A Christmas Present

Whilst we were in Brisbane we decided we’d take the opportunity to have a look around at what kinds of snakes were available for sale. There were a couple of places where the pythons for sale were so aggressive the shop assistants couldn’t even take them out of their enclosures without being struck at, and many of the more placid ones I didn’t think looked particularly interesting, until we found this little one:

My recently acquired Georgetown Stimson's Python looking cute on my hand.

Not only was it one of the most placid snakes I’d encountered whilst browsing (the shop assistant was able to take it out and walk around the busy (think pre-Christmas busy) shop whilst holding it and it didn’t show any signs of being stressed or scared), but it was also one of the prettiest smaller pythons I’d seen, and it met Stacey’s criteria of not being a species that grows to a size that would make it dangerous to Little Ivan. So we bought it, as a Christmas present for me. It’s an 11 month old Georgetown colour form Stimson’s Python (Antaresia stimsoni), and it has been handled regularly since hatching, so it’s very well adjusted to being handled. It has a documented history of regular feeds and good growth, and even once fully grown shouldn’t be much more than a meter long. The only catch is I don’t know yet whether it’s a male of female, but since I’m not planning on breeding them that wasn’t really a big deal for me.

Antaresia stimsoni 02

It’s a very relaxed little python.

I had intended to have a few more photos of it showing its entire length, but it’s always on the move, and full body shots have proved to be a little bit difficult. I tried putting it in the Christmas tree:

Antaresia stimsoni 03

My parent’s didn’t think it was that amusing, but it made for good photos.

Notice the way its eyes have reacted to the flash between this shot and the last one.

Notice the way its eyes have reacted to the flash between this shot and the last one.

And once we finally made it back to Clermont, I thought I'd get a couple more shots. This one was on the front fence, which earned me some strange looks from people walking past.

And once we finally made it back to Clermont, I thought I’d get a couple more shots. This one was on the front fence, which earned me some strange looks from people walking past.

And that’s about it for photos of the snake for the next little while. When I checked on it earlier this morning, it was looking like it was about to start shedding soon, so hopefully once that’s completed it’ll be looking quite nice for some more pics, but for now I’ll leave it alone so it doesn’t stress too much.

As a bit of advance warning for anyone who has a weak stomach, I’m planning to do shots of it feeding at some point as well. It’s kinda brutal, but it’s also very interesting, and it’s fascinating to see just how large a prey item such a small and slender snake can actually take, and also how quickly a python can wrap it’s coils to constrict after the initial strike. Incidentally, this snake is fed on pre-killed (in a humane manner) food items that have been heated in a warm water bath to trigger the feeding response. I won’t be feeding live prey to it, so the “kill” is more of an instinctual formality than anything, but nonetheless it is still quite brutal to see.

Shannon Walters

An amateur photographer who also spends time making chainmaille and doing too many other things to mention.

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