Pygmy python

Antaresia perthensis

TAXONOMY

Antaresia perthensis Stull, 1932, Perth, western Australia (erroneous).

OTHER COMMON NAMES English: Ant hill python.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This is considered to be the smallest python species; most adults measure 18.5-22 in (48-56 cm).

DISTRIBUTION

Pygmy pythons are found in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

HABITAT

The species most often is encountered in areas of rocky hills vegetated in shrubs and spinifex. In some areas they shelter in termite mounds.

BEHAVIOR

Little is known of the pygmy python in the wild. It is most often encountered crossing roads at night. In captivity the pygmy python is known to be a hardy species that does well for its keepers.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Pygmy pythons are primarily lizard eaters; small mammals are included in the diet of adults.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

A pygmy python usually becomes sexually mature in its third year. Females are larger than males, though the difference is not great in older animals. The eggs of this species measure about 1.5 in (38 mm) in length. Clutch size ranges up to 10 eggs. Hatchlings are about 7-8 in (18-20 cm) in length. Babies have a more defined pattern than the adults.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Found only in the state of Western Australia, pygmy pythons are afforded strict protection.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

The pygmy python exists largely unseen and undisturbed by humans. ♦

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