Date Published: February 2012
This risk assessment is for three pythons: Antaresia childreni (Children's Python); A. stimsoni (Stimson's Python); and A. maculosa (Spotted Python). Until recently, these three species were recognised as a single species, and they continue to be grouped together as 'Children's Pythons' or the 'Children's Python's Complex' in the literature and through the pet trade.
These three pythons are similar in appearance and can be difficult to distinguish. They are known to hybridise in captivity, and share many similarities including dietary preference, social behaviour and temperament. The pythons are common to the international and Australian commercial pet trade and are recognised for being comparatively easy to look after in captivity.
The term 'Children's Pythons' used in this assessment refers to the three species A. childreni, A. stimsoni and A. maculosa. It does not include the remaining member of the genus, A. perthensis (Pygmy Python), which is the world's smallest python and is substantially different from the assessed species.
The three pythons occupy distinct ranges in central Australia, tropical northern Australia and northeast Australia. Populations also occur on some offshore islands.
The Spotted python is the only one listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is listed as Least Concern. They have not established feral populations outside their natural range and are not noted for causing environmental impacts. Climate modelling suggests that Tasmania's climate is moderately similar to the native range of these species.
Pythons of the genus Antaresia are listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The international trade of these species is controlled under this convention.
In Tasmania, Children's Pythons are controlled animals under the Nature Conservation Act 2002.
This risk assessment concludes that Children's Pythons are a moderate threat to Tasmania and proposes that imports be restricted to those licence holders approved for keeping moderate threat species.
Childrens Pythons (Antaresia spp.) (711Kb)