Black Headed Python
Family: Pythonidae (Pythons)
Genus/species: Aspidites melanocephalus
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The head is covered with shiny black scales; body a striped or brindled pattern in shades of black and gray brown, gold and cream. Juveniles are more vividly marked. Females are larger than males.
A large snake with maximum length of 2.5 m, though 1.5 to 2 m more common.
DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia. The Black Headed Python is found in open woodlands, shrub lands, outcrops, humid coastal forests, and seasonally-dry tropical woodlands. It is not found in very arid regions. Found among rocks and loose debris. During cooler temperatures, evidence suggests that when termite nests are present, they tend to burrow into these habitats as a way of maintaining a stable body temperature.
DIET IN THE WILD: A. melanocephalus feeds on birds, other reptiles; small mammals, especially rodents. They are active at night. In the absence of infralabial sensory pits it is probable that tactile, olfactory, and visual cues play an important role in communication and perception in black-headed pythons.
ACADEMY DIET: Two rats every 2 weeks. (M Avila Academy biologist)
Lifespan: from 20 to 30 years
REPRODUCTION: Oviparous. Females guard the five to 10 eggs per clutch.
CONSERVATION: IUCN Not evaluated
REMARKS: Like all pythons, a non-venomous species that kills by constriction. To save energy during the dry season when food and water are scarce, pythons reduce their body temperature. Can dig and live in burrows to escape daytime heat. Small, streamlined head and nonprotrusive eyes may be adaptations to entering burrows and hollows.
The glossy, black head that is characteristic of this species helps regulate body temperature as well, allowing the majority of the snake’s body to remain hidden while it extends only its head from its burrow. In order to cool themselves, they may bury their dark head in the sand. When disturbed, black-headed pythons occasionally hiss, but rarely bite. They may also strike with their mouths closed when threatened
Refences: California Academy of Sciences, Water planet: Little Water 2018
Ron's Wordpress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-1YU
Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Aspidites_melanocephalus/
1-23-13, 11-7-14, 1-20-16, 10-28-18