The Woma (Aspidites ramsayi), also known as the Ramsay’s python or Sand python, is one of two species of the Pitless pythons (Aspidites), which is an Australian genus of the Pythonidae family. This species was once common throughout Western Australia, but it has become critically endangered in some regions.
Adults average 1.5m (4.5ft) in length. The colour in this species varies, from pale brown to nearly black. The pattern consists of a ground colour that varies from medium brown and olive to lighter shades of orange, pink and red, overlaid with darker striped or brindled markings. The belly is cream or light yellow with brown and pink blotches. The scales around the eyes are usually a darker colour than the rest of the head.
This species is found in Australia in the west and center of the country: from Western Australia through southern Northern Territory and northern South Australia to southern Queensland and northwestern New South Wales. The range in Southwest Australia extends from Shark Bay, along the coast and inland regions, and was previously common on sandplains. The species was recorded in regions to the south and east, with once extensive wheatbelt and goldfield populations.
As species is largely nocturnal, during the day this snake may be found sheltering in hollow logs or under leaf debris.
These snakes prey upon a variety of terrestrial vertebrates such as small mammals, ground birds and lizards. They catch much of their prey in burrows where there is not enough room to maneuver their coils around their prey; instead, the Woma pushes a loop of its body against the animal so it is pinned against the side of the burrow. Many adult Womas are covered in scars from retaliating rodents as this technique doesn’t kill prey as quickly as normal constriction.
Although this species will take warm-blooded prey when offered, Womas prey mainly on reptiles. Perhaps due to this, species within the Aspidites family lack the characteristic heat sensing pits of pythons, although they possess an equivalent sensory structure in their rostral scales.
This species is also considered to be more active than many pythons, as well as being a very docile and “easy to handle” snake, and so is highly sought after in the reptile and exotic pet trade. They are one of the hardiest python species in captivity, often readily accepting pre-killed rodents. Although it is considered to be an endangered species, mainly due to the destruction of its natural habitat, this snake will breed in captivity.
(Source: , via mossysnakes)