Anthony Caponetto Reptiles

Crested Geckos, Ball Pythons, Carpet Pythons

 
Blood Python Care & Breeding

My experience with this species is fairly limited, but customers still ask me about these guys all the time, so I'm going to give you my take - which will basically be from the point of view of a ball python and Morelia/carpet python guy.

Temperature
They seem to like it a little cooler than most pythons. I keep them in the same racks as my ball pythons and carpets, but at the bottom.  This works out well since in my baby racks, the carpets generally take up the top section, the balls go in the middle and the bloods go down low (where it's coolest). My adults prefer to be in the high 70's most of the time and only usually sit on the heat to warm up briefly for digestion, etc. I still give the babies an 82-85F warm end and the cool end is usually in the high 70's.   They will also do well at a uniform temperature in the low 80's. 

Adults get a basking area around 88-90F because they're in a larger cage (two bottom units of a freedom breeder 48x30 rack - underneath the boas and my biggest carpet) and they also have access to temps as low as 72-78F (depending on the time of year).  The temperature on the cool end is basically room temperature and that's where they tend to stay unless they're digesting a meal or it's a female about to lay a clutch of eggs.  These snakes could be kept in a smaller cage, but I wanted to give them lots of temperature choices since I had no idea what to expect.  

Temperature Cycling for Breeding - Not Necessary?
My adults were produced in 2006 and fully grown by 2009.  I cooled them like I did my carpets in 2009 and got lots of copulation, but no eggs.  For 2010, I decided to listen to some of the true experts in our hobby and NOT cool them.  That's when I got fourteen big beautiful eggs and a 100% hatch rate.  I'm going to continue trying that for now, and I will keep this page updated with my results as time goes on.

Weird Skin - Babies don't shed for 90 days!  What?
No kidding - 90 days.  Other python species shed within a few weeks, so this threw me for a loop.  I don't necessarily always wait until my other pythons shed before offering them a meal, but that could've been a long wait if I were one of those guys who do!

That's not where it ends.  Another really odd thing is, baby bloods are just as shiny looking after their first couple sheds as they were when they leave the egg. They also seem to be resistant to belly rot, which happens to ball pythons when their cage is kept too wet.  I've seen bloods kept in the funkiest wet cage you've ever seen and they didn't have a blister on them.  Do that with a ball python and it could very easily kill the snake.

With all these differences, I would guess that on a scientific level, the skin of short-tailed pythons like P. brongersmai and its closely related relatives is probably quite different than that of other pythons...possibly an adaptation to the rather wet habitat that they seem to thrive in.