Woma Python

Aspidites ramsayi

Order: Squamata

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

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

Diet Requirements

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

Acquisition Information

 

Comments from the Rating System

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat

Range: Australian interior from central Australia into the south-western edge of Queensland, and into northern South Australia. There is also one coastal area in north-eastern Australia around the Pilbara coast where this species is found.

Habitat: Inhabits arid zones, favoring open sand plains and dune fields.

Physical Description

The woma python is distinguished from other Australian pythons by its narrow head which is barely distinct from the neck. It has small eyes, smooth scales, a broad body and a thin tail. This species is colored grey, olive, brown, or rich red-brown above, with several darker olive brown to black cross-bands on the body. The sides are paler and the underside is a cream to yellow color, with pink or brown blotches. The woma python does not have heat sensitive pits bordering the mouth like other pythons.

Life Cycle

Womas breed from May to August and will lay their eggs anywhere hidden and humid enough so that the eggs and baby snakes don’t dry out. Suitable locations for nests include rabbit warrens, hollow logs, etc. 5 to 19 eggs are deposited between September and October. The female coils around her clutch throughout the incubation period and may “shiver” if the eggs mass gets to cold, using muscular activity to generate heat. Once the young snakes hatch she leaves the nest. Incubation typically lasts 50-70 days.

Behavior

Woma pythons are terrestrial snakes that eat a variety of terrestrial invertebrates including small mammals, ground birds, and lizards. Woma pythons use the end of their narrow tail as a lure to attract prey. They wriggle the tip of their tail slowly, making it look like potential prey for other animals, catching them in their mouth if they venture close enough. Woma pythons are constrictors, but they catch much of their prey in burrows where there is not enough room to throw their coils around it. Instead the woma python pushes a loop of its body against the animal so it is crushed to death against the side of the burrow. Many adult woma pythons are covered in scars from retaliating rodents as this technique doesn’t kill prey as quickly as normal constriction.

Nocturnal – by day it shelters in hollow logs, animal burrows, or thick vegetation

Threats and Conservation Status

Listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List

Populations have been affected by the clearing of habitat for agricultural development and grazing in Australia. Habitat loss not only removes the woma python’s shelter, but also depletes the abundance of small vertebrates in the area. Predation by introduced foxes has also played a part in the woma python’s decline in Australia. Although it is considered to be endangered, this snake will readily breed in captivity.

Did you know…

  • Also known as the Ramsay’s python and sand python
  • The woma python is one of fifteen different species of python endemic to Australia.

Photographs

 

Documents

Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.

Contributors and Citations

  • The Phoenix Zoo
  • Houston Zoo, Natural Encounters