Bismark Ringed Python (Bothrochilus boa)
History and Growth
Rings are a smaller python originating from the Bismarck Archipelago islands off the NE coast of Papua New Guinea. Secretive in nature, they are known for their amazing iridescence. As babies they are characteristically bright orange and black in color. And what I would consider very fragile and delicate compared to other python species of the same age. As they mature, their colors fade to a variation of orange/brown and black with high iridescence. The pattern is totally variable. Some are completely banded (ringed), or aberrant, and some have no pattern! As they mature into adulthood, Rings display an impressive feed response, and transform from fragile pinky feeders into a very strong, durable pythons capable of taking down colossal sized rats. However, in my experience they still stay relatively small topping out at 5-6 ft.
Husbandry and Behavior
Rings should be kept with higher than normal humidity. 70-80% seems to work the best- but not soaking wet. Depending on the room and cage, you can reach that humidity level by any of the following methods alone or in conjunction; large water bowl, reduced air flow, cypress mulch, frequent misting, sphagnum moss box. Fresh water is important with this species. I believe lack of water will incur deleterious effects faster than many other pythons. Standard python ambient room temps work fine (78-82F) with 80/81F being optimal. Rings can present an aggressive display, but for most this is merely a bluff. In my years of working with these animals, I've had 1 male who was a biter. As the norm, they are a bit flighty, but very handle-able outside their cage. In nature they look to hide under coconut husks or the like. In captivity, they will fare better if there is some kind of hidebox, shelf, or substrate to bury in.
Outlook and Collection
We've been working with Ringed pythons since 1998. Our colony has grown slowly over the years through select holdbacks and occasional acquisitions. Our breeding group consists of Mark Bell & Hamper produced animals, with some specimens acquired from unknown lineage. Through trial and error, success and failure, we are fortunate to have produced several clutches of Rings over the years. The demand for Ringed pythons has really taken off in recent years. Perhaps it is lack of supply, or a deviation from the morph market into a pure, niche species. Whatever the case, it is a positive sign for our hobby. Not only does CB Rings take pressure off wild caught demand, it provides added diversity of this unique species for the hobby. From our breeding groups, we have been averaging 2 clutches per year. With that being said, we do not overfeed our females, and we do not breed younger females if they are not ready. Giving a mature female the year off is also not uncommon. While we don't sell them all, holding back the nicest stock will assure high quality Rings for the future. I highly recommend Ringed pythons to any snake enthusiast looking to add something different to their collection.