Dwarf Reticulated Python

Broghammerus reticulatus

Order: Squamata

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

  • Temperature, Humidity, & Lighting:
    • Temperature:
    • Humidity:
    • Lighting:
  • Substrate:

Diet Requirements

  • Carnivorous – feeds primarily on mammals, but will also eat birds and reptiles

Veterinary Concerns

Notes on Enrichment & Training

Other

Colony or Breeding Management

Notes species is housed or managed socially or for breeding purposes.

Individual Identification

Dimorphism or practiced ways to individually mark species (such as those in colonies, like giant millipedes).

Programmatic Information

Transportation

hot water bottle

Temperature Guidelines

  • Brandywine Zoo: During cool weather (under 65°F), supplemental heat is provided with a hot water bottle set to one side of the cooler. Wrap bottle with newspaper for lizards or snakes traveling with the bottle loose, to make cleanups easier in the case of defecation while traveling.

 

Crating:

  • Brandywine Zoo: reptiles travel in a Coleman style coolers that have been amended with extra ventilation holes on the lid (with a wood-burning tool). Small and medium sized snakes travel inside an inside-out, knotted pillowcase. Large snakes travel loose in the cooler that is also bungeed shut. For lizards, the cooler is lined with newspaper.
  • lg cooler sm cooler cooler

Tips on Presentation

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling

 

Potential Messaging

  • Snakes are an important link in the food chain. They provide food for many bird and mammal species that prey on them. The main diet of most snakes is rodents. Therefore, snakes provide a very valuable service – pest control. Most snakes are non-venomous and will avoid humans if they can. Venomous snakes want to use their venom to kill small prey animals or to defend themselves; since humans are too big to be considered prey by most snakes, the best way to avoid a bite is not to make the snake feel threatened. Ask guests to avoid any snakes they may see in the wild and appreciate them from a distance. http://www.capesnakeconservation.com/snake-conservation-whats-the-point/http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/rattlesnake_roundups/facts/rattlesnake_roundups.html
  • In general, animals seen at the zoo do not make good pets. Most have specialized dietary, veterinary, housing, and social needs that are difficult or impossible for even dedicated pet owners to meet. Always ensure that your future pet has not been taken from the wild. Capture of wild animals for the pet trade has significantly damaged the survival prospects of species such as sloths, tamanduas, and many parrots. Captured animals are typically mistreated by profit-motivated traffickers and dealers, resulting in many animal deaths; well-meaning animal lovers may feel like they are rescuing animals by purchasing them but are really perpetuating the cruelty. In addition, many exotic pets are released by their owners when they become too dangerous or demanding, often with devastating effects on local ecosystems. Animals that should never be kept as pets include all bats, primates, and exotic carnivores. Birds, fish, and reptiles have specialized needs, are frequently wild-caught, and damage the local environment if released; guests should be advised to educate themselves and proceed with caution. Domestic dogs and cats are almost always the best option! Many deserving animals are available for adoption at animal shelters. http://www.philadelphiazoo.org/Save-Wildlife/Images/PetWalletBro2012.aspxhttp://pin.primate.wisc.edu/aboutp/pets/index.html
  • Massive tracts of forested habitat are being converted to large-scale, commercial palm oil plantations. Habitat for orangutans, rhinos, clouded leopards, and many other endangered species on the islands of Southeast Asia has been lost to the palm oil industry for years. Now, Africa and even South America are increasingly affected. Palm oil can be used to make biofuels and shows up commonly in foods and cosmetics sold in the United States. Because of pressure from consumers world-wide many manufacturers have joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which promotes practices such as planting palms in long, narrow patches that animals can move through easily without becoming lost and hungry. Please ask guests to be aware of palm oil (frequently listed as palm kernel oil, palmate, or palmitate) in the products that they buy and contact any manufacturer of a product with palm oil asking them (1) to harvest palm oil responsibly or not at all, (2) to join the RSPO, and (3) to mark their products with the RSPO seal. http://www.rspo.org/

Acquisition Information

 

Comments from the Rating System

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat

Range: Islands of southeast Asia

Habitat: Tropical rainforests, heavily dependent on water and can often be found near small rivers or ponds

Physical Description

This snake has a pattern of irregular diamond shapes running along its back and smaller markings with a light center on its sides. The term “reticulated” refers to the skin pattern of the snake. The dwarf reticulated python is a dwarf form of the reticulated python and is only found on islands; it is not a subspecies. Female dwarf reticulated pythons grow up to 9-10 feet and males grow up to 7 feet in length. The dwarf retics are a great example of insular dwarfism where large mainland animals, particularly predators, tend to become smaller on islands due to a lack of resources.

Life Cycle

Dwarf reticulated pythons breed between September and March. Females will lay a clutch of 20-80 eggs. While the eggs are developing females will coil around them and “shiver” producing muscle contractions which serve to increase the overall temperature of the eggs. Females will also defend their eggs against predators, however once the eggs hatch after approx. 88 days, the young are on their own. Dwarf retics reach sexual maturity around 3-4 years of age and can live up to 20 years in the wild.

Behavior

  • Activity: Nocturnal, Both terrestrial and arboreal
  • Hunting: They are most productive as ambush predators, often waiting in trees for unsuspecting prey. They are also known to be active foragers; however this method of hunting is seldom used because of the amount of energy it requires.
  • Locomotion: Though they are excellent swimmers, they spend most of their time on land and in trees. But they have been found in rivers, streams, and lakes. They have also been known to traverse the open ocean.
  • Disruptive Coloration: In the shadowy rainforest environment amid fallen leaves and debris, pythons’ patterns allow them to virtually disappear protecting them from predators and helping them catch prey.

Threats and Conservation Status

  • Status: Nothing is known about the numbers in the wild.
  • Threats: Habitat destruction, pet trade, hunted for food, folk medicine, and skins. More than 1/2 million skins are harvested officially each year, but the actual numbers are likely greater.
  • Predators: Crocodiles, raptors

Did you know…

Photographs

 

Documents

Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.

Contributors and Citations

  • The Phoenix Zoo
  • Houston Zoo, Natural Encounters