D' ALBERTS PYTHON [leiopython albertisii] a.k.a. White Lip python
GEOGRAPHY Papua New Guinea ,Irian Jaya and in the Northern territory of Australia only on a couple of small islands in the Torres Strait. They inhabit mostly rainforest swampy type habitat close to a water source.The Northern form of the white lip is a varying golden color having a cream belly,the Southern form is a larger snake and is a dark solid black color with a whiter belly and is roughly 8-10 times more expensive!!.
CARE This is definately one of the most beautiful snakes available.Some can be extremely golden and some may have a slight orange tinge to them.Hand picked specimens are prefered as a top notched white lip can be one of the most beautiful snakes in your collection.They have an incredible irridescence showing all colors of the rainbow.However this is not the most tame snake.Most imports are very testy and will not hesitate to bite.They would prefer to escape however if they feel threatened look out!They have got to be the fastest striking snake on the planet!Sometimes you cant even see them they are so fast.Any White lip owners can back me up am I right?To top that off they also have the most amount of teeth for a python!However it is a relatively small python and bites are painful but are not a medical emergency.They are also fast so keep this in mind when trying to catch them.Smaller specimens and we are talking imports are sometimes much more tolerant of handling than adult specimens.Adults should be approached slowly and should be lifted slowly wearing a nice pair of gloves just in case.You may have to grab the animal by the neck however a lot of struggling will ensue.Just be sure to watch your face .They are fast and may not want to cooperate with a hook jumping off and heading in the oposite direction you want them to go.Again they would rather escape than fight.They also when molested may hide their head under neath a few coils like a ball python however if this does not work they either run or attack or do both at the same time!Smaller specimens and c.b. become tolerant of handling however adults usually do not.They require fairly large enclosures a 4 ft. by 2 ft. enclosure being quite adequate for large adults.They also need moderately high humidity around 75%.They can be kept on bark mulch cork bark or newspaper which is harder to keep humid.They also require a bowl large enough to soak in as they love to soak especially before a shed,of course this is usually done at night.They need a hide box which will definately be utilized by imports.They are nocturnal and the best chance of seeing them is at night when they come out to soak and have a look around.They do seem to like to climb and a few branches may be added to the enclosure this also adds asthetic value especially in a well planted vivarium,which is how I suggest keeping them.They can be quite stunnung in a well planted vivarium.the cage temps should be in the low 80s with a basking spot of about 90'.The skin on d'alberts is sensitive to both too high humidity read that to mean real soggy wet conditions and to dry of an enclosure,so watch the skin to make sure it looks healthy and not wrinkled or soggy looking.Itis very soft and supple and extremely susceptible to mold and bacteria problems,so enclosures for this species needs to be immaculate!They also have trouble shedding if not provided with high humidity and a soaking container.With that in mind and knowing that these snakes are not very friendly, individuals intimidated by such snakes should either buy small specimens or pass these by,because they really do need clean enclosures for optimal health and may waste away and be afflicted with many problems if kept in bad conditions.Acclimating imports is fairly easy however these are a snake loaded with parasites.I have seen some pass a bowel with 10 or 12 live writhing worms yuk!They rank up there with amethystines and papuans for parasite loads [both of which I will cover soon!]So a few good doses of panacur are in order.They are also plagued by bacteria problems probably because of the swampy habitat they come from then they are captured for the pet trade and bacteria and parasites can grow rapidly.So a drug such as flagyl and nutri biotic should be used also.They are sometimes tricky to feed at first and it may take a few months for them to get started.However if you treat them for parasites give them a hide box and a humid terrarium they need a night time period to roam around in,and if you leave them alone for the most part they will come around.Adults should not be handled often as it is just too much stress on them.They do adjust to captivity after a while but give them a chance before you start trying to handle them.Its funny if I ever see my D'alberts out laying in the day time I usually call over who ever I am with to show them.They will be all curled up with either their head tightly in a ball or neck covered up by coils with head pointing up.I will look at them walk away and then come back in a couple of minutes and boom they saw me and made their escape to the hide box.They generally do not strike out at the enclosure if they are coiled and you walk by however if you walk up to them and make any sudden moves they may strike rather than run.And like I said before you may fall backwards because they can strike from any position and with out warning faster than any snake youve ever seen.They should start feeding on small dead rats that should be left over night in the enclosure live rats may startle the snake and they may perceive it as a threat in their enclosure rather than a food item,they are rather jumpy that way.They will usually eat sometime over night.I usually leave mine right at the front of their hide box.It can lay there for 8 hours for some of my specimens in the day time but as soon as the lights go out 10 minutes later it is usually gone.Some may begin feeding in the day time especially if placed in front of the hide box it will be dragged in and eaten in privacy usually.You may want to cover the front of the enclosure for a few months to acclimate the specimen to its new surroundings.
SIZE This is a slender nice sized python reaching between 4-6ft.extremely large females may be 7ft in length.The southern black race is larger reaching lengths of 6-8ft. with large females pushing 10 ft.Both have a beautiful irridescence and the classic "white lips".The head is clearly set of from the body and is a solid jet black.Gorgeous snake!!
FEEDING As stated above most will feed at night for you.Adults should be fed once a week on medium sized rats maybe a couple of them .Juveniles should be fed pink mice every three to four days and then gradguated to pink rats by 6-12 months of age.Most imports become very reliable feeders after being in captivity about one year.Juveniles can be raised to be verocious feeders.Most imports will not feed during winter months and this may last a couple of winters after initial introduction to captivity.
BREEDING Well this species is not that difficult to propogate as long as a few details are paid attention to.First problem many first time d'albert breeders have is that they can get their snakes to copulate and lay eggs however the eggs are rarely fertile.I have heard this many times from friends.Second is that after they lay the eggs the snakes usually have some type of respiratory problem.If I did not mention earlier this species does seem susceptible to cold temperatures and imports should be looked at carefully to make sure the snake does not have a respiratory problem or mouthrot which is usually associated with a respiratory problem.This is chiefly due to the bacteria pseudomonas which can cause either or both problems.When snakes are subjected to colder temps [humans too] the immune system gets weaker and therefore more susceptible to disease and sickness.If the animal is a stressed out import this adds to the drop in the immune system and almost certainly disease.This is why many imports especially lizards which are stressed to the max usually are sick and die soon after capture.So where was I? Oh yea the trick with d'alberts is to lower the temps low enough to have fertile egg production.Most times lower 70s will bring on copulation and egg laying but not fertile eggs.The temps for d;alberts should drop into the middle 60s.It is also absolutely necessary to raise the day time temps into the high 80s to avoid sick snakes.I suggest a stagerring effect with the temperatures for example:one night the temps are allowed to drop to 62' the next night temps drop to 68' and the third night temps drop to 72' after the third night the temps can then be dropped to 62 and then you can repeat.This may be sufficient to produce fertile eggs however the night temps will not consistently be real low.Any way how many times do our night temps drop to the exact temperature in consecutive times?Again you will always need to warm up day time temps into the high 80s.I would not place males together as this is a high strung animal and I would guess that the combats would be serious!I have not seen males and females in the same cage however fight.Generally the bigger specimen intimidates the smaller taking more food and using the best "hide spot" if only one is used they may force the smaller one out so they should be kept solitary unless breeding is attempted.Coplulation occurs at night usually when you are not watching!Females lay eggs about 3 months after a fertile copulation.If incubated at 90' they will hatch in about 56-60 days.If incubated between 86-88 incubation takes between 70-80 days so they should be incubated between 88-90'.Temps that are too low or too high will cause severe kinking in this species and possible fetal death.The hatchlings are snappy and should be kept singly in plastic shoe boxes.Oh boy here we go again this is another one of those come on just take the darn pinki just like the savus!!Slap feeding seems to work the best as I explained in the savu review.The pink should be held until the snake strikes and the teeth are stuck.But again do not move and try to duck low under the cage so they do not see you.Hatchlings may refuse all food except scented pinks.The pink should be scented with some type of skink or house gecko.Some hatchlings will only start feeding on these.The hatchlings should be kept as the adults with higher humidity and temps in the 80s',not to hard to achieve in the shoeboxes.A hide spot should be given as juvies are very high strung and jumpy.Once they begin to feed juveniles can be raised as awesome feeders.They become breeding size when they reach males=2-3 years old and about 4' females=3-4 years old and between 4 and 5 ft.Average clutch is between 7 and 12 however first time females may have around 5 and well bred large females may have as many as 20!Make sure you grab the eggs early from the females when they are still tired from laying because this is a snake that can put up a heck of a fight to protect her clutch!
NOTES I give a 4 on adult size because if you have not noticed by now I love large snakes however some get too large for the average person.This is not one of them they will never need larger than rats and they are safe to handle alone.I give a 1 on handling because imports can be very frustrating and when caught usually after biting spew all sorts of nasty fluid on your clothes so dont plan on going any where after you handle your imports unless you like the smell of "snake musk" sounds nice but its not!!Housing is a 3 because they really do not need large enclosures a 3 or 4 foot cage being adequate.Feeding is a 2 for fresh imports however long term and c.b. well started animals can be great feeders!Temperament is a 1 for imported adults.However small specimens and captive raised or born can become extremely friendly and may just become your favorite snake.I think these snakes are awesome!With that beautiful black head that is unusual ,with the longer nose ,and is a personal favorite when tame of course!