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Basic Python care

Updated on February 9, 2019
Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia believes that writing is a pleasure and at the same time a challenge to her flexibility.

Sugar a Three year Old Python

Python as a Pet Requires Greater Responsibilities

Mike Alim is a friend who takes care of 5 Pythons. His two adult Pythons he called Jake, 5 years old and Sugar 3 years old. He has one female Albino Burmese that he called Candy, and two reticulated Pythons that he rescued from the wild, which he adopted eventually.

For animal lovers who are planning to get a python as a pet, Mike suggests to read and research first because Python rearing requires greater responsibilities. Definitely not an immediate pet for first timers.

Mike with Jake the 5 year old Python

Common Ailments of Pythons

Common afflictions of our snakes and pythons are RTI or Respiratory Tract Infection, MI or Mouth Rot, Scale Rot, Parasites, Obesity, loss of appetite, Colds, etc. Among his 5 pythons, Jake his oldest is the one that gets sick easily; but this normally happens on rainy seasons when the temperature in his surrounding is low, causing him problem and difficulty in digesting his food. So during rainy season or cold season, they add or install more  lights inside Jake's enclosure, the heat of the loight is enough to provide Jake  the proper body temperature that he needs.

So far Mike has no records of severe cases of ailment, and he believes this is due to the proper care that they give them.

Candy, a year old Albino burmese

Why Feed Them Live Animals

Reticulated pythons depend on their senses when it comes to their food. This is what they called Jacobson’s sense which is located near their pits or at the side of their mouth. Mike said his reticulated pythons really need to be fed live animals, they tried to serve them frozen meat but they did not get near to it.

Python owners like him just maintained the pythons’ instinct to ear raw and live animals; and since there are very few python owners here in the Philippines, no pet shops dared to sell frozen meats meant for snakes.

Jericho, rescued Reticulated Python

Feeding Schedule, Vitamins etc

Mike’s five pythons have different feeding schedules and different food types (live animals). His two adult Burmese eats one (1) live chicken each every five days. Mike has a supplier of live chicken from a trusted farm, which assures him that his pets are eating safe live chicken. It is more expensive but for Mike, the safety of his pythons is more important. To buy live chicken anywhere else can cause problem in the future. With P250.00 per chicken, Mike spends around P1,500.00 in a month.

The Albino Burmese Candy eats every 3 days, and she is fed 1 live Quail at a price of P50.00 each. In a month, Mike’s budget for Candy’s food is 500. The Reticulated pythons Jericho and Tuldok or Anna, eat laboratory rat every 5 days. Each rat costs 100 pesos each. In a month, Mike’s budget for his two retics is P600.00

Other expenses included the following:

Vitamins: 150 a month for each Pythons, Well-care check up every 2 months is P350 per consultation; for the Care-taker/maintainer, P2500.00 per month.

Aside from those, other minor expenses which mike can’t recall the prices are Lysol, betadine, shampoo, lotion and franela.

If we are going to estimate, Mike spends around P5,150 just for the food and one care-taker only. Multiply that and the rest for 20 years (assuming life span of pythons), indeed, just by expenses alone, caring for pythons is not a joke.


Anna, another rescued Retic

Body waste, Bathing Schedule, and cleaning schedule of enclosure

Pythons normally release body waste 1 to 2 weeks counting from the day since they were fed. The physical properties of their body wastes depend on what they have eaten, if they ate chicken, they will release chicken feathers as body waste, other undigested parts they usually release through their urine, every other day depending on the quantity of water that they drink.

Shedding usually takes place once a month, depending on the size of what they have eaten. If they have eaten a bigger than usual meal, shedding of their skin happens even in less than a month, meaning, they are growing and expanding in size. To help them shed skin fast, Mike or Alfred provided good humidity, or they simply soak the Pythons in water to loosen up easily the dead skin.

Enclosure cleaning is done almost everyday with water solution (chlorine and anti- bacterial liquids), and sometimes they also spray anti ticks and insect spray.

Python can be a safe pet for Human depending on the dicipline

Safety of Human beings

Mike’s number one priority before python rearing is the safety of his family. Safety is the number one rule that everybody in his household follows, including his friend/caretaker Alfred. The safety measures rely on responsible python ownership, and he started with his pets’ made to order enclosure or cage. He made sure it is 100% more durable than usual and spacious enough for the comfort of the pythons too. Only Alfred has the keys for all the locks (4 heavy duty locks) of the cage door. When it’s time to bring the pythons out, only Alfred and one relative are allowed to bring them out. All enclosures are placed outside their house but within the porch of their lot. His first born son is also very fond of the pythons, and he knows all the rules. Although all his pets are tamed animals already, they still practice prevention especially with kids. Kids can touch and hold them but only in the presence of Alfred. Actually, all people in his neighborhood know their limitations in holding them.

The made-to-order enclosure or cage for his adult pythons is duplex type (2 Storey) with heavy duty four padlocks, and glass with ¾ thicknesses. The floor on the first storey is tiled, and with built in bathtub. Also installed are lights at least 250 watts, which they use during rainy seasons because pythons have the tendency to have lower body temperature when the surrounding is cold, so they use lights to provide heat to them.

Mike with the enclosure of Jake and Sugar, below is the enclosure of Candy

Photo of Jake with Mike's son and nephew

Permit is Required in Owning Exotic Pets

Mike said only one of his pythons has the permit from DENR (Department of environment and Natural Resources ) and PAWB (Protected Areas and Wild Bureau), but he will surely work on the papers of his other pets, as soon as he arrives to the Philippines and as long as his hectic schedules allows him. Mike said 80% of reptile owners in the Philippines have no permit, but he and fellow reptile lovers have been talking about how to make reptile ownership in the Philippines more legal and pleasant. He admitted that most of the pets that he bought have no permit from the start. He wishes the Government to be more aware about reptile owners in the Philippines and may they help propagate information about reptile ownership, that they will actively require permits in acquiring a reptile so that it can be limited to a more responsible and knowledgeable ownership. Mike said he sent lots of emails to DENR and PAWB and he is still awaiting response from them.

Thanks to Mike for all the information

Realities about Python Ownership


Reptile keeping is one of the most wonderful hobbies that a man can do, only if he has great passion for it. And with that passion will follow the discipline and responsibilities. Let’s face the truth that in reptile keeping especially Pythons, there is always a danger at stake, but still it is in the way of responsible caring… While it is true that very few people are fond of these creatures, it is also true that not everybody has the capability to take care of it.   Pythons and other animals are just the same in some ways.  They eat, get sick, needs proper attention, they get angry too. All animals never lost their Animalistic Instinct, just like dogs, they will not attack unless they are threatened.


Pythons are not something to be feared about, there are more fearful things in this world and definitely domesticated or tamed pythons are not included in the lists.


For those interested and would like to start getting reptile as a pet, there are three thing to consider, Responsibility, Discipline and knowledge of the Animals and everything about them, if you don’t have even one of these three better not pursue with the plan, to avoid problems or accidents in the future. This reminder is for the welfare of both, Human and the animals or Pythons. And for those who also have a very deep passion for reptiles, Thanks to all of you for continuously spreading Safe and Responsible reptile keeping.


If you believe you have the three qualities mentioned, and would like to enter the world of reptile keeping, as a novice, always start with simple and easy to be cared for like garter snake, wolf, house or any available specie not included in the endangered list. Start with the true giants when you can already measure your capability.

Last Word From the Hubber

Responsible Python Ownership here may not have the complete information about Python keeping, but Mike’s story can somehow trigger realization that all good python owners did not start with Pythons right away, they do it step by step, until they are seasoned to take care of the true giants. Responsible Pet Ownership always portrays a vital role, unless you want to bring out the monsters in all your pets (not just pythons, but other domesticated animals as well), you can forget about RPO anytime…But you will forever look for your conscience that is if you still have one…? But the bottom line is, true passion will naturally lead you to becoming responsible, and knowledge plus discipline will surely follow.

Pythons are also  helpless creatures when they are sick, and I saw myself in Mike when he was worrying about Jake, when it refused to eat its meal, and vomitted what it had eaten... Pythons are not really monsters but bad owners made them one.

© 2010 Maria Cecilia


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    • Maria Cecilia profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cecilia 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      hi Ahmad Yusuf, maybe getting a licence is very idealistic, but you see this is just to answer the government or prevent the government to confiscate the animals even though they cannot protect them due to budget problem. I agree with you in some aspects. So those who can afford will do everything to keep their pets. I guess most of the python owners are can afford owners... otherwise they will have a hard time maintaining them.. Thank you for taking the time to comment here. If you have more question, I will invite Mike to post his comments here.

    • Ahmad Yusuf profile image

      Ahmad Yusuf 

      5 years ago

      Licensing for more responsible ownership? Man, that is easy for you to say because you can afford it. Licenses to own exotic animals are not normally given to responsible owners. You can always have a license as long as you can pay for the license fee. That will soon limit exotic pet ownership to more privileged individuals, deprive most of us of the chance to have an exotic pet, and those who insist in keeping them without a license will, of course, be branded as violators. Licenses DO NOT promote responsible ownership...EDUCATION and AWARENESS do. Licenses should better be issued to HUNTERS, POACHERS and SELLERS, to regulate their activities and to protect the wild populations; and tougher laws should be enforced on those who inflict unnecessary harm or death to these animals. Remember it is NOT US who love, care for, and adopt exotic animals that should be bound by license terms and laws; instead, these so-called regulatory measures should be imposed on those who pose, or can possibly pose a threat to our wildlife.

    • Maria Cecilia profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cecilia 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Gerard thanks for visiting, I am sorry I cannot help you about your question but I will try to ask the man I featured in this hub who is Mike Alim... I will post it here if he has information or you can leave your email address so I can email you

    • profile image

      gerald hannsen 

      5 years ago

      Where can I buy a reticulated python in Manila... And how much?? Just a 2 feet fella female... I hope if there is such thing as a petshop, 500 pesos for the exact...

    • Maria Cecilia profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cecilia 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      I am not sure yet ha...but before planning on getting a permit make sure first that security wise you are well equip, meaning how safe it is, your capability. and knowledge also, common problems of the people who got python by impulse is that when it grows into a giant, they too became frightened or ended up submitting the py thon to DENR. If y ou think you have all the qualities of a responsible python owner mentioned by Mike Alim in my article, then by all means you are ready to get the permit, but I am not sure really how. But I suggest you find Mike Alim at facebook and ask him, he. Will surely have answers to all your question...It's better that you know some one who is already a veteran in python rearing,.. I would like to suggest also to call dENR and inquire... And ask your concern without revealing to them that you already have the pyhton, tell them you are planning to get one.... Hope My reply can help you... Look for me at face book and pm me (maria cecilia delacruz arrogante I will help you with Mike... Goodluck and be careful....

    • profile image

      Kimmy Jacobs 

      6 years ago

      Hi, I was tricked by a seller near my mothers place in Arranque market and was sold a Burmese python (not endangered), I was also told it's legal so I paid. Weeks passed and I've done so many researches about the proper care (feeding, shedding, enclosures, temperatures, diseases), handling mistakes, and legality and learned it's illegal. I'm just sad that I fell in love with the animal and realized I have passion for snakes especially Burmese which is very docile and now I wanna get me a legal permit to keep them. I'm sure I'm well capable of keeping one in terms of knowledge, passion, discipline, and finance, in fact my family and I are taking care of a cat which I found stray and helpless, and over 17 dogs (a pair of dachshund, a pair of black labrador, 6 shih tzus, 2 pugs, a white pomeranian, and 4 askals). I'm also also planning on pursuing veterinary medicine because of my passion for animals and nature. Now I wanna ask how I can get a permit without my pet being confiscated as it wasn't registered. Thank you!

    • Maria Cecilia profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cecilia 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Nagini thanks for visiting.... try to research on your area how...

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i would like have permit too


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