blackhead python is the largest
member of the Aspidites
genus. This large snake is an iconic
Australian python that is found over
a large range. Like it's relative
the woma python, the blackhead
python also lacks heat pits,
typically found in pythons. These
snakes can be quite large, reaching
sizes of 250 cm (8' 2"). Western
blackhead pythons tend to be much
Range: These snakes are found across the top third of Australia, including Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. They can be found fairly far inland in areas of the NT and QLD, while they are somewhat restricted to coastal areas of WA. A smaller, distinctly banded variant is found in the Pilbara and coastal regions of WA.
Habitat: Aspidites melanocephalus prefers grasslands, woodlands, and scrublands. They can be found in arid, humid coastal areas or seasonally dry tropical climates. .
Natural History Notes: Blackhead pythons are reptile specialists and feed primarily on lizards and snakes. They are notoriously fierce predators and can take down impressive prey such as large goannas (Varanus).
The black head is somewhat of a mystery and many have hypothesized that it is colored such to blend in with the environment like a burnt stick. This is somewhat reinforced by the habit of these snakes to bask with their head slightly raised in a stick-like manner. Other ideas are that the head serves a function in thermoregulation and the black coloration results in a more rapid warming of the head to quickly get their brains functioning in the cool morning.
These snakes will also combat during the breeding season and males can be quite aggressive towards one another. Eggs are laid in the early spring in October-November.
General Notes: We were fortunate to acquire some western blackhead pythons that originated from Casey Lazik's western bloodline. These impressive specimens are very boldly patterned with a nice cream background color and maintain this contrast throughout their adult lives. These snakes are like giant colubrids and have a somewhat rapid metabolism. They can be a bit difficult to get feeding on rodents as babies, so getting hatchlings feeding can be a challenge. Once they start, however, they are solid feeders on anything that crosses their path. What an amazing species and just another way to Get Addicted!
Female blackhead python (A. melanocephalus)
Male blackhead python (A. melanocephalus)
Head detail of female BHP
Northern Territory BHP found near Darwin
Up close and personal with a NT BHP