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Bothrochilus Boa

Updated on April 14, 2012
Bothrochilus Boa
Bothrochilus Boa

Hello snake keepers.

Let me introduce Bothrochilus Boa, the Bismarck Ringed Python. Although the Latin name says Bothrochilus Boa, it is a python species and belongs to the Pythonidae family. This snake is an endemic species, which means it only lives in one region in the whole world, the Bismarck Archipelago, where also the English name comes from. I have decided to write a few words about this snake, as I think it is one of the most astonishing ones in regard of the incredible color combination of the young ones and the continuous color change when reaching the adulthood.

Appearance and size

As mentioned already and as you can see in the pictures, the snake has an impressive coloration. there is a big difference between the young and adult specimens though. The young ones are black, with an all black head similar to the one of Aspidited melanocephalus (Black Headed Python), with many iridescent orange rings, these apparently gave the snakes the other part of their English name. With time as the snake grows the color starts to change. The beautiful black color remains the same and the orange fades out a bit and changes into a darker gold dust color. Some specimens may fade out so much that they appear to be almost all black. In the pictures you can see my young couple. We will be able to follow their color change with the time as will upload new pictures. I would consider the Bothrochilus boa to be a medium size snake, maxing out in size at approximately 2m.


Just like the color their temper is as well very different when talking about a baby and about an adult. babies and sub-adults tend to be very very bitty, aggressive and go crazy as soon as you open and enter the enclosure, they even try to attack water drops when spraying the tank. The adults seem to be a bit more placid and calm down with age.


When still small, they are picky eaters and some need to be offered cut pinkie mice to get started. As soon as they accept the offered food items they will no stop eating. I have rarely seen such greedy eaters. The adults eat willingly many kinds of prey and use to eat regularly. In nature they occasionally feed also on other reptiles.


The enclosure for the Bismarck ringed python needs to offer enough space, as the snake is always on a move. The usual activity time is during the night but they move around a lot also during the day. As they are a burrowing species, a higher level of bedding is very welcome. If you tend not to use too much bedding to have a better overview of your snakes I recommend to at least provide a hiding box. A big water bowl is absolutely necessary as the snakes love to take a bath from time to time and usually stay in water for a while after having eaten. A climbing branch is a good idea as this way you can offer the animal more space to move around. Due to some cannibalistic attitude they need to be kept separately to avoid loosing one snake unnecessarily. In wild nature they live in rain forests, therefore a higher humidity is recommended. For my snakes I provide a hot spot with a maximum temperature of 30C.

Breeding and Husbandry

Unfortunately yet I can not provide any personal experience as my couple has still not reached maturity. The fact is, as they are pythons, they lay eggs, usually 5-12 piece in a clutch. The female is very protective and incubates and defends the eggs.


Beautiful snake which is a jewel to every snake collection. Though the color changes with time the still remain one of the most impressive snake available.

Bothrochilus Boa
Bothrochilus Boa
Bothrochilus Boa - subadult female
Bothrochilus Boa - subadult female
Bothrochilus Boa - subadult female
Bothrochilus Boa - subadult female
Bothrochilus Boa - subadult female
Bothrochilus Boa - subadult female

Bothrochilus Boa - male striking

Bothrochilus Boa - male feeding

Bothrochilus Boa - female striking and feeding


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