The blood python, also known as the red blood python, is a type of snake named for the bright red shade of its skin. In addition to the red, these pythons are also often covered in large yellow splotches with some gray and black mixed in. Blood pythons often grow to be as long as 7 feet (2 m) and might weigh as much as 45 pounds (20 kg). Most female blood pythons are larger than the males. These snakes additionally tend to have wide bodies with exceptionally broad heads.
Blood pythons are native to Malaysia and Sumatra and are most often found in swamps or other areas with poor drainage. They normally prefer to stay submerged in the water, possibly because this makes it easier for them to catch their prey off guard. Blood pythons constrict their prey, just as other types of pythons do, before swallowing them whole. They tend to eat warm-blooded small mammals in the wild, and usually exist on diets consisting solely of rats and mice when held in captivity. Mice are typically recommended for young blood pythons kept in cages, while adult blood pythons kept as pets can survive on just one average-sized rat every week.
The blood python tends to be a popular choice for people who like to keep snakes as pets. In most cases, they are not particularly aggressive and are usually tamed with little trouble. It is often easier to tame a blood python if it has been raised by its owner since birth or shortly after. A person who decides to keep a blood python should be sure to purchase a very large cage, because these snakes can grow to be quite large. Proper ventilation is also a must, and care should be taken to keep the humidity level fairly high inside a blood python's cage so it will have an easier time shedding its skin completely.
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As of 2010, blood pythons are considered an endangered snake species. This is likely because people are hunting them for their brightly colored skin, which is in high demand on the black market for exotic leathers. These snakes have an average lifespan of approximately 20 years in the wild, but normally live much longer than that when kept in captivity. Blood pythons that have been bred in captivity tend to make much more docile pets than those that were captured in the wild, which might be more inclined to bite. A person who is interested in purchasing a blood python should probably do his or her research on various breeders before committing to buy, because many breeders will claim their snakes are captive-bred when in fact they are not.