Python anchietae (Common names: Angolan python, Anchieta's dwarf python), is a nonvenomous python species endemic to southern Africa. They may grow up to 183 cm (6 ft). The color pattern is a reddish-brown to brown to almost black ground, overlaid with irregular white or cream colored bands and spots. The belly is yellowish. A rare species seldom seen in the wild or in captivity, it is the only python to have "bead-like" head scales. It has heat sensitive pits, five on each side of the head, on the upper lip. The smooth dorsal scales are arranged in 57-61 rows. The Angolan python’s scalation is arranged like beads glued to the surface of its body. Unlike most snakes, they have a very bumpy feel. This scalation is very common in reptiles occupying arid environments, and it acts as an efficient means of collecting and keeping what little moisture they encounter, such as seasonal rains or condensation.
The Angolan Python is mostly limited to a relatively small range in southwest Africa along the eastern margin of the Namib Desert. Extending from northern Namibia to southern Angola, this area gets little to no precipitation for years at a time. Dependence on microhabitats such as rocky outcroppings and caves provide the only relief from the harsh elements of this environment. Temperatures can range from the low extreme of 32 degrees Fahrenheit up to 122 degrees. In the wild, Gerbils and ground birds are their primary choice of prey, but lizards and even some invertebrates fill a small portion of the diet as well when the opportunity arises.
Angolan pythons have long been unavailable to both zoo and private collections. This is partially due to the long civil war in Angola. Although the war is over, the fields and forests are covered with land mines and few dare to risk seeking out the Angolan python. The snake has a limited range, often within harsh and inaccessible habitat, and it’s scarce in captivity. However, with ever-improving captive maintenance and breeding husbandry, the availability of these animals has gotten better in recent years and this handsome, moderately sized snake has found its way into the collections of snake keepers around the world.
For an ideal breeding situation, males should weigh around 1500 grams and females around 1800 grams by the beginning of October of their third or fourth year. A nighttime drop of approximately 10 degrees should be achieved gradually over a period of two weeks, so the ambient temperature drops from 78 to 80 degrees down to 68 to 70 degrees. The daytime ambient high of 80 degrees continues during this cooling period. It is initiated on October 1st, because this time of year seems to be key for triggering ovulation and subsequent copulation in this species. Probably due to the shorter days and natural temperature drops, the fall season traditionally works well for most captive python species in North America. Angolan python clutch sizes are generally between 7 and 10 large eggs, weighing around 140 grams each.