What do they look like? The Black-headed Pythons have distinctive coloration, featuring dark brown or red-brown bands against cream to tan colours and a black head. The scales of the Black-headed Python are smooth and the skin colour is darkest in the mid-dorsal region. The nose is rounded and used for digging the burrows in which the animals often live. Females are usually larger than males and can reach lengths of ten feet.
Where do they live? The Black-headed python is found in the northern third of mainland Australia, although not in the more arid regions. Throughout their range they are fairly common. They occupy a variety of habitats which may include hollow logs situated beside rivers and streams, grassy areas, burrows and rocky outcrops. Black-headed pythons are nocturnal during the warmer months, but are more active during the day in the cooler season.
What do they eat? Black-headed pythons feed mainly on other reptiles which include monitor lizards, frogs, smaller mammals and birds. The desert death adder and other elapids make for popular meals for the Black-headed python. It has been observed that cannibalism can occur and because of this it is best to keep captive animals apart from other snake species.
Behaviour: Black-headed pythons are burrowing snakes that are often seen with most of the body hidden apart from the head. Their heads being black, absorb heat and therefore allow them to increase their body temperature without exposing their whole body.
Reproduction: Prior to breeding, males may take part in a combative type display. The female pythons produce 5 to 10 eggs in a clutch. During the incubation process, she may coil herself around the eggs and bask in the sun more frequently to create warmth. The young snakes mature slowly, taking 4-5 years to reach sexual maturity.
Threats: Changes in land use, habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation of available habitat, predation by introduced pest animals and dingoes are their main threats.
Conservation Status: The Black-headed python is not protected.