Stimson's python

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Stimson's python
CSIRO ScienceImage 3883 Stimsons Python.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Pythonidae
Genus: Antaresia
A. stimsoni
Binomial name
Antaresia stimsoni
(L.A. Smith, 1985)
  • Antaresia saxacola
    Wells & Wellington, 1985
    (nomen nudum)
  • Liasis stimsoni stimsoni
    L.A. Smith, 1985
  • Liasis stimsoni orientalis
    L.A. Smith, 1985
  • Morelia stimsoni
    — Underwood & Stimson, 1990
  • Liasis stimsoni
    — Cogger, 1992
  • A[ntaresia]. stimsoni
    — Kluge, 1993[2]

Stimson's python (Antaresia stimsoni) is a species of python, a snake in the family Pythonidae. The species is endemic to Australia. Stimson's pythons are sold and kept as pets in some Australian states.


Lawrence Alec Smith described the species in 1985. Both the specific name, stimsoni, and the common name, Stimson's python, are in honour of herpetologist Andrew Francis Stimson of the Natural History Museum, London.[3]

Antaresia stimsoni is commonly and incorrectly referred to as Stimpson's python (Antaresia stimpsoni). The species is also called the large-blotched python, for the patterns of its markings, or an inland children's python, in reference to its genus.

Four species are currently recognized in the genus Antaresia, which is contained by the family Pythonidae; infraspecific ranks have also been described.[4][5] All Children's pythons were previously place in the genus Liasis, but this was revised by authors in the 1980s. The new genus Antaresia was proposed by Wells and Wellington, but their name for this species, Antaresia saxacola, was withheld from acceptance due to a petition before the ICZN. When this dispute was resolved in 1991, and the genus name already in use, L. A. Smith's epithet stimsoni had appeared in several publications. While the nomenclatural validity of Antaresia stimsoni is questionable, this is the current and accepted name.

A new subspecies, A. s. orientalis was also described by Smith (1985), but not recognized as valid by Barker and Barker (1994).[2] However, the list of taxa maintained by the Western Australian Museum names two subspecies.[6]

The Western Australian subspecies, A. stimsoni stimsoni, occurs in coastal regions and the interior of the state.[7][8][9]

A newly described form called the pygmy banded python may be a distinct species, but analysis has not yet been performed on this animal and it currently remains placed in the same species as the Stimson's python until more thorough analysis can be done.[10]

Studies published in 2020 on the members of the genus Antaresia concluded that Stimson's and children's are synonymous species with different polymorphism. As a result, the Stimson's python is now considered a polymorphic variant of the Children's python.[11]


A species of the family Pythonidae, non-venomous snakes that trap and asphyxiate prey. It is contained by a group without well developed heat-sensing pits, these are only found at the lips. Small and terrestrial, adults grow up to about 110 cm (43 in) in length. They have 35-49 rows of dorsal scales at midbody, 240-305 ventral scales and 30-45 subcaudal scales. The subcaudals are mostly or entirely divided, while the anal scale is single. Interestingly, the largest recorded examples of Antaresia species, including the Stimson's python, have all been males, suggesting males of the known species in this genus may compete for females. This behavior has never been witnessed in the wild, and has only been witnessed in captive specimens on a rare basis.[12]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This species is found in Australia from the coast of Western Australia through central regions of all states (except Victoria) as far as the Great Dividing Range, but is not found in the far north, extreme south, or east. The type locality given is "15 km SE of Nullagine, Western Australia, in 21°58'S, 120°12'E" [Australia].[2]

It also is found on Dirk Hartog Island.[7]

It occurs throughout many dry, inland areas, mainly in rocky areas, but also in Eucalyptus woodlands, arid shrublands, and deserts. Occurrence in open or flat areas is unusual.


Generally nocturnal, the species occupies crevices, hollows, and holes made by other creatures in termite mounds, the latter offering a controlled climate. A. stimsoni is an ambush predator, spending much of its time waiting for prey, trapping and killing by constriction. It is often recorded at rocky hills or other habitat providing good cover.


The diet consists of small lizards, frogs, and mammals. Like other snakes, they can go without food for several months.


Oviparous, with females laying clutches of 7-10 eggs. Females incubate their eggs in typical python fashion by wrapping their bodies around the clutch, leaving only to warm in the sun or when the eggs have hatched.

In captivity[edit]

The species is kept as a pet and successfully bred in captivity. It is easily handled and rarely bites, and is listed as an easily maintained, not rare or endangered, and commercially available pet herpetofauna (formerly category 3 Now category B as of 2018) in the Western Australian Government's Gazette (2013).[13]

Western Australia Biodiversity Conservation Regulations (2018)

In 2009, four baby Stimson's pythons escaped on board a Qantas airplane, resulting in it being fumigated.[14]

Stimson's pythons should have a warm and slightly damp terrarium which may include lightly spraying the terrarium once per fortnight. Aspen and wood shavings would make an ideal substrate for this particular snake.


  1. ^ Doughty, P., Ellis, R., Melville, J., Oliver, P., Wilson, S. & Teale, R. (2017). "Antaresia stimsoni". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017. Retrieved 2021-02-13.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré TA (1999). Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  3. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Antaresia stimsoni, p. 254).
  4. ^ "Antaresia". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 9 September 2007.
  5. ^ "Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni Smith 1985". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  6. ^ "Western Australian Museum Reptiles Checklist". WA FaunaList. Western Australian Museum. 11 December 2001. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved 2008-03-22. These checklists contain the scientific names recognised and compiled by taxonomists at the Western Australian Museum.
  7. ^ a b Browne-Cooper, Robert; Brian Bush; Brad Maryan; David Robinson (2007). Reptiles and Frogs in the Bush: Southwestern Australia. University of Western Australia Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-920694-74-6.
  8. ^ " Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni". FaunaBase. Western Australian Museum. 2003. Archived from the original on 2009-04-22. Retrieved 2008-03-22. Distribution of Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni (Western Stimson's Python)
  9. ^ Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni ISIS abstract Large-blotched python, Range: Western Australia
  10. ^ Julander, Justin; Mutton, Nick; Birch, Peter (2013). The Complete Children's Python: A Comprehensive Guide to the Natural History, Care, and Breeding of Antaresia species.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Julander, Justin; Mutton, Nick; Birch, Peter (2013). The Complete Children's Python: A Comprehensive Guide to the Natural History, Care, and Breeding of Antaresia species.
  13. ^ Wildlife Conservation (Reptiles and Amphibians) (Pet Herpetofauna) Notice 2003 Archived October 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine made per Wildlife Conservation (Reptiles and Amphibians) Regulations 2002
  14. ^ Baby pythons escape during flight in Australia, Associated Press, April 2009, archived from the original on 2009-04-20

Further reading[edit]

  • Smith LA (1985). "A Revision of the Lialis childreni species-group (Serpentes: Boidae)". Records of the Western Australian Museum 12 (3): 257-276. (Lialis stimsoni, new species, p. 267).

External links[edit]