Sumatran Blood Python
Blood pythons are today increasingly popular snakes. They are easy to maintain, and they require no unusual caging or protocols. These snakes are voracious feeders at all ages. Many keepers like the size of the species — they are big but not too big. Best of all, the variation of colors and patterns seen in blood pythons are without equal among boas and pythons.
Still, many keepers today are hesitant to work with the species because of a reputation for irritability that dates far back into the history of the species in captivity. It is our experience and belief that the reputation from long ago is no longer valid.
Dave and Tracy BarkerBlood pythons are good mothers. Covering their eggs completely and occasionally tongue-flicking and inspecting them, females stay coiled around them.
Blood Pythons of the Past
In early 1934 at the New York Zoological Park, a recently imported blood python laid a clutch of 16 eggs while on exhibit. The exact date of the event was not noted because the snake was completely coiled around the clutch, hiding the eggs, for at least a few days before zookeepers realized what had happened. On Feb. 11, the curator, Dr. Raymond L. Ditmars, called an eminent herpetologist, Dr. G.K. Noble of the American Museum of Natural History, with news of the event.
Dr. Noble came over to the zoo that day to measure the temperatures of the brooding blood python, the eggs and the environment. Incubation and brooding behaviors were of special interest to Dr. Noble, and this event was regarded as particularly important. There was great curiosity about whether pythons were actually capable of elevating their body temperatures during the incubation period.
In fact, the results of Dr. Noble’s efforts to determine if blood pythons elevated their temperatures during brooding were equivocal. The paper he published in the 1935 volume of Copeia, the official publication of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, is the first published report of egg laying by the species. It is also the earliest report we are able to find of this species in captivity in the United States.
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