Python anchietae

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Python anchietae
Angolan Dwarf Python (Python anchietae).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Pythonidae
Genus: Python
Species: P. anchietae
Binomial name
Python anchietae
Bocage, 1887
Common names: Angolan python, Anchieta's dwarf python.[2]

Python anchietae is a nonvenomous python species endemic to southern Africa. According to Broadley (1990), this species is most closely related to the royal python, P. regius, of western Africa,[2] and no subspecies are currently recognized.[3] It is named after the Portuguese naturalist and explorer José Alberto de Oliveira Anchieta.


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.[2] 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.[4]

Approximate distribution
Hatching twins

Range and habitat[edit]

Found in Africa in southern Angola and northern Namibia. The type locality given is "Catumbella [Catumbela]" near Lobito, Angola.[1] Habitats are rocky outcrops or areas strewn with rocks in open brush or grassland.[2] Diurnal, they shelter in small caves, overhangs and crevices.

Behaviour and biology[edit]

They exhibit similar temperament to their closest cousin, the ball python. They hiss, but this is mostly bluff.[2] Diet consists of small mammals and birds.[2] They are oviparous, with small clutches of four to five eggs being produced at a time. It is not known whether the females "incubate" their eggs as is typical for the members of this family. Hatchlings are 43–46 cm (17-18 inches) in length.[2]


The species is rare in captivity 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 catching them.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  3. ^ "Python anchietae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 21 September 2007. 
  4. ^ Branch, Bill. 2004. Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Third Revised edition, Second Impression. Ralph Curtis Books. Sanibel Island, Florida. 399 pp. (Python anchietae, p. 59 & Plate 17.)

External links[edit]