What is a Stimson's Python?

Debra Durkee

Stimson's python is a small snake found throughout the central part of Australia. It has a wide range and varying colors, patterns, and sizes that occur in different areas of the country. Generally mild mannered, it is also raised in captivity and is an easy pet to care for.

Stimson's python is a small snake found throughout the central part of Australia.
Stimson's python is a small snake found throughout the central part of Australia.

The typical Stimson's python reaches no more than 3 feet (1 m) in length as an adult, although some can be much smaller. Among the smallest of all the snakes found throughout Australia, its manageable size and mild temperament have made it a popular pet. The wide variety of colors and patterns is another attractive feature of these small snakes. So varied are the colors that the different coloring groups are called morphs, and with many snakes it is possible to determine their native places in Australia by their color and markings.

The body of the Stimson's python is spotted with a variety of different shapes and patterns. Most are shades of brown, yellow, or coppery-red. Some snakes have large spots with little of the background color showing, a pattern called pencil line. Others have smaller spots against a clearly visible background color, and some have lines of color that runs down their sides or spines. In their native environment, the shading of Stimson's pythons often matches their environment to give them some camouflage.

The landscape of Australia is varied and rugged, and the Stimson's python can be found on rocky outcroppings, in fields of wheat and grain, and in the sandy, rocky deserts of the western coast. Like many snakes, these pythons prey on small animals and birds. In captivity, they can thrive quite happily on fresh or frozen feeder mice; these hardy snakes can go months without eating in the wild, making them easy to keep in a home aquarium.

When kept in captivity, the Stimson's python does well in a simple aquarium equipped with a heat lamp and access to fresh water; it also needs little in the way of tank decorations, and is content with flat, open areas. Pet pythons as well as wild ones are better suited to dry climates and temperatures around 90°F (about 32°C). When properly cared for and exposed to regular human contact, these snakes can become well accustomed to being held, and generally do not bite unless provoked. It is possible that they breed in captivity, but it is not particularly common. Anywhere from two to 15 eggs can be laid in a brood, and the female snake can incubate them until they hatch with no human interference.

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