Common name(s): Blood Pythons, Red blood python, Malaysian blood python
Native to: Peninsular (Western) Malaysia, Sumatra east of the central dividing range of mountains, Bangka Island and other islands in the Strait of Malacca, including the Lingga islands, Riau islands, and Pinang.
Adult size: 5/7 feet
Eggs: average clutch 18-30 eggs.
Appearance: The Sumatra Blood Python gets its name from the blood red colour that washes over its skin. They are also dusted in light yellows and oranges and have thick bodies, perfect for constricting.
They are a snake of medium length with a very large girth relative to its length. The head is long and broad and distinctly wider than the neck. The anterior half of the body appears as pale with dark pattern, while the posterior appears as dark with pale pattern. There is a black post-ocular stripe and in some populations there are black lateral blotches on the sides. There is much variation of colour in individuals and in populations. The dark elements of the pattern may be red, orange-red, ox-blood, brown, tan or yellow. Blood pythons are without red coloration at hatching and appear as predominantly tan with black markings. Blood pythons attain their adult colours usually between to and three years of age. At three and four years of age the coloration of blood pythons is at its zenith.
In the wild: The Sumatra Blood Python, in the wild, can be found in the vast rice fields and plains of Sumatra, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. They are not rare animals and can be found frequently in the wild if you look in the right places. They are good hunters, feeding on mice and rats and rabbits and all number of small mammals in the rice fields and grasslands of Sumatra. However, the Pythons themselves are also hunted by people for their skin and meat.
Food: Most pythons and boas are fed once a week. Be warned that they might be picky eaters; some of them will only eat with the lights out and some of them have to "hunt" their prey first, although it is best to feed them killed, frozen prey to avoid injury or parasite infestation to your snake.
Ease of care: Average
Temperament: Sumatra Blood Pythons do have variable temperaments however; while some can be quite calm and docile, others are high-strung, nervous, and quick to bite.
Vivarium set up: At all ages, blood pythons require a secure well-ventilated cage. A wooden vivarium must be sealed with aquarium silicon sealant after painting the inside it three oats of Yacht varnish. A glass aquarium with a secure ventilated top (screen wire or perforated metal) can make a satisfactory cage for a young specimen. Plastic storage boxes, with numerous perforations for ventilation, also can be used to maintain blood pythons. Some of the commercially available PVC, polyethylene, ABS plastic or fibreglass cages probably best accommodate the large size and bulk of adult blood pythons. I would initially place hatchlings in a small enclosure with about 40 square inches of floor space; we have found that often, if placed in too large an enclosure, a hatchling may be insecure and fail to feed. Once regular feeding begins, this species will quickly require a larger space, and should then be moved to cages with 180 - 300 square inches of floor space. By two years of age, most blood pythons will require a cage with 6 -12 square feet of floor space. One of the most common mistakes made in keeping this python is to not provide a suitably large cage for the adults.
Substrate: I used to keep mine on Moss with orchid bark underneath.
Note: Sumatran Blood Pythons are large snakes – growing to an average of six feet long and topping off at around nine feet. Although they are not usually seen growing larger than seven feet, it is possible to obtain a larger size in captivity, so be warned. The Sumatra Blood Python is an awe-inspiring snake, one that will certainly capture the imaginations of you and your guests. If you are not an experienced snake keeper, you may want to try an easier, more predictable species at first; the Sumatra Blood Python is a very large and often aggressive snake that should only be kept by experienced hobbyists. You will want to raise this one from childhood. Capturing one or purchasing one that has lived in the wild is a bad idea, as the snakes may be excessively unhealthy or aggressive. If you get a baby, and raise it from birth, it will be more likely to become handleable and get used to you than one taken from the wild.