The spotted python favorite habitats range from dry woodlands to wet forests, river banks and rocky areas. They are particularly fond of caves, where bats take refuge, since they are among their favorite prey, catching them at the entrance of their caves.
The species is also known by other common names, the Eastern Small Blotched Python. The species is the largest member of the Antaresia genus and at the present time there are no subspecies currently recognized.
The spotted python is one of the smallest python species, growing on average about 39 to 55 inches (100–140 cm) in length, not anywhere near the massive reticulated python. Their characteristic ‘spots’ are really only blotches of dark brown on a light brown background. On occasion these spots join together and look almost like stripes, particularly near the head and tail.
The spotted python is a very popular pet among Australian reptile enthusiasts, and are affectionately known as 'Macs' a short for 'maculosus'.
Regarding its small size and lack of venom, docile nature and even temperament they rarely present any problems when properly maintained. Although some juvenile snakes can be a bit more snappy, in most cases the species makes an ideal first pet snake for just about anyone.
Taxonomy / Subspecies
The Spotted Python (A. maculosa) was until recently grouped with both the Children's Python (A. childreni) and Stimson's Python (A. stimsoni) in a single species. They are still often grouped together as "Children's Pythons", "Children's Python's Complex" or the "Children's Python's group" in both the literature and the exotic pet trade.
In 2003 a new subspecies was described by Hoser A. m. brentonoloughlini, based on specimens found in the Cape York Peninsula , with a much lighter base color and an average length about 10 cm longer. However this wasn't considered valid by other herpetologists and no subspecies of spotted python (Antaresia maculosa) are currently recognised.
Diet / Feeding
The spotted python is a nocturnal hunter. Younger spotted pythons feed mostly on small lizards.
As these snakes get bigger they start feeding on bats and other small mammals but also other reptiles and even birds. Like all pythons, they are non-venomous snakes that kill their prey by means of constriction.
The female lays on average 10 eggs per clutch. It will incubate the eggs by coiling around them and shivering to increase the temperature.
After a period of about 80 days, the eggs hatch. The hatchlings tear open the eggs leathery shell. Waiting up to 2 day until all of them are ready. The young snakes them leave the nest all at once, this is quite a sight!
Conservation / Threats
The spotted python is not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The species is however listed on Appendix II of CITES, and the international trade of this species is controlled under this convention.
Did You Know?
The inland taipan bite contains venom enough to kill up to 100 full grown men.