Image Credit : Mickael Leger Photographie
Antaresia childreni is one of the smallest pythons not only in Australia, but in the world. The crown scales are enlarged while those on the body are small and smooth, with a rainbow sheen that can be seen when exposed to direct sunlight. Dorsum is brown with darker spots in five or six longitudinal series. A dark streak on each side of the head, passes through the eye.
Lips are yellowish, spotted with brown. The ventrum is uniformly yellowish. Head is distinct from neck. Nostril is superolateral, in a large semi divided nasal. Eye is moderate in size, with vertical pupil. Body is slightly laterally compressed.
- Scientific name : Antaresia childreni
- Distribution : Australia (North Territory, Queensland, West Australia)
- Average Size : 1.00 m (3 ft)
- Life Span : 20 years or more
- Difficulty : Beginner
New-born can be housed for around 12 months in a 5litre tub; juveniles and adults can either be maintained in a 0.6 x 0.6 x 0.45 meters (2 x 2 x 1.5 feet) enclosure. It is recommended that newborns are housed individually as there have been many accounts of accidental cannibalism which have in most cases resulted in the death of both pythons. They are a species that will take advantage of both terrestrial and arboreal areas if exposed to. In the enclosure you should provide some branches because of their ability to climb in order to simulate their natural behavior.
A hide box should be offered to allow them to seek refuge and reduce stress at both sides of the enclosure. They prefer small areas that allows them to touch the sides of the hide.
Particle substrate ( aspen, pellets) is preferred to allow fecal matter to cluster and be easily removed, also if ingested it can pass through the python’s system without any issue.
Lighting – Heating
Although all of the Antaresia species are nocturna it is recommended to provide a natural light pattern that mimics normal daytime according to the season.. Although the python may be nocturnal, they need access to basking sites of maximum temperature of 36 ºC (96 ºF) and a refuge spot of 26 ºC (78 ºF).
Clean fresh water should be offered weekly, if the water is soiled it should be removed immediately and replaced with fresh water. The bowl should be large enough to allow the Python to submerse if necessary during times of shedding issues.
Humidity is needed to be kept as low as possible, as they suffer from Respiratory Infections in high to extreme levels of humidity.
Rodents are recommended as they are usually easier to acquire; some juveniles will accept small bird species as well as rodents. Mice and rats can be offered either freshly killed or defrosted from frozen. Use the head size of the python as a scale of food size, usually around twice the size is best for juveniles while adults can take around four times the size. Food for neonates and juveniles should be offered every 5-7 days; adults 7-10 days.
Handling of juveniles should be kept to minimum as they can be easily stressed which can lead to them to stop feeding. Its best to use a small hook to remove juveniles from their enclosure prior to handling as they will be defensive; adults become amendable and can be handled freely. Handling should be avoided around shedding and post feeding.
Cleaning should take place weekly; a good routine should include fresh clean water and the removal of any shed skin and fecal matter. In the case of needing to remove stubborn material; removal of all cage substrate and furnishings is needed along with using an F10 solution. You should allow ample exposure time for the F10 solution to work before cleaning.
Shedding is a indication of growth rate; juveniles can be expected to shed every 4-6 weeks and adults around 3-4 time per year. Provide an ample sized water bowl to allow the Python to submerge if necessary.
Potential Health Problems
All the Antaresia species tend to be tolerant and hardy Pythons for most reptile keepers. Like all pythons, they seem to suffer from respiratory infections which derives from excessive exposure to humidity and long term cold temps under 14 ºC ( 57 ºF). If a respiratory infection is left undiscovered, the Python can become susceptible to Pneumonia and death can usually follow.
The information contained in this care sheet reflect the opinions and methods of the mentioned breeder, based on their expertise and long-established experience.