Species group: Boas, Anacondas and Pythons
Other common names: Dwarf Python, Angolan Dwarf Python
Scientific name: Python anchietae
The Angolan Python is small, hardy, and beautifully-colored, but scarce in the trade due to difficulties in obtaining breeding stock (please see below). Otherwise, it would no doubt be as popular a pet as its close relative, the Ball Python. As captive born animals become more available, it just may take the pet trade by storm! The Angolan Python is endemic to southwestern Africa, where it ranges through southern Angola and northern Namibia. Strict laws prohibiting collecting and ongoing civil wars have prevented this snake from becoming well-established in the pet trade. It frequents arid, rocky habitats that receive less than 10 inches of rain yearly, and where seasonal temperatures fluctuate from below freezing to over 120 F – all of which makes for a tough, hardy snake!
Appearance / health:
The Angolan Python is stoutly built, but a bit more slender than its cousin the Ball Python, to which it is often compared. Adults average 3.5 – 5 feet in length, with reports of some reaching nearly 6 feet. The body is reddish brown to nearly black in color, and marked with irregular, black-edged blotches of white or cream.
Behavior / temperament:
Angolan Pythons are often relatively calm in disposition, and generally tolerate gentle handling. Like all snakes, however, they must be handled with care.
A single adult may be housed in a 30 to 55 gallon aquarium. Ambient temperature: 74-77 F. Newspapers, cypress mulch, eucalyptus bark and similar materials may be used as substrates. A dry cave or hollow log serves well as a shelter. The enclosure’s screen lid must be secured by cage clips. Ambient temperature: 78-85 F; basking temperature: 92 F.
Droppings should be removed as they appear, and the entire terrarium should be cleaned each 1-2 weeks. Obesity is the major health concern to be aware of (please see below).
Little is known about the diet of wild Angolan Pythons, but they likely prey upon small burrowing mammals such as rats, shrews and mice and, perhaps, ground-dwelling birds. In common with many reptiles from harsh habitats, they are very efficient at storing fat; obesity leading to failed reproduction and early death is a common problem among pets. Small food items – i.e. small rats or rat pups even for large adults – are preferable to large. Except for breeding females and growing youngsters, Angolan Pythons are best fed every 14 days.
Only 10 individuals were known to be in US zoos in the 1960’s, and captive breeding did not occur until 1981. Fortunately, private hobbyists are now having increasing success. Breeding activity is stimulated by a 2-3 month period of reduced temperatures (65-70 F by night, 75-80 F by day) and day-length. Clutches generally contain 3-7 large eggs, which may be incubated in moist vermiculite at 85-90 F for 55-75 days. Angolan Python hatchings are gorgeous, being a rich, “chocolate” brown in color and sporting yellow blotches.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
handsome creature, white markings, stocky build
Patrick the Python
For many years, I thought Saint Patrick had achieved his sainthood solely on the strength of services rendered i.e. chasing the snakes out of Ireland. My own brother - the shame of it - was one of those responsible for bringing them back. One anyway, a large python , christened out of sheer spite, Patrick. For the next six months Patrick was used as a method of extortion. 'Hand over those crisps, you little wimp, or Patrick will swallow you whole.' 'I know you got five quid for your birthday - Patrick - oh Paaatrick!' Of course, we handed over our crisps, money, lungs, liver, a couple of corneas, whatever he demanded. Just the look of Patrick was enough to cow us into submission. A little over a metre in length, he was also quite plump, with black, gold and white markings. He would have been quite a handsome creature, were it not for the evil look in his eye. We kids had no difficulty in believing the snake would swallow us whole. He ate live rats and mice- hors d'oeuvres, according to my brother. My younger sister was particularly frightened, not just for herself, but also for her hamster, Wiggy, who had proved adept as an escape artist. And, lo, it came to pass. When both were out for a bit of a constitutional around the house, Wiggy and Patrick bumped into one another with predictable results. That particular meal proved to be the snake's last supper. Found guilty of breaching the house rules by dint of eating my sister's pet, he was issued with his sliding papers. No one was sorry to see him go, except my brother, who lost no time in seeking out a new method of extortion. He grew up to be a lawyer!
With hindsight, I realise that Patrick the Python was much maligned. Our perception of him as evil and a child-swallower was based on my brother's tall and grisly tales. Pythons can, I'm told, make excellent pets. Admittedly, it's not a theory I'm particularly keen to put to the test. As for the Wiggy episode, Patrick was only doing what came natural..
From Digitalsec Mar 21 2014 5:04AM
Angolan Python - Python anchietae
The Angolan Python or Anchieta's Python is a rare species of python that is normally very hard to get hold of. Fortunately in recent years they have started to pop up for sale a lot more and there are a few breeders in the US, Europe, the UK and quite a few more in South Africa. They are hardy snakes that do very well in captivity. They should not be hurried to grow fast and a slower approach seems to be a better approach than trying to pump them with food. They are docile very much like Ball Pythons and do not get stressed out easily. I enjoy working with this species and I really hope that they will soon become more available so that others can keep them and appreciate them as well. This is the ultimate python for many reptile keepers. Highly recommended..
From RobWedderburn Oct 25 2015 4:12PM