Woma pythons (Aspidites ramsayi) are medium-sized, terrestrial snakes native to central and western Australia. Their preferred habitat is semi-arid to arid areas with sandy substrate and sparse vegetation.
Woma pythons are typically around 5’ long, although more southern localities are capable of growing up to 8’ long. They can be identified by their oval head, smooth scales, black eyes, and laterally flattened tail. Coloring and pattern varies somewhat by locality, but the pattern generally consists of bands down the length of the snake’s body which fade and become less distinct as the snake ages. Coloring is generally a cream to tan base with olive to reddish brown markings. The head is yellow- to orange-brown. Juveniles have dark markings above their eyes which may be retained into adulthood.
Woma pythons are an intermediate-level pet reptile. With good care, they can live 15-20 years.
Minimum terrarium size for woma pythons
Woma pythons need to have enough room to stretch out, thermoregulate, and move around. The minimum enclosure size recommended for this species is 6’L x 2’W x 2’H enclosure or something else with at least 12 sq feet of floor space. Larger is better, of course!
Cohabitation (keeping multiple woma pythons in one enclosure) is not recommended, as there is a risk of cannibalism.
Do woma pythons need UVB?
They can survive without it, but it’s still best practice to provide UVB lighting for optimal health and wellbeing. UVB gives womas all of the vitamin D that their bodies need, stimulates better appetite and activity, and generally allows them to be healthier than they would be without.
Here are the best UVB bulbs for woma pythons:
- Zoo Med T5 HO Reptisun 5.0, 22”
- Arcadia Forest 6%, 22”
The UVB bulb should be housed in a reflective Arcadia or Vivarium Electronics fixture and placed on the same side as the heat lamp. Place the basking surface 10-13” below the bulb with the lamp placed over a mesh top or covered by a protective screen. UVB is blocked by glass and plastic, so you can’t give your snake UVB by placing its terrarium in front of an open window. Also make sure that the fixture your UVB bulb is in does not have a clear plastic bulb cover.
Lights should be on for 13-14 hours/day during summer and 10-11 hours/day during winter. This replicates seasonal light cycles, encouraging healthier hormonal rhythms and possibly better long-term health.
Best temperature for woma pythons
Like other reptiles, woma pythons are ectotherms, which means that they need a temperature gradient in their enclosure to help them regulate their metabolism and stay healthy.
Woma pythons should have a basking surface temperature of 90°F directly under a heat lamp placed to the extreme right or left of the enclosure. On the other side of the enclosure, the temperature should be kept warm, between 82-86°F. Measure temperatures with a digital probe thermometer placed on each side.
Provide heat for your woma by imitating the sun with a cluster of at least two halogen flood heat lamps placed on one side of the enclosure, positioned over the warm hide. Do not use ceramic heat emitters (CHEs), heat mats, red bulbs, or blue bulbs, as these are not as effective.
Heat lamps should be turned off at night and temperatures allowed to drop no lower than 75°F. If you need nighttime heat, use a separate series of ceramic heat emitters or radiant heat panel.
Best humidity levels for woma pythons
Woma pythons may be a desert species, but that doesn’t mean they thrive in dry conditions. In fact, they prefer environments with nighttime humidity levels between 50-70%. Lower humidity during the day is safe as long as your snake has a humid hide to spend time in. Track humidity with a digital probe hygrometer placed in the middle of the enclosure.
The humid hide should be placed in the middle to cool end of the enclosure and lined with moistened substrate or sphagnum moss to simulate a humid burrow. Check for mold and feces regularly.
Mist the enclosure with a pressure sprayer in the evenings as needed to maintain appropriate humidity.
Best substrate for woma pythons
Substrate (also known as bedding) cushions your snake’s body, stabilizes humidity, and helps make the enclosure look more attractive! We recommend the following substrates for best results with woma pythons:
- Zoo Med ReptiSand
- Exo Terra Desert Sand
- Exo Terra Riverbed Sand
Substrate should be at least 4” deep and completely replaced every 3-4 months. Remove poop and urates daily, along with contaminated substrate.
How to decorate a woma python terrarium
It’s terribly boring for a snake to be stuck in an enclosure with nothing in it except substrate and a water bowl. It doesn’t matter how big the enclosure is if you don’t put things in it for your pet to use and interact with.
Here are some décor ideas to help your woma feel comfortable and engaged with its environment:
- flat rocks/paver stones
- sturdy branches
- cork flats/tubes
- drought-tolerant live or artificial plants
To help your snake feel secure in its environment, plenty of places to hide is a must-have!
What to feed to a woma python
Like other snakes, woma pythons are carnivores, which means that they need to eat whole animal prey in order to get the nutrition that they need. Here is a basic feeding schedule:
- Babies and juveniles — 1x/week
- Adults — every 2-3 weeks
Prey items should be the same width as the snake’s widest point or slightly larger. Although live prey can be used, it’s safest and most humane to use frozen instead. Prey should be thawed in a plastic bag in warm water to approximately 100°F before offering with a pair of soft-tipped tweezers.
Remember, the key to great nutrition is variety! Aside from offering mice and rats, try rotating in hamsters, gerbils, quail, chicks, or feeder lizards/snakes to create nutritional variety in your pet’s diet.
Woma pythons can survive without vitamin or mineral supplements, but occasionally using them can help prevent nutritional deficiencies and optimize your snake’s health. We recommend Repashy Calcium Plus LoD, lightly dusted on your snake’s feeder at every fourth meal or so.
Your woma should have access to clean, fresh water at all times. Provide a heavy water bowl, but not large enough for the snake to be able to soak. Change the water daily and scrub the bowl with a reptile-safe disinfectant weekly, or whenever it becomes soiled.
How to handle your woma python
Few reptiles actually “like” to be held, and woma pythons aren’t the most handleable reptiles. They can be tamed with consistent effort, but be aware of their enthusiastic feeding response. During handling, be gentle, and pick up the snake from below rather than from above. Support as much of its body as possible, and NEVER pick up a snake by its tail!
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. Although it’s a good introduction, please further your research with high-quality sources. The more you know, the better you will be able to care for your pet!
"Woma python (Aspidites ramsayi)" by Wild for Wildlife is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.