The following habitat information is based solely off of one population of Morelia boeleni. Until further research is completed on other populations of this species, one can only assume that habitats are similar based on previous locality data and limited observations.

Al Baldogo and I, Marc A. Spataro, completed an extensive habitat and specimen study in October 2006. The population studied was located in the Central Highlands of West Papua. This population of Boelen’s Pythons preferred montane rainforest and specimens were found at elevations ranging from 2250 meters (6500 feet) up to 2670 meters (8000 feet). Elevations and specimen locations were measured and recorded by the use of a Garmin GPS.


Climbing is a necessity for accessing Boelen’s Python
habitat. Pictured here are Al Baldogo and fellow
guides on our way up to Taman Tina.
Photo by Baldogo and Spataro

The habitat consisted of very dense, lush rainforest located on extremely steep cliff ridden mountains. Unpredictable rain showers can occur multiple times throughout the day. Relative humidity readings were taken hourly throughout the day, at multiple locations, and rarely measured under 80%. Ambient temperatures were measured the same way and ranged from 84 F to 42 F. Surface temperatures of both specimens and their basking sites were recorded also. Most specimens measured in the mid to upper 80 F range at the hottest point of the day. The basking sites were usually lower, measuring in the upper 70 F to lower 80 F ranges.

This photo displays a Boelen's Python's retreat, temperature and humidity
readings recorded at 1 p.m. considerably the hottest time of day. ( 62.1 F , 94% )
Photo by Spataro

Specimens were usually found at a specific basking site next to their retreats which consist of openings going down into the rocks, filled with vegetation that had been matted down. Temperature and humidity readings were taken inside these and surprisingly had much lower temperature readings ranging from 60-70 F, combined with relative humidity readings of 80% or higher in the heat of the day.

This photo represents temperature and humidity readings at 3 a.m. at 6500 feet.
At 1000 feet higher the temperature was ten degrees colder. ( 42.6 F, 99% )
Photos by Spataro

Based on field observations, Morelia boeleni do not like to be exposed to inclimate weather. During storms specimens would retreat to their burrows. Boelen’s Pythons are diurnal, observations of specimens coming out to bask in the early morning and then thermo-regulating by either retreating to their burrows or moving about the vegetation possibly hunting during the day. While observations were extremely difficult at night it is speculated that Morelia boeleni stay isolated within their shelters at night conserving energy/heat and ambushing prey.

Locals have many common names for this species depending where they are located on the island; most refer to it by the name of “sanca bulan” and remark that it is an excellent climber often seen in trees. Unfortunately, Boelen’s Pythons are used as a food source by some.


Typical basking sites containing shed skins and skat, close by are retreats used by Morelia boeleni as shelters. Photos by Baldogo

Weights, lengths, girths, temperatures, bacterial/fecal/blood cultures, and scale clippings for genetic analysis were taken during the field study as data.

Photos by Baldogo And Kapanus




© 2007 Marc A. Spataro