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Adults grow to an average length of about 1m, with a maximum of 1.5m. The crown scales are enlarged while those on the body are small and smooth, with a rainbow sheen that can be seen when exposed to direct sunlight.
Found in Australia in the extreme north of Western Australia, the northern third of Northern Territory, and northeastern Queensland. Also on the islands of the Torres Strait. The type locality given is "?" Listed as "N.W. Australia" in the catalogue of the British Museum of Natural History and as unknown in Stimson (1969).
The diet consists of reptiles, birds and small mammals, particularly microbats. The snakes catch the bats by dangling from stalactites in caves, which they commonly inhabit, and snatch them out of the air as they fly past. When kept in captivity feed appropriately sized mice or rats which is good for health.
Oviparous, with up to 25 eggs per clutch. Female brood their eggs through a seven week incubation period by coiling around them and occasionally shivering to keep them warm, which also affords the eggs some protection from predators. Juveniles are heavily blotched, but gradually become reddish brown or brown as they mature.
Often kept as a pet due to its good nature and less demanding requirements. The lifespan of captive specimens has been known to exceed 30 years. Juvenile are fed on pinky mice (baby, hairless mice), while larger individuals can be fed on adult mice or small rats. Feeding should occur roughly once a fortnight.
One of two species of Antaresia, a genus of the Pythonidae family named after the star Antares. John Edward Gray published a description of the species in 1842, naming it Liasis childreni. The specific epithet, conserved in the current name, is in honour of Gray's mentor, John George Children, a curator of the zoological collection at the British Museum around that time. No subspecies are currently recognized. The snake has previously been described as a species of Liasis and Morelia.
- List of pythonid species and subspecies
- Pythonidae, valid scientific names
- Pythonidae by taxonomic synonyms
- ^ Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
- ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
- ^ "Antaresia childreni". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=634764. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
- "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/search.php?freetext=Antaresia+childreni&modifier=phrase&criteria=wholedb&taxa_species=1&redlistCategory%5B%5D=all&country%5B%5D=all&cty_default=1&aquatic%5B%5D=all&aqu_default=1®ions%5B%5D=all®_default=1&habitats%5B%5D=all&threats%5B%5D=all&redlistAssessyear%5B%5D=all&growths%5B%5D=all. Retrieved 2008-09-06. [dead link]