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CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

PAGE 6: TEMPERATURE

 

A broader temperature range can be used with captive hatched M. boeleni, 50 F -85 F. Several breeders have reported using night time lows into the upper 50F to low 60F range during the reproduction cycle without ill effects. Considering that in their natural habitat they experience temperatures at night ranging from 40 F-50 F on a daily basis, replicating such temperatures may prove to be helpful with your captive program. I would suggest slowly conditioning captive animals that have not been exposed to such temperatures as follows. Starting with your current night time low temperature, on a weekly regiment, gradually drop temperatures in two to four degree intervals until the desired night time temperatures is reached. I suggest providing at least one area with a heat source, such as a radiant heat panel, set at ten degrees higher than the lowest ambient temperature for at least four weeks and then gradually lower the temperature on the heat source so that only the ambient temperature is experienced by the specimens. This method provides a safer and slower method to conditioning animals that have never experienced such low temperatures. Make sure daily observations are made to reassure that specimens do not develop any infections, such as mouth rot or respiratory. Living in the northeastern part of the United States I have used the unfinished side of my basement to maintain my Boelen’s collection. At the hottest point of the summer my basements ambient temperature stays at a constant 65F and in the winter it can get as low as 50F. I have used a Raytek infrared temperature gun to take body temperatures (surface reading) and have found that Boelen’s are able to maintain higher than ambient temperatures throughout the night. This is evidence that they have the ability to retain some of the heat absorbed through basking. Daytime highs are kept in the low to mid 80Fs with an additional heat source provided for further thermal regulation. These hotter basking areas are usually chosen after meals or first thing in the morning. Recently I have installed a 9000 BTU window air conditioner allowing me to reach temperatures as low as 42 F. I plan to use these lower temperatures at night during my reproduction cycle for a six hour period. Since experiencing Boelen’s Pythons natural habitat I feel this may be an important part of the equation to successfully being able to reproduce these amazing animals in captivity.

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Morelia boeleni commonly bask in the evenings raising their body temperatures well into the high 80 F to low 90 F. They retain temperatures greater than the ambient temperatures well into the night. Photo by Spataro.

This A/C unit is installed in my Boelen’s room and is helping keep temperatures cool during the reproductive cycle. Photo by Spataro

 

     

© 2007 Marc A. Spataro