Papua New Guinea including Woitape[where specimen above is from] Mt. Brown,Kainantu, Goroka,Tari and the goodenough Is. It is only known outside of N.G. in and around the Wissel Lakes [Irian Jaya].This is a high altitude mid montane rainforest species.Found mostly on the ground or in burroghs,however it is often found in the trees and climbs well.
SIZE This is a moderately large specimen with adults reaching 7-8 feet.However it is not uncommon to see females pushing and exceeding 10 feet in length.The hatchlings are between 16-20" and grow quite slow in python standards with males reaching breeding age at around 3 years and females taking as much as 5 years to reach maturity.
CARE Little is known about this species.In years past it has proven difficult to keep alive in captivity with specimens never making it past a few months.Also there were not that many specimens imported to the United States because not many permits were ever issued.However this is not a rare snake.In fact it is quite abbundant in its territories and will soon be shipped to the states in larger numbers,the past couple of years have proven that.I blam the poor record for captive specimens on poor management of the exporters keeping them in crowded stressed and dirty conditions.Most were smuggled in to the states and were severly stressed.Enter the late 90's.The trend in Indonesia is now toward captive propogation and proper management of species for export.In fact alot of the new exporters are now avid herpetoculturists and are worried about the snakes well being and not how much they can get for it.Boelens pythons are now being kept like gems over there and these new imports are proving that.Most times they are feeding and de parasitized before even exported to the states!This snake commands a high price tag $2000-$3000 for imports and $6000-$10,000 for captive born babies which have only been bred a few times in the states so far.Rest assured that this species will soon become more affordable due to the amount of imports that are now and will be coming in and the quality of these snakes.The captive born animals will probably drop considerably in the next few years.This is a beautiful snake and will become popular.They require a temp in the high 70s with a basking spot between 88-95 degrees.They need high humidity say around 75%,but the substrate should not become wet and the humidity should not be excessive.Bright light should be avoided especially with newly imported specimens.Substrate should consist of either bark mulch or cork bark to keep the humidity high although newspaper can be used as well.A large water bowl is necessary.This species may benefit from high enclosures with plenty of branches however they will do equally well in lower terrariums.They also seem to love to bask in natural sun light.They love to bask on a branch or log high off of the ground.They also seem to be somewhat nocturnal coming out at night to poke around.Specimens also need a good hiding space.I use cork bark for a natural look and smell for the pythons.They seem to just hang out when established and use the hiding place less often then.They do not have the best temperament with specimens not hesitating to lash out and bite.However some are actually quite docile I myself have had downright sweet tempered imports.Most specimens act much like the amethystine python.Although their teeth are no where as big as the scrub python!The hatchlings like wise seem to have bad temperaments.Despite this fact they do calm down in captivity in a while and can become good fedeers!The only problem is it takes years for that to happen!You can rarely get a boelens in my experience to eat in the first 6 months of captivity.Of course some will but dont count on it!My personal advice on this species is to de parasitize as soon as they are aquired.Force feeding should commence aproximately 2 months after refusal of all food items.I have seen specimens with great weight say 6 or 7 pounds waste to under 2 pounds in about 3 or 4 months so maintanence ONLY force feed after about two months of refusal.This will give the animal time to adjust to its new surroundings.Once established this is an easy snake to take care of and can be kept like any other Indo/New Guinea python.These snakes also tend to have a habit of messing up their face by rubbing their nose in corners and rough spots.They can get infected rub nose and such so that should be taken care of with a good anti biotic ointment.They also may get loads of substrate in their mouth because they like to poke around.My advice is to not put ANY sharp or rigid items with newly aquired imports as their stress leads to "roaming" and that leads to face scratches and wounds.Water bowls should be smooth and hide boxes branches etc. should be smooth as well.Like wise their skin is super soft and when thin and malnurished can suffer from skin tears and ruptures.This should be treated with a strong antibiotic solution and large tears need either stitches or a liquid bandage for the tear to heal.As well specimens commonly suffer from respiratory problems.Radiant heat and a basking spot of 90 degrees should help.These snakes due seem to bask at high temperatures regaurdless of their high cool mountainous homeland.They will bask in full sunlight at 98 degrees!.
FEEDINGAdults will be sustained on large rats and smaller rabbits and guinea pigs.Most new imports feed on birds and should be fed clean chikens or chicks but make sure to buy good stock as you dont want your snake with an overload of salmonella!!Quail and other captive bred birds may be tried.Many specimens like quail.But they should be supplemented every second or third feeding [every one for newly eating snakes] with a good vitamin mineral supplement.I use mineral I for minerals and calcium with good results. Juveniles can be fed pink mice and mice as they get older.Adult import specimens may prefer birds to rats or mice and chicks are sometimes readily taken if rats are not.However they may take a few months before eating on their own.
BREEDINGThis so far has not been a common event in the states so far however many have established groups of adults and breeding will become more common.This species also seems to get respiratory problems when cooled to low so a stagering effect may cure this.Lights should be dropped from 12 hours on to 8 hours on.Temps should be dropped at night to the low 60's.This species native environment in New Guinea frequently drops to the low 50's at night during winter months so lower temps may be required to achieve breeding.It is not yet known whether they need to be combated before breeding however I would think this species males to be very vicious fighters and I would not attemp it.Mating to egg laying takes between 2 and 4 months and they will lay between 10 and 30 eggs averaging 15-20.If incubated at 88-90' they should hatch between 60 and 70 days.The neonates look nothing like the adults.They are a rust reddish color with light crossbands down the back that turn darker with age.The animal also turns darker until they are jet black.They have an incredible irridescence!The hatchlings have not proven difficult to feed in fact most readily excepting pink or fuzzy mice.The hatchlings are arboreal and should have branches to climb on.They usually feed by 2 months of age but may take 3 or 4 before feeding usually becoming very aggressive feeders!This species has only been bred one or two times in the states and only a few specimens are still alive.A few wild caught females have laid eggs and they have hatched but again those juveniles have done poorly as well.If you can get the hatchlings healthy they will feed and do great!It just seems that most hatchlings are not healthy to begin with.Maybe standard 88-90 incubation temps are too high!I would suggest 86 as a starting point and that may cure this species juvenile ills.
NOTES This is one gorgeous snake!I have heard people say that it is the most beautiful python they have seen!I tend to agree.They truly are one of my favorites!I give a good mark on size as they are big but not too big.Handling may be tough with some imports because of the bad temperament.Housing is a 2 because adults will require a moderately large enclosures however no where near that of a retic or burm with the high humidity and will need frequent cleanings and upkeep because of that so it does not get stale or moldy.Feeding is a 2 or four because some imports may only eat chicks,however rest assured that they do become better with time.Temperament is 1 or 2 for most imports.However smaller specimens can be raised to be calm and handleable and some imports may be quite docile it seems to be on one end or the other.