The white lipped python is a gorgeous snake with distinct markings around the lips and head. If you are thinking of adding one of these snakes to your family, there are a few things you need to know first.
Best suited to intermediate or experienced snake owners, this guide will help you to set up and prepare for your new pet.
Table of Contents
White Lipped Python Facts
|Common Name||White Lipped Python or D’Albertis Python|
|Scientific Name||Leiopython albertisii|
|Natural Habitat||Moist places like New Guinea, Indonesia, Australia|
|Adult Size||7-9 feet|
|Enclosure Size||7’ x 3’ x 3’|
|Diet||Carnivorous (mostly frozen mice and rats)|
|Lifespan||Up to 30 years in captivity|
|Experience Level||Intermediate to experienced|
Where Do White Lipped Pythons Live?
White lipped pythons often call the jungle home, favoring swamps and moist environments. To this end, most of this species will be found on the islands of New Guinea, though there have been some sightings in Indonesia and Australia as well.
White Lipped Python Appearance, Colors and Morphs
The white lipped python has beautiful coloring that sets it apart from other species. The head is often a shiny black color with iridescence that makes it stand out from a crowd of similar snakes.
As the name implies, they have white scales that line their lips. You may see some black bands run through these distinctive white scales.
As you move past the head and onto the body, the color shifts. The body tends to be a golden or brown color with a cream belly.
It also tends to be less iridescent and is instead rather dull when compared to the head. Body coloring depends on the region that the snake resides in.
How Big Do White Lipped Pythons Get?
If you’re in the market for a big snake, look no further than the white lipped python. These snakes are quite long, with most reaching at least 7 feet.
Some have been measured around 9 feet. Of note, the females tend to be a bit longer than the males.
White Lipped Python Lifespan
In captivity, these snakes can live for quite a while. Only add a white lipped python to your home if you’re committed to taking care of it long-term.
Most of these snakes can live between 20 and 30 years in captivity. These lifespans tend to be a little shorter in the wild.
How to Care for White Lipped Pythons
Because these snakes can reach impressive lengths, you’ll need a tank that can accommodate them. We would recommend that you go with an enclosure of at least 7 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet.
If you have room for it, the largest enclosure that you can find will be a great fit for this species.
Lighting and Temperature
When it comes to lighting, you’ll want to make sure that your snake has a bright daytime light. Many white lipped python owners like using incandescent or halogen bulbs that provide a bright source of light during the day.
Consider using something like the Zilla Reptile Terrarium bulb that can help heat the warm side of your enclosure.
Keep in mind that these snakes are nocturnal. You’ll want to make sure that they have the chance to enjoy the dark for roughly half of the day as well. Turn lights off every 12 hours.
As far as the temperature goes, there should be a gradient within the enclosure. On the warm side, you’ll want a basking temperature of 88°F to 90°F (31°C to 32°C).
The cool side can be a bit closer to the ambient temperature of your home, ranging from 75°F to 82°F (23°C to 27°C).
The temperature can dip slightly during the night, but it should never drop beyond 75°F (23°C).
To make this happen, you can use an under-tank heating pad with a thermostat like this one to keep the white-lipped python warm.
Do White Lipped Pythons Need UVB?
The white lipped python doesn’t really need UVB lighting, but providing it won’t hurt them either. As nocturnal snakes, they won’t spend much time soaking up the UVB rays.
Instead, you can opt for less expensive incandescent lights for the daytime hours when your snake is likely sleeping or basking.
The substrate in your white lipped python enclosure plays an important role in maintaining the desired humidity levels. We recommend using coconut fiber substrate like the Zoo Med Eco Earth because it retains moisture better.
That being said, some people prefer other types of substrates that can similarly retain moisture. If you decide to go an alternate route, you could layer in some sphagnum moss or even this organic topsoil.
Both of these are known to retain moisture and give your white lipped python what they need to thrive.
White lipped pythons are used to habitats with relatively high humidity levels, so it’s important to replicate this in your enclosure.
Humidity levels should range from 55 to 85 percent on your hygrometer. Reach these humidity levels by misting your enclosure once or twice daily and giving them a fresh water dish.
White Lipped Python Tank Décor
One of the most important aspects of white lipped python care are their hides. You should have one on the cool side of their enclosure that retains moisture relatively well. To this end, you may want to line it with sphagnum moss that has been moistened.
You can use large hides like this one that will allow the snake to feel the edges when they enter.
Don’t forget that they need some place to bask and warm up as well. You can use something a bit bigger like the Zilla Shale Rock Den that allows them to curl up both underneath and on top of the rock to warm up.
These snakes are also very used to forests and arboreal settings. Enrich their enclosure with some plants that they can climb over and hide among.
These Exo Terra Boston Ferns are a great option, as are these forest branches that they can climb over.
How to Clean a White Lipped Python Tank
You should be doing daily spot cleaning of your white lipped python’s enclosure. Most often, you will likely find that their water dish is what gets the dirtiest.
Every day, you should replace it with fresh water that they haven’t climbed through or used the bathroom in. Spot cleaning also means that you throw away uneaten food.
Every few weeks, you need to change their substrate entirely. This is a great time to use some dish soap and hot water to wipe down everything in the enclosure.
Make sure that you rinse it well before adding your white lipped python back into the enclosure.
White Lipped Python Diet
What to Feed
The white lipped python will require you to feed them actual prey, though you can feed frozen instead of live if you prefer. Most people use rats or mice because of their availability at local pet stores, especially in the frozen department.
However, if you want to feed live prey, you can often switch it up with small rodents like:
- Guinea pigs
- Young rabbits
- Small or young chickens
The key here is to make sure that their food item is roughly the same size as the widest part of your snake’s body. It can always be a bit smaller, though prey that is too large will be problematic for your white lipped python.
How Often to Feed
The regularity of your feedings depends on the age of the snake. Hatchlings eat more frequently, usually about once a week.
Even young white lipped pythons will want a meal every week or two. On the other hand, adults can often go about three weeks between meals if you are feeding them an adequately sized meal.
How Long Can They Go Without Food?
There’s no cause for alarm if your white lipped python decides to skip a meal. This snake species can go a couple of months without eating.
If your snake goes longer than this, it might be time to take them to a veterinarian to uncover why they aren’t eating as much as they should.
Do White Lipped Pythons Need Water?
It’s a good idea to keep a water dish in a white lipped python enclosure. They use the water to keep their enclosure humid but they will occasionally drink from it as well.
Sometimes, they may even want to go for a swim so make sure your water dish is large enough for them to submerge themselves in.
Vitamins and Minerals
If you’re feeding a balanced diet, the white lipped python doesn’t require any additional vitamins and minerals.
Some snake owners want to be sure that their reptiles are getting everything they need and may decide to use a calcium supplement, just in case.
White Lipped Python Behavior and Temperament
Reptile owners who are looking for a friendly snake that will love to be taken out and handled may want to consider a species other than the white lipped python.
Most people point out that these snakes are known to bite and are less tolerant of handling.
They are naturally defensive, which means that owners should be experienced before trying to handle them.
Are White Lipped Pythons Good Pets?
White lipped pythons should be left to experienced snake owners. While beautiful, they can be very difficult to handle and require careful care and maintenance.
Can You Handle White Lipped Pythons?
It generally isn’t recommended to handle them unless you’re experienced. If and when you do pick up your snake, you’ll want to pick it up from the side or beneath its body.
Offer it a steady sense of support without holding too tightly. Make sure not to handle them for too long, sticking to just a few minutes.
Some white lipped python owners recommend handling them with a snake hook when you need to move them around, given their propensity to bite.
White Lipped Python Common Health Problems
White lipped pythons don’t have many health issues that aren’t common to all reptiles. With that in mind, it’s important to note that many of these ailments are within your control.
For example, one of the most prevalent issues facing white lipped pythons is obesity. Overfeeding and not allowing enough room for your snake to roam can lead to an overweight snake. In turn, this can contribute to heart problems, organ failure, and more.
Other common health problems plague all snakes including mites, respiratory infections, and scale rot.
Where to Buy White Lipped Pythons
White Lipped Python Breeders
Finding a reputable breeder for white lipped pythons is tricky. Here are three of the top online breeders for your new reptile:
White Lipped Python Price
While not the most expensive reptile you can purchase, the white lipped python isn’t exactly cheap. Prices will range anywhere from $350 to $500 depending on the breeder, age, and size of the snake.
White Lipped Python Breeding
If you intend to breed your white lipped python, there are a few important things to note. Snakes are typically fully matured around age four or five, so be prepared to wait a little while if you buy a hatchling.
The gestation period following mating is usually about three months. Unlike some other species of snakes, the female white lipped python will lay a clutch of eggs instead of giving live birth.
Each clutch usually contains fewer than 20 eggs. The clutch will take about two months for babies to officially hatch, and hatchlings are typically about 1 foot long at birth.
A Final Word
White lipped pythons are beautiful snakes, but they tend to be a bit persnickety about handling. As a result, they are best left to intermediate or experienced snake owners.
If you want to do the research and don’t mind leaving your snake in their enclosure more often, then this species of snake might be a good fit for you!
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