Image Credit : Mickael Leger Photographie
The Papuan python is a big and very beautiful python species with their fantastic ability to change color, their incredibly iridescence and last but not least, their amazing bulky head with the huge contrasted scales.
Color wise can these snakes range from light khaki greens into jet-black snakes, and even display two colors at once on occasions with their upper back being dark, and their laterals and down being light. This snake only truly shows its beauty when seen live.
- Scientific name : Apodora papuana
- Distribution : New Guinea, Indonesia (Misool and Irian Jaya)
- Average Size : 3.5 m (11.5 ft)
- Life Span : 20 years or more
- Difficulty : Intermediate
Babies to juveniles are easily housed in a box/rack system with a fitting box. If you want to use a cage for juveniles, a 0.6 x 0.5 x 0.6 meters (2 x 1.6 x 2 feet) cage works perfectly for one specimen. Because this species is carnivorous, they should at all costs only be housed alone.
Adult specimens require much larger cage space, as they can be quite active snakes on occasions. Cages of 1.8 x 0.9 x 0.5 meters (6 x 3 x 1.6 feet) would be a minimum to very large adults. I have used Herptek for adult snakes with great success.
Every snake have a hide box matching their size. Babies and young are more secure in a tight hide; weather adults can be given a bit more space for their hide box.
As substrate I use newspaper for small juveniles, and cypress mulch for adults.
Lighting – Heating
Animals are kept with 12 hours heat and light daily, all year round.
These snakes don’t like it too hot or too cold, as they live in an environment that pretty much stays the same temperature all year round. I use “heating from above” as I find it more natural, so that means a lightbulb or a heat panel set on a hotspot of 29-31 °C (84-87 °F), with the colder end being around 22-25 °C (71-77 °F).
In the night all heat is shut off and hits the room temperature that can get as low as 20 °C (68 °F) in the colder months.
I offer the snakes a large water bowl to raise humidity and for them to soak in on hot summer days. These snakes do generally not like too much water, and I rarely see them soak, and never spray water on them directly.
I keep my Apodora papuana at the humidity level of 60-70%.
These snakes are super ferocious and will eat almost anything offered. Their body type is very slender, and their metabolism is incredibly high like a reticulated or scrub python. It is therefore important that these snakes are not fed too much as obese animals almost never reproduce in captivity. In the wild these animals have been observed eating huge prey items such as wallabies and large possums.
Babies and juveniles are fed once every 7 days with a large meal(babies can take adult mice from first feeding). Adults are fed once ever 3-4 weeks with several large rats (3-5 pieces) or one large prey item (rabbit etc). I recommend only to feed non fat large rats, to keep the snakes lean and hungry.
This species is very territorial and are masters of bluff! Babies have a Jet-black mouth and are willingly displaying it when disturbed. Once first taken out by hook from their territory(cage) they seldom display aggressive behavior.
Adults are just as babies territorial inside their cage and will often hiss loud, make “headbutts” at you(strikes with closed mouth) or make short strikes with mouth open. These are again just a territorial thing, and as soon as you let them know its cleaning or handling time (by using a hook and slowly moving it out of the cage) they never show any aggression whatsoever. These snakes do move around fairly quick and are incredible strong snakes, so you should always be 2 people around an adult Papuan python while handling.
Here at ReptileTalk we recommend Get Hooked LLC for custom made handling tools. Handle your snake with the right tools.
Depends on the type of substrate you are using. If you are using cypress mulch, spot cleaning of feces will work but try to change the whole substrate every 1 or 2 months (depending on the size of the enclosure). If using newspaper you must change it every week.
When in shed like all snakes, they benefit from a slight increase in humidity and may even make use of a humid hide created by placing moist sphagnum moss inside of a hide.
Potential Health Problems
When your new snake have started to feed, you pretty much wait until you have a fecal from it, that you should take to the VET. I have seen many wildcaught Apodora papuana, and all of them have had some sort of internal parasite! I even had a snake go 10 years in captivity before showing any signs of illness or problems, that only revealed itself when under sufficient amount of stress (egglaying). So even if your new Papuan python appear healthy, get it to the vet for a check-up.
It is known that young animals and babies can get blister disease, under too humid conditions.
The information contained in this care sheet reflect the opinions and methods of the mentioned breeder, based on their expertise and long-established experience.