Moluccan python was formerly considered the Moluccan locale of the Scrub or Amethystine Python, Morelia
2000 it was given full species status and named Morelia clastolepis.
These pythons are intelligent and
command respect, but are generally very
well mannered pythons, especially if raised from hatchlings. This
species has been produced only a few times in captivity, so captive bred
hatchlings are very difficult to come by. As such, most Moluccan
Pythons in captivity are wild collected animals that have been imported
from Indonesia. My breeders were
acquired in the summer of 2002 as wild caught neonates. They weighed
32 and 38 grams and were still displaying their rusty red hatchling color.
This would make them no more than a couple months old when they reached my
collection. Since they were so young, I had very little trouble
acclimating them and they calmed down very easily. One of the most
important factors to keep in mind is that they have the feeding response
and alertness of a reticulated python, with the long teeth and the agility
of a green tree python. That being said, care must still be
exercised when reaching into their cages. I gently coax mine out
with a hook and then proceed to handle them freely without any worries.
typically top out at around 8-9 feet in length and females are slightly
smaller. A unique thing about the "Scrub" python complex is that
males typically grow larger than
females and the Moluccan is definitely no exception. My adult female
was around seven feet long and weighed about 2,800 grams when gravid in
2006. My male is the same age and is probably closer to 8 feet long
and 3,500 grams. In terms of girth, I personally believe that a fit,
healthy Moluccan python should be about half as thick as a carpet python
of the same length.
are generally very colorful pythons, with an almost metallic
sheen to their scales. Their heads are large and covered in large,
plate-like scales. In typical Morelia
fashion, hatchlings Moluccan pythons go through a hormonal
color change for the first 3-4 years of life. Hatchlings are
typically a rust red color, which quickly fades away to brown or orange,
by 6 months of age. From there on, they will undergo a color change
that will take them from
brown to yellow, and finally, they will get a dark melanin wash along
their dorsum. This dark wash scares some people off, but mature
adults are still gorgeous pythons in person. Another unique aspect
that should be noted is that female Moluccans become incredibly dark
(nearly black) when gravid.
There have been a handful of individuals
imported that lack yellow pigment altogether, making them axanthic.
Other appearances include patternless and striped.
I put my Moluccans together in February of 2006 and copulation began
almost immediately. This species has proven to be challenging to
produce in captivity, but I figured I should at least put them together
and see if they wanted to breed. I've witnessed a couple of
copulations since then, but it's early and I've not palpated the female.
I will probably just leave these two together for the rest of the season
and see if a hands off approach helps. As young as they are (4 years
old), I really don't expect anything to happen this year, but I figured
why not? The way I see it, breeding these snakes is like playing the
lottery...the odds aren't good, but you can't win if you don't play.
Looking at them is good enough for me, but if I can get them to produce,
I'll be even happier.
10 infertile and 6 fertile eggs! I'm keeping my fingers
Four hatchlings! The two that didn't make it were an
apparently healthy one who didn't get out of the egg soon enough
and a severely kinked one that was dead in the egg. Below
are some photos of the first one to hatch.