The Woma python lives in the shrublands, woodlands and grasslands around Australia, throughout South Western Queensland, Central Australia and into Western Australia. They are nocturnal and during the day they will shelter in hollow logs or animal burrows. They will enlarge the burrows which they use using their shovel-like head. Mostly they live in areas of sandy soil to make digging easier.
They have light and dark altering bands which can range from yellow to reddish, grey or olive-brown. Their underside is a yellow and cream color and on rare occasions albino and all black. They are not poisonous but sometimes are mistaken for being poisonous because they have narrow heads. Unlike other snakes they don't have heat sensing pits on their head. The length of the woma python varies across their range from 1.2-2.7m (4-9ft) long. This can also lead to a large variance in weight from 1kg to 5kg (2.2 to 11lbs).
Image courtesy of Animalia
The woma python eats small mammals, birds, reptiles and even other snakes as they are immune to the venom of many snakes. To kill there prey the womba crushes it against something instead of coiling around it.
Breeding occurs between May and August and the eggs are laid between September and October, with a usual clutch of around 5 - 19. The mother then incubates them for the next two months. Once the hatchlings catch they are completely independent.
The main threats to the woma python is habitat loss and introduced species. Habitat loss, especially clearing of land for agriculture and grazing, has been a problem facing the woma python. Also, red foxes and cats, not native to Australia, hunt the woma python. The Mulga snake, which is native to Australia, further hampers reintroduction efforts by eating young pythons before they can reproduce. Although the woma python is officially labeled as Least Concern on the IUCN red list, in some areas they are labeled as critically endangered because of these threats. In some regions in Southwest Australia, woma pythons have not been seen since the 1980s.
“Woma Python.” San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Animals and Plants, San Diego Zoo, animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/woma-python.
“Woma Python.” Woma Python - Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures on Animalia.bio, Animalia, animalia.bio/woma-python.
“Woma Python.” The Animal Facts, 16 Feb. 2021, www.theanimalfacts.com/reptiles/woma-python/.
Cover Image courtesy of the San Diego Zoo