This comprehensive care guide will show you how to look after a Children's Python (Antaresia childreni) or Spotted Python (Antaresia maculosa) in 3 easy steps
How long will my Python live? They can live 20+ years
How big will my Python grow? They will grow up to approx 1 metre
What size of tank is recommended for my Python? They require an enclosure of at least 90 x 45 x 60cm
What does a Python eat? - Frozen mice, rats and quails.
How easy is it to look after a python? They are a low maintenance pet
The Antaresia genus which includes children’s, spotted, stimsons and pygmy pythons are amongst the smallest python species in the world.
Being mainly a terrestrial snake (ground dwelling), adult children’s or spotted pythons require an enclosure with adequate floor space, however they will climb if given the opportunity. For one adult python, an enclosure of 90 x 45 x 60cm is recommended. Hatchling pythons should be kept in a smaller enclosure for their first 10-12 months.
It is important that the enclosure has sufficient ventilation and a secure, lockable door. The enclosure can be furnished to re-create the animals natural environment including the use of a background, artificial plants, rock ornaments and timber branches for climbing and basking. An absorbent substrate is also important such as coco fibre or aspen bedding.
Children's Python Care
Pythons have a very specific set of requirements in regards to general care, however if all of these elements are provided they are relatively low maintenance to keep.
Providing adequate temperature gradients within a python’s enclosure is essential for their health and wellbeing. Children’s and spotted pythons require a basking spot maintained between 32-35˚C and a cool end of 22-26˚C during the day. Night time temperatures should not drop below 21˚C. Temperatures should be checked daily and must be regulated with the use of a good quality thermostat. Recommended sources of heat include the use of carbon fibre, ceramic, incandescent, or halogen globes as well as heat mats and heat cords.
Being primarily nocturnal species, ultraviolet light (UV) is not as essential to children’s and spotted pythons as it is to other species of reptile. However, Kellyville Pets recommends the use of UV lighting with all python species. There are a number of positive benefits to a python’s health by providing them with UV lighting. A 7.0 T5 UVB tube is an ideal source of artificial UV light.
Pythons require a ‘day and night’ cycle with lights running for approximately 10-12 hours each day, set on a timer. Python’s also benefit from short periods of access to unfiltered, natural light outdoors.
It is important to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene within the python’s enclosure. Daily ‘spot checks’ should be carried out and any faeces, shed skin or uneaten food removed immediately. A full substrate change should be carried out every 6-8 weeks (depending on what substrate is used) and the enclosure thoroughly cleaned with a reptile-safe disinfectant.
Feeding & Diet
In the wild, children’s and spotted pythons will prey upon a variety of different animals including rodents, birds and even bats. They are opportunistic, ambush predators and will eat whenever food is available.
In captivity, these can be fed on a range of different foods depending on their age and size. Readily available python foods at Kellyville Pets include commercially bred frozen mice, rats and quail.
A juvenile python should be fed an appropriately sized rat or mouse once a week. Adult children’s pythons can be fed a large mouse or small rat every two to three weeks. Food items must be completely thawed and warmed up (place in zip lock bag in hot water) before being offered to the snake.
It is recommended to feed captive pythons in a designated ‘feeding’ tub, separate to their normal enclosure. Feeding live food to your python poses many potential risks to your pet and is actually illegal.
It is also good practice to keep a record book of when a python eats, what sized food item it takes as well as when it sheds its skin. Fresh water should also be available to the python at all times and changed regularly.
All native reptiles are protected in NSW and a Reptile Keeper's licence must be obtained from the Office of Environment and Heritage to own one as a pet.
You can apply for a licence online through the OEH website or alternatively, our specialist reptile staff would be more than happy to assist you in applying for your licence in-store.
We have created a Shopping list to show what you need to look after a Children's or Spotted Python:
- Enclosure; 90 x 45 x 60cm minimum
- Water bowl
- Basking log
- Artificial plants
- Heat fitting and globe
- UV fitting and globe
- Reptile disinfectant
- Frozen food
- Feeding tongs
- Feeding enclosure
Common health issues in Pythons
Mites: Reptile mites cause significant irritation to pythons. A python may submerge itself in it's water bowl if it is infested with mites.
Dysecdysis (Abnormal Shedding): Low humidity levels can sometimes result in a python having an 'incomplete' shed.
Respiratory Infection: A bacterial or viral infection that may be caused by incorrect temperature, inadequate ventilation or too much humidity.
Is your python showing any of the signs of disease or illness? If yes, please consult your reptile vet.
At Kellyville Pets, we encourage responsible pet ownership.
CARE GUIDE © Copyright 2016 Kellyville Pets - All information found in this care guide is based upon our own experience. The information provided is not the only information available. In any medical situations, you should always consult your vet, including questions regarding your pet's diet.