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Sumatran Short Tail Python

Black Blood Python

The heavy bodied Sumatran short-tailed Pythons is not the ideal snake pet for a beginner, as they are not easy to handle: they are unpredictable and aggressive, they get respiratory infections easily, you have to keep them wet, and top of it, they eat big meals!

That being said, however, captive-bred individuals tend to be more docile than wild-caught specimens.

Current short tails on the market are roughly 50% captive bred and 50% wild caught. Most short tails sold in pet stores and at reptile expos are wild caught, so you better avoid those if you’re in the market. The only way to make sure that you get a captive bred baby is through a knowledgeable,  experienced breeder.

Quick Reference Section

  • Scientific Name: Python curtus (proposed by Hermann Schlegel in 1872)
  • Alternate name: Black Blood Python
  • Family: Pythonidae
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Higher classification: Pythons
  • Size: 4 to 5 feet in length as captive adults;  hatchlings are approximately 8 to 12 inches in length
  • Weight: the healthy adult is approximately 10 to 15 pounds
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Reproduction: oviparous
  • Conservation status: least concern (

Interesting Facts About The Sumatran Short-Tailed Python

Black Blood Python
Black Blood Python

The Sumatran short-tailed python has been extensively harvested for leather. Although they are not considered an endangered or threatened species, their population is currently being impacted by this. It is estimated that at least 10,000 individuals are killed just for their skins each year.

Pythons are constrictors and are aided by heat-sensing pits on their upper lips that help them to detect their warm-blooded prey. This lets the snakes know when prey is close enough to strike.

The snakes then coil around their prey, constricting tightly. As they squeeze, they do not crush the prey and break bones, but rather squeeze so tightly that their prey cannot breathe and suffocates.

A common concern among new short-tailed python keepers is the infrequency with which these snakes defecate. It is not unusual for them to go four months or longer without defecating, yet they’ll continue to feed regularly.

Hatchlings and juveniles may defecate as frequently as once a week. Sub-adults and adults feed on a 10- to the 14-day schedule and will defecate every 30 to 45 days on average, but may easily go longer without raising concerns.

Like all snakes, they molt – or shed – several times a year to accommodate growth.

Before shedding, their coloration dulls and their eyes become cloudy. To help them remove the old skin, they will often seek to rub against rough surfaces.

Once a tear is made in the old skin, the snake slithers out and leaves a shed behind. It may take more than a week for the snake to complete this process. They often are more brilliantly colored after shedding.

What Does The Sumatran Short-Tailed Python Look Like?

Python curtus (Sumatran Short Tail Python)
Python curtus (Sumatran Short Tail Python)

They have a strong muscular heavy build body and an extremely short tail relative to their overall length.

Their head is shaped similar to an arrow point while their color pattern consists of a beige, tan, or grayish-brown ground color overlaid with blotches that are brick- to blood-red in color.

Narrow subocular scales occur between the bottom of the eye and the top of the labial scales and some have orange or yellow heads and are occasionally mistaken for Borneo short-tails.

Individual snakes can change how light and dark their head appears.

Hatchlings are typically lighter in appearance and darken considerably with age.

Females also get bigger than males, with the exception being that males generally have a longer tail.

Where Can Sumatran The Short-Tailed Python Be Found?

The type locality is Sumatra but they actually occur in Sumatra (southern and western parts of the island), Riau Archipelago, Lingga Islands, Bangka Islands, Mentawai Islands, and Kalimantan.

What Kind Of Habitat Do The Sumatran Short-Tailed Pythons Live In?

They inhabit rainforests, marshes, swamps, and the vicinity of riverbanks and streams. They also live in human-modified areas, particularly oil palm plantations.

Many specimens are found in and around rice paddies cultivated by people and are attracted to the rodents that come to these places to feed.

Sumatran short-tailed pythons prefer to live near water and are active at night. When not resting in water, they typically hide under leaves and brush.

What Does The Sumatran Short-Tailed Python Eat?

They feed on a variety of mammals and birds, and their feeding rates increase with body size and vary seasonally.

How Long Does The Sumatran Short-Tailed Python Live?

Black blood pythons have a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years.

How Many Eggs Does The Sumatran Short-Tailed Python Lay?

Python curtus with eggs
Python curtus with eggs

Females seldom lay more than a dozen large eggs (however, much larger clutches have been reported).

The female remains coiled around the eggs during the incubation period and may shiver to produce heat. However, this action requires energy and the female will only do so if surrounding temperatures drop below 90°F.

The hatchlings emerge after around 2.5 to 3.0 months and are around 30 cm (12 in) in length.

Is It Legal To Have The Sumatran Short-Tailed Python As A Pet?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has some say over the pets Americans can own. But individual states have their laws, too.

In most states, it is legal to catch and keep venomous snakes as pets, but only with a permit. In other states, it is entirely illegal to own them.

Hawaii has the strictest pet ownership laws because its ecosystem could be disrupted by invasive species. On the other end of the spectrum, five states don’t ban residents from owning exotic pets — even lions, tigers, and bears. Nevada, Wisconsin, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina each have lax laws when it comes to pet ownership.


Sumatran short-tailed pythons are not great pets for beginners. If this is a snake that you want, you should do your due diligence and look to find someone who captive breeds this species of snake.

Many short-tailed python enthusiasts selectively breed for beautiful appearances as well as calm, docile temperaments, and they take pride in the snakes they produce. These snakes often come with complete hatching, feeding and bloodline records.

Sumatran short-tailed pythons are available in the US starting at U$ 275 (without transportation costs). You can check for more.

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