6308 Monona Dr., Monona WI 53516
ANGOLAN PYTHON Caresheet
Common Name: Angolan python
Scientific Name: Python anchietae
Origin: Southern Africa
Size: average 5 feet
Lifespan: 30+ years
You will find many ways on the internet, on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of breeding and caring for this species.
Angolans come from a rocky dry climate but will hide under rocks and ledges where there is more moisture. Babies can be started in enclosures as small as 10 gallons. At around a year old, you can increase the size. There are several kinds of enclosures that work for Angolan pythons, e.g., glass aquariums or any of the commercially available plastic-type reptile cages. For yearlings, step up to an enclosure that is at least 30" x 12" (like Zilla critter cage 20 Long) or go to the adult enclosure size. Adults do well in a tank at least 36" x 18" (Exo Terra Large, or Zilla 40 gal). If you use a glass tank, you will want to provide a humid hide (like reptile hides), that is, a hide that has some damp moss in it for extra humidity. A shy snake will feel more secure if there is a hide for it on the cool side and the warm side of the enclosure (more about that in the heating section).
You can use many types of bedding for your Angolan. Those that work best are Zoo Med repti bark, Zilla jungle mix, Zoo Med eco earth, Zoo Med aspen, and Zoo Med forest floor. Spot clean the bedding whenever they defecate. You should only need to clean the whole thing out about once a month. Disinfect the enclosure and change the bedding at that time. Zoo Meds wipe out or vinegar and water both work good for cage cleaning.
LIGHTING AND HEAT
Angolans originate from Africa and they like it fairly warm. Like all reptiles, they are dependent on external thermoregulation to control their body temperature. This essentially means you need to provide a hot and a cool side to your enclosure. All the heat elements should be on one side and the other will then be the cool side. This way your Angolan can move back and forth between the different temperatures depending on its needs.
The hot side basking spot should be at 87-90 degrees. Put one hide there and another hide on the cooler side. The cool side can be between 75-80 degrees. At night it can drop down to 72 ambient temperature. It's a good idea to use a basking light and an under tank heat pad also. The heat pads are usually placed on the hot side with a hide over it. We recommend a Zoo Med heat mat or Exo Terra heat pad that stays on 24/7 to give them a little bit of supplemental heat during the night. Both of these are placed on the outside, underneath the enclosure. You want a heat pad that only covers half the tank (or less). The basking light should be housed in a good quality light dome like Exo Terra and Flukers that has a ceramic housing to tolerate high heat and an on/off switch.
Use a good quality temperature gauge too, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer. Don't guess at it. You can also use a rheostat and/or timers to control your heat source. We do not recommend the use of hot rocks. They have a tendency to heat unevenly over too small an area and can cause serious burns.
Keep a non-porous water bowl in with your Angolan and make sure it always has clean water. Exo Terras water bowls or Flukers water bowls are good decorative choices or a good ceramic crock dish. Scrub the bowl at least once a week to keep bacteria slime from building up. If you maintain a humidity level of about 50%, your Angolan python will be able to shed properly. Hand misters are usually sufficient but if you don't care to remember to mist, an automatic mister like the Exo Terra monsoon or the reptile fogger are nice options.
Do not handle your Angolan for several hours before you are going to feed it. Angolans are generally not picky eaters and will usually take frozen thawed or live mice/rats.
Hatchlings to 2 years
1 rodent of appropriate size once a week. This means the girth of the rodent should not exceed the girth of the snake (at it's biggest point, not his neck size) Some people say you can give them rodents 1 1/2 times as big as the girth of the snake. However, we have found that Angolans eat better if you don't exceed the its girth. Do not handle your snake for at least 24 hours after it has eaten.
You can cut back to 1 rodent every 2 weeks if you want. If you do this make sure it is a decent size meal, don't skimp.
Continue on the once a week regime with a slightly smaller meal than if you are feeding every two weeks.
Snakes in general tend not to eat when they are in shed. Just wait to feed until your pet sheds.
Babies usually will eat through the winter as long as they are warm enough. However, adult Angolan pythons might go off food during this time. If your snake wants to skip some meals in winter, just keep an eye on its overall condition and body weight. Typically with a healthy Angolan python, this is nothing to worry about. If your snake is healthy and your husbandry and temperatures and good, then simply offer it food every two weeks or so until it starts eating again.
The Angolan python is very similar in looks to the ball python. However there are some differences. They generally are more outgoing and not as shy as balls. They are also more active. Physically, Angolans are more knobby to the touch and have more pearl like scales.
When holding your pet, always remember to support your snake's body. Once your Angolan python realizes that you will not hurt it, it often seem to enjoy being handled. Avoid touching the top of your new pythons head. Unless it knows and trusts you, touching the top of the head will cause it to jerk back. The fast movement is called being "head shy" and tends to scare a lot of new snake owners. Most pythons will get over it with gentle handling.