Amethystine Python

Amethystine Python

Scrub python, Sanca permata

Simalia amethistina
Population size
Life Span
20 yrs
5-15 kg
2-4 m

The Amethystine python is a species of nonvenomous snake. Popular among reptile enthusiasts, and noted for its coloration and size, the Amethystine python is one of the six largest snakes in the world, as measured either by length or weight; it is also the largest native snake in Australia and Papua New Guinea.


Amethystine pythons are found in Indonesia (Maluku Islands, Timur Laut Islands, Banda, Kai Islands, Aru Islands, Misool, Salawati, most of Western New Guinea, many islands in Geelvink Bay, such as Biak, Numfor, Yapen, and Supiori), Papua New Guinea (including Umboi Island, Bismarck Archipelago, Trobriand Islands, the d'Entrecasteaux Islands to Rossel Island, Louisiade Archipelago), and Australia (on some islands in the Torres Strait, the northern Cape York Peninsula south including the Atherton Tableland, and the eastern foothills of the Great Dividing Range). These pythons inhabit both bushland and suburbia. In Indonesia and northern tropical Queensland, they are found mostly in rainforests; warm, humid habitats with good water sources are preferred. In northern Australia and New Guinea, they mostly live in scrublands. They can also occur in plantations and urban areas.

Amethystine Python habitat map


Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Amethystine pythons are solitary nocturnal creatures. Young individuals spend most of their time in trees while adults are more terrestrial and spend their time mainly on the ground. They are also very good swimmers and will travel by water when it is required. Amethystine pythons are 'sit and wait' are predators. They typically remain motionless in a camouflaged position, and then strike suddenly at passing prey which is then killed by constriction; they quickly wrap a number of coils around the prey and suffocate an animal.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Amethystine pythons are carnivores. Their diet generally consists of birds, bats, rats, possums, and other small mammals. Larger individuals may catch and eat wallabies, and cuscus, waiting by creek and river banks for prey seeking drinking water.

Mating Habits

5-21 eggs

Amethystine pythons are oviparous. Females lay 5 to 21 eggs per clutch and incubate them until they hatch. During the incubation period, females do not eat and leave only to bask to raise their body temperature.


Population threats

There are no major threats facing Amethystine pythons at present.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Amethystine python total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Amethystine python is known as 'nm' in the Kalam language of Papua New Guinea.
  • The specific name of this python, amethistina, is actually an allusion to the milky iridescent sheen on its scales, which gives it an amethyst-like color.
  • Amethystine pythons detect their prey with the help of heat-sensing pits located on the six or seven of the posterior lower labials.
  • Amethystine pythons swallow their prey whole, and it may take several days or even weeks to fully digest it.
  • Females incubate their eggs by causing the muscles to "shiver"; this raises the temperature of the body to a certain degree, and thus that of the eggs. Keeping the eggs at a constant temperature is essential for healthy embryo development.


1. Amethystine Python on Wikipedia -
2. Amethystine Python on The IUCN Red List site -

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