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CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

PAGE 4: CAPTIVE HATCHED

 

Captive hatched Boelen’s Pythons are less demanding than wild-caught imports but share a lot of the same protocols. Having no preconceived knowledge of their natural environment, the hatchling Boelen’s Python can be conditioned to captivity fairly easy.

Hatchlings have been successfully raised in shoebox, sweater box, and other similar plastic containers. These containers should be large enough for the snake to stretch out completely and should be tall enough to provide perches. Hatchlings love to climb and will perch draped like M. viridis, Green Tree Python, use various sized plastic dowels and provide hide boxes for additional cover. Hatchlings need high relative humidity conditions but do not keep them wet. Overly wet conditions can cause skin blisters and infections (see the breeding section on hatchlings). Sub-adult to adults should have caging that allows them to move about freely. There are many commercial cages offered in today’s’ herpetoculture market, suggestions can be found on the links page. When choosing a cage, consider that these snakes have the potential to reach lengths greater than 3 meters. Several different substrates have been used with captive hatched M. boeleni including: newspaper, paper towels, cypress mulch, pine shavings, aspen, and carefresh bedding. All have their pros and cons and I personally would never use paper towels, aspen, or pine shavings. I believe as well as others that newspaper works best followed by cypress mulch. The biggest disadvantage with newspaper is that it dries out quickly and leaves ink marks throughout the cage; with cypress chances of bacterial growth are higher especially when thorough cleanings are not done. On a second note I have had to extract cypress mulch from the mouths of several specimens after feedings or defensive strikes.

As discussed previously sub-adult to adult Morelia boeleni should be kept in enclosures suitable to their body size. Substrates used on hatchlings and juveniles can be applied to adults as well. I prefer newspaper because of the frequent eliminations brought on from the fast metabolism. Newspaper allows for quick and easy clean ups as well as making inspections less difficult.

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A juvenile Morelia boeleni draped over a perch much like Morelia viridis. Photo by Spataro.

A perfect set up for a hatchling Boelen’s Pythons, a place to perch and a place to hide. These specific Tucker brand containers have locking lids ensuring the safety of the animal. Photo by Spataro.

These arboreal Neodesha cages work great for juvenile Boelen’s Pythons. They provide ample room for climbing, perching, and seeking refuge in a hide box.
Photo by Spataro.

 

     

© 2007 Marc A. Spataro