Woma Python

Woma Python (Aspidites ramsayi) are a species of python from Australia. There are two sub-types. The Western Australian which inhabits the western part of the continent along the coast of the Indian Ocean, and the desert Woma which inhabits the dryer interior region from the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland.

The Woma can grow to a length of 3 meters (9ft.), although most specimens are somewhat smaller. It has a narrow head and small eyes, the body is broad and flattish in profile and the tail tapers to a thin point. The scales are small and smooth and in appearance the snake is striped or brindled. Coloration varies from medium brown and olive to lighter shades of orange, pink and red. The underside is cream or light yellow with brown and pink blotches. The scales around the eyes are usually a darker colour than the rest of the head. Scalation is smooth with 50-65 mid body rows, 280-315 ventrals a single anal and 40-45 mostly single subcaudal scales. Some of the posterior subcaudals may be irregularly divided.

The taxonomical reference Aspidites translates as "shield bearer" and this relates to two large "shield" shaped scales on the top of the head of the Woma and its only close relative, the Black Headed Python (Aspidites melanocephalus). Both species lack the heat sensing pits around the mouth that most other pythons have, and in appearance they are more like a colubrid snake than a python.

The Woma is largely nocturnal and feeds mostly by raiding nests of rodents. It will enter a nest and use its body to crush its prey against the walls of the burrow. Many Womas can be scarred by this technique as it is not always successful in quickly killing the prey.

By day this snake may be found sheltering in hollow logs or under leaf debris.

The Woma is oviparous and will lay between 5 and 20 eggs in a clutch. The female Woma will remain coiled around the eggs until they hatch, somewhere between two and three months after laying.

The Woma is considered one of the most docile and easily handled snakes, and as it is also very attractive in appearance it is a highly sought after exotic pet. Although it is considered to be an endangered species (largely due to shrinking territory), this snake can be bred in captivity.