The head is usually gray, although some specimens may exhibit a black or even reddish head, they are also known for their changing head colors. So a black-headed snake in the morning could have a very pale, faded head coloration in the evening and vice versa. They are the only species of the three short-tailed pythons with a red color phase – leading to this snake’s common name “blood python.” Individuals with the red color phase have patterns of rich, bright red to orange, to a duller rusty red ground color. The main color pattern of each snake is overlaid with yellow and tan blotches and stripes that run the length of the body, as well as tan and black spots that extend up the sides. The belly is usually white, very often with small, blackish markings. Those with the blood red color phase go through a gradual, yet significant, color change prior to maturity. Blood pythons will prey upon small mammals and occasionally birds. Rats, mice, and other rodents make up the majority of their diet. These pythons are more active during the night and will often hide under leaves, brush, or in the water to ambush prey. They are non-venomous snakes, like all pythons, and kill their prey by constriction. After biting their prey, they wrap around it and squeeze tighter every time the prey lets out a breath, until the prey is dead. Blood pythons then swallow the item whole. They are also aided by heat-sensing pits on their upper lips that help them to detect their warm-blooded prey.

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The Blood Python is medium to large-sized, non-venomous snake species found in the Malay Peninsula, Thailand, Sumatra, and other smaller islands. They inhabit forested hills, marshes, and tropical swamps. These snakes can reach an average of 4-6 feet in length and weigh up to 30 pounds. Females are larger than males overall, but males tend to have longer tails. Their body color ranges from tan, brown, and yellow to a cherry red, bright red, or oxblood. Lighter gold, tan, or orange and black blotches and stripes overlay the main body color. The belly is usually white, very often with small blackish markings. Blood pythons are carnivores that eat mainly small mammals, but will also consume birds as well.

Breeding season likely occurs in late fall/winter. Females are oviparous and about 60-70 days after a successful mate will lay 12-30 eggs. Hatchlings will emerge after 2-3 months and mature around 2-4 years old. Snakes are becoming more popular in the pet trade. By purchasing and owning an exotic animal, you could be supporting the illegal exotic pet trade so be sure to do your research and only purchase from reputable breeders.

Habitat and Range

Blood pythons are native to the low forested hills, marshes, and tropical swamps of Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Unconfirmed records state that these snakes may be found in several other countries, like Singapore, but it is more likely that they were introduced there by humans.

They have been known to exist well in human populated areas and are especially found in oil palm plantations where they feed on rodents attracted to the area. It is believed that the ability to thrive in these human-modified areas is leading to an increase in the general population of the species.


Blood Pythons

Baby Red Blood Python


Blood pythons are a medium to large-sized snake. The blood python is a thick bodied snake with a long, broad head and short tail that tapers at the end. They can reach an average height of 4-6 feet (some individuals can grow to 8 feet, but that is very rare) and weigh up to 30 pounds. Females tend to be larger than males, but have shorter tails. Blood pythons range greatly in coloration, from a dark brown to a light yellow.