Aspidites ramsayi, commonly known as Ramsay's python, Woma python, and Wand python, is a species of snake endemic to Australia. The woma and Black Headed pythons are the only two species in the genus Aspidites. The woma occupies arid regions, including red sand desert moderately covered by Spinifex and poverty bush (Acacia translucens), throughout much of Australia. The black-headed python occupies more humid, semitropical environs across northern Australia. Once common throughout Western Australia, it has become critically endangered in some regions. Adults average 1.5 m (4.5 feet) in total length. The head is narrow and the eyes small. The body is broad and flattish in profile while the tail tapers to a thin point. The color may be pale brown to nearly black. The pattern consists of a ground colour that varies from medium brown and olive to lighter shades of orange, pink, and red, overlaid with darker striped or brindled markings. The belly is cream or light yellow with brown and pink blotches. The scales around the eyes are usually a darker color than the rest of the head. Woma Pythons may reach a total length of 2.3 m (7.5 ft), with a snout-vent length (SVL) of 2.0 m (6.6 ft).
Woma Pythons are found in Australia in the west and center of the country: from Western Australia through southern Northern Territory and northern South Australia to southern Queensland and northwestern New South Wales. Its range may be discontinuous. The type locality given is "near Forte Bourke" (New South Wales, Australia). In the wild, Woma Pythons prey upon a variety of terrestrial vertebrates such as small mammals, ground birds, and lizards. They catch much of their prey in burrows where there is not enough room to maneuver coils around their prey; instead, the woma pushes a loop of its body against the animal to pin it against the side of the burrow. Many adult Womas are covered in scars from retaliating rodents as this technique doesn't kill prey as quickly as normal constriction.
Woma Pythons are considered to be more active than many pythons, as well as being a very docile and "easy to handle" snake. The Woma Python is highly sought after in the reptile and exotic pet trade. They are one of the hardiest python species in captivity, often enthusiastically accepting prey and other items. One made headlines in May 2015 for requiring surgery to remove the feeding tongs it had swallowed as well as its meal. Although it is considered to be an endangered species, mainly due to the destruction of its natural habitat, this snake will breed in captivity. The Woma Python is largely nocturnal. By day this snake may be found sheltering in hollow logs or under leaf debris. When travelling across hot sands or other surfaces it lifts its body off the ground and reaches far forward before pushing off the ground again, having only a few inches of its body touching the ground at a time. The Woma Python adapts well to a variety of captive-maintenance programs, including a natural type of setup that would allow the snake to burrow into sandy soil and have rocks to climb over, or a simple setup of a plastic drawer in a rack system, utilizing newspaper or aspen mulch as substrate. Regardless of the type of captive environment you provide, one common item should always be applied: a hide box. Although womas seem relaxed in most any setting, it is important to remember that this is a nocturnal, burrowing snake, and a pet will fare better with a dark, tight recess in which to retreat. Womas are active snakes, and it is beneficial to give them a spacious enclosure, but they can be kept modestly.
Woma Pythons typically lay between 5 and 20 eggs per clutch. Females remain coiled around their eggs until they hatch, with the incubation period lasting 2–3 months. An adult female that is about 4–5 years old and 5 feet (about 1.5 m) in total length will usually lay about 11 eggs. Woma pythons can be raised to an adult size of about 4 feet within the first year, but a smaller size is more typical, and they can be bred as early as 2 years old. Adult womas have been observed breeding throughout the year, but females only seem to be biologically receptive during specific times. Although they may be seen copulating, females will not produce eggs every time. A seasonal cooling is beneficial for successful woma breeding. A cooling down around October or November will often stimulate copulation and will lead to successful conception. This cooling can be achieved simply by turning off heating pads at night and allowing ambient high temperatures to drop by 5 degrees, turning your heat pads back on and raising ambient temperatures back to normal each day.
Males can be introduced into a female’s enclosure, and they will continue to breed throughout much of the temperature decrease. Cooling should last three to five months, and you will begin to notice less interaction between your snakes toward the end of the cooling cycle. Males can be removed from the female’s enclosure at this time. Unlike other python species, the female does not appear to ovulate before copulation. Instead, she develops palpable follicles and visible swelling only after successful mating. Oviposition may not occur for as long as three to five months after successful conception, and adult females may produce anywhere from three to more than 20 relatively large eggs. At this point, the female should be maintained at the standard daytime high temperatures all day long. Problems can be avoided by providing a nest box large enough for the female to move into as oviposition approaches.
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