberto de Oliveira Anchieta.

The color pattern is a reddish-brown to brown to almost black ground, overlaid with irregular white or cream colored bands and spots. The belly is yellowish. Python anchietae has heat sensitive pits, five on each side of the head, on the upper lip.

  • Scientific name : Python anchietae
  • Distribution : Southern Africa
  • Average Size : 1.6 m (5 ft)
  • Life Span : 25 years or more
  • Difficulty : Intermediate


Angolans come from a rocky dry climate but will hide under rocks and ledges where there is more moisture. Babies can be started in enclosures as small as 10 gallons. At around a year old you can increase the size of the enclosure. There are several kinds of enclosures that work for Angolan pythons, ie, glass aquariums, snake racks and any of the commercially available, plastic-type reptile cages. At a yearling you can step up to an enclosure that is at least 0.7 x 0.3 meters (2.5 x 1 feet) or go to the adult enclosure size. Adults do good in a tank at least 0.9 x 0.45 meters (3 x 1.5 feet).

Hide box

If you use a glass tank you will want to provide a humid hide. That is a hide that has some damp moss in it for extra humidity. A shy snake will feel more secure if there is a hide for him on the cool side and the warm side of the enclosure.


You can use many types of bedding for your angolan. The ones that work the best are reptile bark, aspen, jungle mix, eco earth and forest floor.

Lighting – Heating

Angolans originate from Africa and they like it pretty warm. Like all reptiles they are dependent on external thermoregulation to control their body temperature. This essentially means you need to provide a hot side and a cool side to your enclosure. All the lighting and heat elements should be on one side and the other side will then be the cool side. This way your angolan can move back and forth between the different temperatures depending on his or her needs. The hot side basking spot should be at 30-32 °C (87-90 °F). Put one hide there and another hide on the cool side. The cool side can be between 24-27 °C (75-80 °F). At night it can drop down to 22 °C (72 °F) ambient temperature.
It’s a good idea to use a basking light and an under tank heat pad also. The heat pads are usually placed on the hot side with a hide over it. We recommend a heat pad that stays on 24/7 to give them a little bit of supplemental heat during the night. Both of these are placed on the outside underneath the enclosure. You want a heat pad that only covers half the tank (or less). The basking light should be housed in a good quality light dome that has a ceramic housing to tolerate high heat and an on/off switch.
Use a good quality temperature gauge to figure out the temperatures in your enclosure. Don’t guess at it. You can also use a rheostat and/or timers to control your heat source. We do not recommend the use of hot rocks. They have a tendency to heat unevenly over too small an area and can cause serious burns.


Keep a non-porous water bowl in with your angolan and make sure he always has clean water. Scrub the bowl at least once a week to keep bacteria slime from building up.


If you maintain a humidity level of about 50ish % your angolan python will be able to shed properly. Hand misters are usually sufficient but if you don’t like to remember to mist the cage an automatic mister can be helpful.


Do not handle your angolan for several hours before you are going to feed it. Angolans are generally not picky eaters and will usually take frozen thawed or live mice/rats. For hatchlings up to 2 years old feed your snake 1 rodent of appropriate size once a week. This means the girth of the rodent should not exceed the girth of the snake (at it’s biggest point, not his neck size) Some people say you can give them rodents 1 1/2 times as big as the girth of the snake. However, we have found that angolans eat better if you don’t exceed the girth of the snake. Do not handle your snake for at least 24 hours after it has eaten. For adults you can cut back to 1 rodent every 2 weeks if you want.
If you do this make sure it is a decent size meal, don’t skimp or continue on the once a week regime with a slightly smaller meal than if you are feeding every two weeks. Some angolan pythons will go off food in the winter months. Babies usually will eat through the winter as long as they are warm enough. If your angolan wants to skip some meals in winter, just keep an eye on the snake’s overall condition and body weight. Typically with a healthy angolan python this is nothing to worry about. If your angolan is healthy and your husbandry and temperatures and good, then just only offer your python food every 2 weeks or so until it starts eating again.


When holding your pet always remember to support your snakes body. Once your angolan python realizes that you will not hurt it they often seem to enjoy being handled. Avoid touching the top of your new pythons head. Unless he knows and trusts you, touching the top of his head will cause him to jerk back away from the touch. The fast movement of the snake tends to scare a lot of new snake owners. This is called being “head shy.” Most snakes will get over it with gentle handling.


Spot clean the bedding whenever they defecate. You should only need to clean the whole thing out about once a month. Disinfect the enclosure and change out the bedding at that time. Vinegar and water or ready made products both work good for cage cleaning.


Snakes in general tend not to eat when they are in shed. Just wait to feed until your angolan sheds.

Potential Health Problems

Snakes that are not kept at the recommended temperatures or humidity levels will be prone to getting upper respiratory infections and could have trouble digesting their food.


Reptile Rapture

The information contained in this care sheet reflect the opinions and methods of the mentioned breeder, based on their expertise and long-established experience.