Scientific name:
Python Breitensteini
The Borneo Short-tailed Python..................

also known as the Borneo Blood Python is the intermediate sized species of the short-tailed pythons. Being smaller than Python Brongersmai (Malaysian/Sumatran Red Blood Python) & larger than Python Curtus (Sumatran Black Blood Python). This heavy-bodied python has a massive girth with large female specimens weighing in at over 30 pounds. Males generally reach lengths of 2-4 feet while females are larger averaging at 3-5 feet but have been known to exceed 6 feet. This is one species of snake that is quickly diminishing in vast numbers in the wild. Over 60,000 short-tailed pythons are killed each year to supply the skin trade. Their huge body mass & attractive patterning unfortunately seem to make them 'the' choice of species both economically & aesthetically.

Borneos are generally chocolate brown in colour with a tan & cream variable pattern. Their head is typically a tan colour with light to dark brown lateral markings. The brown base colour can vary from almost black to a rich caramel colour while pattern mutations such as 'marbled' (random swirled collages of pattern), "striped" (partial-body striping) & "super-striped" (full-body striping) can occur both in the wild & be selectively bred in captivity.

From experience the Borneo Short-tailed Python has a fantastic temperament & is widely considered to be best natured of all the short-tailed pythons. They are extremely fast growing. A 12 inch hatchling can easily exceed 2 feet in it's first year.

Distribution
As it's name suggests, the Borneo Short-tailed Python is found on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. Their habitat consists of rice paddy fields, flood plains & the surrounding swampy, poorly drained forested areas.
Housing

Short-tailed pythons require lot's of floor space. This is one snake where floor space should always take priority over height. The cage should ideally allow the snake to almost completely stretch-out (which seems to be a key factor in avoiding respiratory infections), have good depth for turning & be able to hold a good level of humidity.

All our snakes are housed in a converted cellar. This allows us to control the environment almost entirely while taking advantage of the natural year round humidity. We artificially control photo periods & room temperature which fluctuates with the seasons naturally but will only shift around 1 degree C during each day. This is especially useful for cooling our animals in the winter but also provides added peace of mind during Summer heatwaves. The ambient room temperature is checked each morning (to allow us to make any adjustments for the day ahead) & each evening. Good thermostats also provide added insurance against failing equipment. The daily use of a good digital thermometer & hydrometer cannot be stressed enough.

We house ours in a large sized (4'x2'x1.5") preformed plastic cages with sliding sealed lids with vents. Adult Borneos need 6-8 square feet of floor space, while hatchlings are best raised in Rubbermaid/Conteco boxes that are large enough not to restrict the snakes movements but also make the snake feel secure. If the container is too large there is a risk that the snake will refuse to feed. We use undercage heating in the form of 2 heat mats (20 watt) at one end. This indirectly heats just over a third of the cage floor. The cage has 5mm feet to allow for thermal ventilation. This provides a 25-31°C temperature gradient. Our cages naturally keep 60% year round humidity which works fine. We raise the humidity to around 75% at shedding times with the use of Sphagnum moss & daily misting. This produces perfect sheds. Our Borneos utilise both ends of their enclosure all year round, thermoregulating naturally. We use a newspaper substrate, two hides (one at each end) & a large ceramic water bowl (placed in the cool end). This species drinks a lot of water & needs a fresh supply at all times.

Feeding
Short-tailed Pythons have ferocious appetites. One rat a week of an appropriate size will suffice. Hatclings start on rat pups, progressively taking larger prey until, as adults, will consume large rats with relish. Our Borneos will strike-feed all year round except when shedding. Care must be taken with adults as their strike is both very fast & very powerful. We use a good strong pair of barbecue tongues that have long handles to offer food with. The trick is to release the prey item just as the snake makes contact. Otherwise you may find the tongues being ripped from your grasp! Short-tailed Pythons prefer prey to be offered warm. A preference that is particularly noticeable with hatchlings. It is important not to handle the snake for at least 2 days after feeding to avoid regurgitation.
In General
The Borneo Short-tailed Python is an attractive & rewarding animal. This is not a beginners snake & potential keepers should have experience with working with high-humidity species. There is a huge difference in temperament between wild caught & captive bred specimens. This is one species of snake where it really does pay to purchase a good captive bred animal.
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