Macklot’s Python care sheet
Level of experience needed: intermediate – expert
Latin & common names.
This snake has the Latin name of Liasis mackloti mackloti, known commonly as The Macklot’s Python sometimes known as the Freckled Python. This snake has also been known as The Indonesian Water Snake.
As the name ‘Indonesian Water Snake’ suggests this snake comes from Indonesia which is an archipelagic country.
Hatchlings are born brown, and are normally around 18 inches long, as they grow they will lighten a bit and develop greyer freckles, in dots and patches; they have a grey developing slightly yellowish underside and chin. The skin when viewed in good light has a sheen which is not to dissimilar to that of a Brazilian Rainbow Boa.
They have clear light eyes with a vertical slit, there eyesight appears to be very good and they will spot slight movement and show a great deal of interest – especially when they are ready for a feed.
These snakes have a broad flat head and although they have large teeth they are not venomous.
Males are generally smaller than females; mainly they are medium bodied snakes however it is not uncommon for larger specimens to become quite stocky this would ‘normally’ be female specimens.
Males generally average 6 - 7 feet in length.
Females average 7 – 8 feet in length.
It is believed that some specimens have achieved sizes of over 9 ft in length – however I have not been able to confirm this at this stage.
They generally achieve adult weights of 12lbs (5.45kgs) to 18lbs (8.18kgs).
These snakes get a bad reputation for being aggressive…
My first one was bought from a reputable company and they used hooks with it – when I handled it in the shop it tagged me 5 or 6 times each time it drew blood – not bad for a neonate.
With time and handling (and just a little bit of nerve), they quickly calm down and can tolerate handling.
Not fully known at this time, but it is reasonable to assume that similar to other pythons; 15 – 20 years is not unreasonable to expect – so long as good living and care conditions are maintained.
My specimens were started off on mice of appropriate size but they are now taking rats readily. I have not had a fussy feeder as yet, so they have always had pre killed prey – for general feeding problems and advice click here…
Adult snakes may refuse food in the winter months – this is natural and indicates sexual maturity. My snakes have not refused food so far, but should they then I will reduce the temperatures as listed in the heating and lighting slot – this places the snake into ‘brumation’ maintaining it over the winter.
I have trailed various habitats for my specimens over a period of time and I have found that a large enclosure with substrate and a bowl large enough for the snake to fully submerge is ideal. These are active snakes and require plenty of room to move about in, they are not fantastic climbers but do appreciate something to climb on and maximises the space in the viv.
Fresh water needs to be available and in a bowl large enough for the snake to submerge in – especially important when the snake is in shed.
I use various hides for the snakes; cork bark tubes are usually the ones the snakes go for – however you need at least 2 per viv one in the warm end and one in the cool end. Hides need to be the right size though, too large and the snake won’t feel secure too small and the snake won’t fit.
Substrates should be dry such as Aspen, Hemcore etc – newspaper can be used but I have noticed that my specimens like to burrow.
Whatever substrate used, it has to be changed frequently as the snakes defecate and urinate quite often.
Humidity needs to be temperate – so UK humidity is fine, I have not needed to up the humidity at all for shedding purposes.
Heating & Lighting
I use heat mats for these snakes, and I keep the temperature over the mats at 87 deg F, I do not use any other supplementary heat and the specimens are all doing fine with no issues to date. I do not drop the temperatures at night, however many keepers drop temps by around 5% to mimic a night time drop, It is probably important to mention that the average temp in the room these snakes are kept is around 22 deg cel.
My snakes are kept in a room with good sunlight but not in direct sunlight, direct sunlight can drastically raise the temperature of a viv and can lead to brain damage and possible death so it is advised that if you place snakes in a bright room it is away from direct sunlight. I would recommend though that if snakes are kept in darkened rooms or area’s of poor light then a fitting be supplied and a 2% UV bulb be fitted – I prefer the “energy saving” style bayonet fitting ones over the strip lights – these are easy to fit and change and I believe the bulbs last longer.
As a hatchling and neonate then appropriate sized tubs, once the snakes move on to their viv then it should be a minimum of 3’ x 2’ x 18” with substrate, hides, water bowl, foliage and other items for the snake to hide in our under. Although they are not superb climbers, they will utilise any climbing material you can offer.
As the snake grows you will eventually need a larger viv – as an absolute minimum you will need a 4 x 2 x2 viv I will be using 5 x 2 x 2 vivs fitted with AHS heaters and sturdy branches for climbing
As with many python species IBD, RI, Mites and shedding problems can affect this snake, to minimise these problems take sensible precautions as suggested in the links. Never introduce a new snake into the same room as your collection – have a room set aside and viv suitable as an isolation viv for a couple of months before moving them into the room with your collection.
Shedding problems can indicate several problems – however normally this is down to humidity levels. With any snake for any problems always go back to the very basics before becoming convinced of the worst case scenario…
Macklot’s are fantastic snakes but seem to be underrated, possibly down to the reputation for being aggressive. They have a great nature and are very inquisitive – when viewed in good light they have a fantastic sheen to their skin.
These snakes are fantastic for the person who wants to move up from smaller snakes to larger ones – they are hardy enough to shrug off most mistakes but still challenging enough to keep you interested. They make great viewing snakes as they are active from dusk and are active in the mornings therefore the whole family can view them.
When settled and used to being handled they can be handled by older people (not suitable to be held by smaller children unless closely supervised), they have a great feeding response.
This snake would make a great addition to your collection.