Bood Python (Python brongermai)

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Ruxs
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Bood Python (Python brongermai)

Post by Ruxs » July 30th, 2013, 9:27 am

Prologue:

My time in Thailand is definitely wrapping up and I have but a few weeks remaining. For the remaining month, I will rarely be stockpiling my catches, as I always have previously, and instead uploading cool finds or short trip reports individually.

This is the first instalment, dedicated to a snake I had never seen before, from Southern Thailand, of course.



"Once upon a time in the not too distant past, there was the Short Python, aka Blood Python, aka Python curtus. Then a splitter came along and hacked off two subspecies: P. c. breitensteini and P. c. brongersmai. A little later, another, even more zealous splitter passed by and elevated all three to species level. And this is why today we have Python curtus, the Sumatran Short Python, resident of - you guessed it! - Sumatra; Brongersma's Short Python, Python brongersmai, found in Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, and many of the neighboring countries; and lastly, Python breitensteini, the Bornean Short Python." (Breuer, 2012)

In this post, I shall showcase the most famous of the three species: Python brongersmai

Exotic, easy to care for and impressive. Those are just a few loose reasons why this snake is so well known around the globe, but to us herpers, this snake is renown for being excruciatingly illusive.

This is, by all means, not a rare snake! It's a prolific breeder and adapts well to the monotonous modified habitats in South-East Asia such as Rubber, Oil Palm, Banana - you name it! - this species is more abundant there than it is in natural forest habitat. Wherever it's hot and swampy, this species will be thriving on human commensal rodents (Shine, 1999). The question is, why does nobody see it? Let me explain...

It's not often I hear "Hmmm, I want to trudge through that wet, dengue fever infested place over there! Y'know, the one where you can't see whats beneath the two foot deep layer of leaf litter." In correlation, I don't often hear people say "I found a Blood Python the other day!" Indeed, this snake sits and waits for weeks on end; day and night, rain or shine with just it's black-capped cranium protruding from the mud or leaf litter, which this thick bodied serpent would be practically invisible on - even if it didn't feel the need to bury itself!

Image
P. brongersmai (BTG TRANG) by Rupert G Lewis, on Flickr

I must admit, calling it 'thick bodied' is a huge understatement. Seriously, Python brongersmai must contest for the largest length/width of any living snake, which certainly makes this 'slow' snake a real handful (more like 'armful').

Don't even think about touching it's tail unless it's fully stretched out because, while it appears immobile and defenceless, this Python's two little eyes and four large heat-pits are locked onto your body's movements and heat signature, calculating whether you are close enough to let rip a lightening fast strike of stockpiled fury, indubitably landing six rows or razor sharp noshers, designed to grab mammals mid-run, in your flesh. There's no tail for it to struggle reaching back over; it's body is so short that in can come flying back and tag an unsuspecting herper from almost any angle possible!
Image
P. brongersmai (BTG TRANG) by Rupert G Lewis, on Flickr

That's what I hear, anyway, as I was very lucky with my specimen which would rather hiss loudly to emphasise his displeasure than sit silent and catch me off-guard. Still, blue coat-hangers aren't recommended for wrangling Blood Pythons and it took a good deal of persuading before it would move, when I could finally get an idea of the length and the token of me 'tailing' (is there even a tail?) this incredible serpent - check out that size:
Image
Blood-Python-and-I by Rupert G Lewis, on Flickr

Fat Snake, Brongersma's Short Python, Blood Python, Red Short-tailed Python... whatever common name you're familiar with, I'm sure we can all agree that this is one chubby charlie!

Image
P. brongersmai (BTG TRANG) by Rupert G Lewis, on Flickr

Cheers,
Rupert

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https://www.facebook.com/rupert.glewis

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Jon Wedow
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Re: Bood Python (Python brongermai)!

Post by Jon Wedow » July 30th, 2013, 12:02 pm

Exciting find! I enjoy reading your posts, please keep it up!

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Bood Python (Python brongermai)!

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » July 30th, 2013, 4:19 pm

That's gotta be the best snake you've ever found. I know it would be for me! The colors, the almost grotesque heft, and this:
calculating whether you are close enough to let rip a lightening fast strike of stockpiled fury
...make Short Pythons spectacular animals to experience. And - I have to admit - yours is much purdier than ours!

VICtort
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Re: Bood Python (Python brongermai)!

Post by VICtort » July 30th, 2013, 5:12 pm

I formerly kept bloods, and to hear and see your first hand experience is great. I found captives to be docile and fun, but imports were often intimidating. Various short tails figure large in the international skin trade I am told, I wonder how they are collected in such large numbers? Thanks for sharing...I can almost feel the heat, humidity and mosquitos
Vic.

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Ruxs
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Re: Bood Python (Python brongermai)!

Post by Ruxs » July 30th, 2013, 9:41 pm

VICtort wrote:Various short tails figure large in the international skin trade I am told, I wonder how they are collected in such large numbers?
Vic.
Vic,

This species is heavily harvested for leather in Sumatra (where it is very common), but appears to be able to withstand this and maintain a thriving population in the Oil Palm plantations. However, according to Shine et al. (1999), when Sumatra's legal harvest quota is reached before the end of the year, harvesting continues and skins are stockpiled and smuggled out of the country. It is quite possible that over-harvesting will decline local populations, but once you see the overwhelming expanse of Oil Palm plantations in Sumatra, you'll realise this species is not at risk from the leather trade.


Hans,

The best snake I've ever found? What about the two meter long Bungarus flaviceps from a couple nights ago?


Thanks for the good feedback guys, it is much appreciated.

Cheers,
Rupert

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Bood Python (Python brongermai)!

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » July 31st, 2013, 12:12 am

The best snake I've ever found? What about the two meter long Bungarus flaviceps from a couple nights ago?
Did you post that?

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fickle-minder
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Re: Bood Python (Python brongermai)

Post by fickle-minder » July 31st, 2013, 1:45 am

Great post as always! Your posts never fail to impress, it's like a story! This has got to be one of the best encouters of the year! Sad to hear that your going back to England soon... Really gonna miss your posts.... Well, at least you've got tones of shots and stories to tell and share! ;)

TerrencexYK11
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Re: Bood Python (Python brongermai)

Post by TerrencexYK11 » November 28th, 2013, 4:33 am

Nice find there!
I'm planning for field herp trip for a blood python and I need your guidance.
In what type of habitat can I find these snake?
I'm from Sarawak, East Malaysia and oil palm plantation is plenty over here.
I need a better vision of where to find one. I hope you can guide me. =)

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Bood Python (Python brongermai)

Post by BillMcGighan » November 28th, 2013, 8:39 am

Most informative about a really fascinating species.
They look like the perfect rat machine.


Question: Did your animal have any ticks?

The reason I ask is that the only one I had seen freshly captured in the wild was in Kanchanaburi district.
It had no ticks.

All the rest of the "fresh" animals that I had seen, up till then, were in importer cages (not a pretty sight) and they were covered in ticks!

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Bood Python (Python brongermai)

Post by Kelly Mc » November 28th, 2013, 1:44 pm

BillMcGighan wrote:Most informative about a really fascinating species.
They look like the perfect rat machine.


Question: Did your animal have any ticks?

The reason I ask is that the only one I had seen freshly captured in the wild was in Kanchanaburi district.
It had no ticks.

All the rest of the "fresh" animals that I had seen, up till then, were in importer cages (not a pretty sight) and they were covered in ticks!

Fantastic Pythons . . Wonderful post

I found the same tick thing with imported regius. Although ticks were a regular on many WCs across board, the abundance on ball pythons and bloods was notable - and wonder if the sedentary natural habits provide extra opportunity for them to collect - aside from the exacerbating infest potential spent in crowded import as Bill describes.

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