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Womas
(Aspidites ramsayi)


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Temperment: Docile
Size: 5-6 feet
Experience level: Intermediate


Womas are a smaller Australian python. It is one of two members of the Aspidites genus, the other of course being the Blackheaded Python (Aspidites melanocephalus). They are a primitave python species, and the only ones who do not posses heat sensing labial pits.

Womas are a wonderful snake to keep and are almost as much like a colubrid as a python. They have very strong appetites and grow quickly. They are also easier to reproduce than their blackheaded cousins.

Captive Care

The care of Womas is straightforward. No special humidity requirements are needed and shedding problems are rare, in my case they are completely nonexistant. I've been keeping womas fo r6 years and so far have never seen them have a bad shed.
I am currently keeping mine in 3x2 plastic caging from Reptile Basics. I'm considering building some custom cages for them that will include a subterranean compartment, but that's still in the planning stages. I use cypress mulch as a substrate, as I do with all my pythons.
I utilize a thermal gradient of 75-90F. A hide box is needed, but in my experience they are not prone to staying in it for long periods as many other species. The do come out to explore, especially when they realize I'm in the room.

Feeding

Nothing about keeping womas is easier than feeding them. In fact the problem here lies in the potential to over feed them. They will very rarely turn down a meal unless they are deep in shed or gravid. You really learn to appreciate this after you've kept a lot of ball pythons for a few years.
I feed my womas appropriately sized rats weekly. After laying or just prior to the breeding season I'll often give my females an extra meal or two now and then, and if the males start looking chunky I might skip a meal or two occasionally, but generally I use a 6-10 day feeding schedule all the time.
You won't have any problem keeping your womas well fed, just watch them and make sure they're not getting fat.

I would have placed their experience level at beginner, since their actual care is so easy, but I decided to go with intermediate due to the risk of a feeding bite. Care has to be taken when first removing a womas from its cage. They are always hunting, and ready for food, so reaching into the cage carelessly can result in a bite. Once out of the cage however, they are completely docile.
Aside from this one consideration, which realistically isn't much of an issue, I'd easily consider womas to be a better beginner species than even a ball python. You really can't mess up with them, so they are well suited in general for any experience level.

Womas have always been a sought after python, but I believe they are only going to increase in popularity as the price finally lowers to a level more realistic for a far wider range of keepers.

I am currently maintaining a two pairs of these snakes from bloodlines as seperate as we can get in this country. An additional pair or two are definately in the plans, I don't think you can have too many of these awesome snakes.

Here are some photos of a gravid female and of her with her clutch. these were laid on Mother's Day 2006.
The tub she is in is not her cage. She was placed in the rack on damp sphagnum about a week before she was due to lay.

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Clay Davenport
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