Species group: Boas, Anacondas and Pythons
Other common names: Malaysian Blood Python; Red Blood Python; Malaysian Red Blood Python; Sumatran Red Blood Python
Scientific name: Python curtus brongersmai
The striking, highly-variable colors and massive girth of the Blood Python have long rendered it a favorite of snake keepers worldwide. Once considered a difficult captive, its husbandry and breeding requirements are now well-known.
The Blood Python is found in Sumatra, Thailand, Vietnam, western Malaysia and several islands in the Straits of Malacca. It most commonly inhabits moist, forests, swamps, and low-lying, overgrown fields. Well-irrigated oil palm plantations are frequently colonized.
Appearance / Health:
The Blood Python is a heavy-bodied snake that averages 4-5 feet in length, with rare individuals approaching 6 feet. Weights of 10-20 lbs. are common, with obese pets sometimes tipping the scale at 40+ pounds. The pattern of coloration is complex, with brown, orange, deep yellow, mahogany or red blotches, stripes and spots decorating the unusually-thick body. Of the 3 related Blood or Short-Tailed Pythons, (formerly considered subspecies of Python curtus), true deep-red coloration is only seen in this species. Hatchlings are yellowish brown, sometimes with an orange tint, and develop the adult coloration over time. Youngsters from the same clutch may develop into adults showing very different color patterns.
With proper care, captive longevity may exceed 20 years. Dry sheds are common in terrariums where the average humidity is consistently below 40%, but skin and respiratory infections will take hold in overly-damp environments. Air circulation that allows the tank to dry out after heavy misting is essential.
Behavior / temperament:
Blood Pythons have a reputation for aggressiveness, and even long term pets may expel air, hiss, and bite when approached. Others calm down in time, but their extreme bulk makes safe handling (for both snake and snake owner) difficult. Animals grabbed behind the neck may twist and jerk violently, with broken vertebrae sometimes resulting. Adults are not suitable pets for children.
Blood Pythons are relatively inactive but do not thrive in tight quarters. . Youngsters may be accommodated in terrariums of a length equal to their own, and adults require custom-built cages measuring at least 5 x 5 feet (although success has been had in smaller cages). Newspapers, terrarium liners, cypress mulch, eucalyptus bark and similar materials may be used as substrates. A dry cave or hollow log serves well as a shelter, but many prefer to push below newspapers or beneath artificial plants. A water bowl large enough for soaking should be available. Humidity: 60-70%; Ambient Temperature: 80-82 F; Basking Temperature: 86-88 F.
Wild Blood Pythons are ambush predators, lying in wait for squirrels and other rodents, jungle fowl, civets, and a host of other creatures. Pets readily accept mice and rats, but obesity is a common problem. Adults generally require a meal only each 14-21 days. Digestion seems quite slow in this species, with defecation (by adults) occurring infrequently (every 1-3 months in many cases). Hatchlings can be fed weekly.
Exposure to your region’s natural light cycle, or a gradual artificial reduction in day length, may stimulate reproduction. Temperature manipulation seems unnecessary. Females produce clutches of 10-35 eggs, which may be incubated in moist vermiculite (1:1 ratio of vermiculite to water by weight) for 55-65 days.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
fun snakes, intermediate keeper species, new color morphs, favorite snake species, heavy bodied snakes
wild caught specimens, beginner reptile, mites, aggressive, fast powerful strike
great predators, massive round wise, humidity. regular spraying, fairly large enclosure
"I think I have the laziest blood python ever. Bloods are fairly well known for being aggressive and since they are a larger bodied snake, they can strike hard. Mine hisses a lot, but almost never strikes. When he does, he strikes with his mouth closed.<br><br>He's a gorgeous red, which can be a bit harder to find. He was supposed to be a female, but the breeder sexed him wrong (and I hadn't learned how to do it properly yet).<br><br>Blood pythons need really specific environments. A mister is pretty much essential to keep the humidity right. The timer on mine broke and it took me about a week to get around to fixing it. For that time I was manually plugging the mister in, usually about 4 times per day. In that time, my blood managed to get a minor respiratory infection. Be sure you know how to manage heat and humidity before considering one of these guys!<br><br>He spends about half of his time in his water basin, which is an old rubbermade container filled with water. The rest of the time, he's either sprawled out along the length of his enclosure or 'hiding' in his house. It's quite funny to see, since the only hide he would accept is half a small cat carrier, turned upside down. Of course it's far too small for him, so he ends up wearing it like a hat.<br><br>As for eating, did I mention my blood python is lazy? I've never been able to get him to eat rabbits, so I tried 2 jumbo rats per feeding. That resulted in a bunch of wasted rats. So now he gets 1 jumbo rat, which he is as likely to use as a pillow as he is to eat it. He's been like this for years, his weight is fine and the vet has found no issues. When he's in the mood for food, I try to give him as much as I can.<br><br>While the blood python is far from my longest snake, it is the heaviest. They are also incredibly strong. Be prepared for this when handling them - I much prefer to have a second person around, to help out in case he gets a little rowdy. I also make sure to lock up the cat - he won't eat a dead rabbit, but a live cat might be too tempting to pass up!<br><br>These animals are good for more experienced handlers. Don't expect to have a snake you can take out at parties, they're more for those who enjoy looking with minimal touching.."
From NomadMorgan Jul 1 2015 4:55PM
"Pros:<br>Beautiful animals, simple habitat requirements, and relatively easy to find reputable breeders. Rarely should you ever have a challenge feeding them as they tend to have a strong appetite; note that they generally only eat live. Not overly long which is also helpful. Great to admire in their habitat/tank.<br>Cons:<br>This can be a very aggressive snake and is not meant for handling or family pet type owners. Only truly experienced handlers should work with these animals unless you find one that is regularly handled from birth or you're truly only looking to admire it only and not handle it as many owners tend to want to do. While these snakes don't become overly long, they are quite heavy which makes working with them challenging if you aren't strong/experienced.."
From hmc2213 Jun 26 2015 4:37PM
"When I first moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) he wanted to get a pet together. We talked about getting a puppy, but knew we did not have the time. In talking with a person at the pet store we decided on a snake. They didn't seem to be as needy, but still very cool to look at. At first, we really enjoyed him. My husband would handle him daily in hopes that he would not get very aggressive. Plus, our friends would find it pretty cool when he had to feed. A few months in, I came home and noticed he was not in his cage. I was frantic, but my husband found him and figured maybe he did not latch the cage completely. About a week later, same thing, not in his cage. This time we were positive the cage was latched so i decided to also put a heavy object on top of the cage to prevent him from getting out. Unfortunately, he still continued to get out. To this day we have no idea how it was possible. I would not recommend getting a blood python to someone who has other pets or small kids. That would personally just give me nightmares from all the worrying.."
From Nmarie Jul 28 2014 3:14PM