Simalia Tracyae 'Halmahera python'

Simalia Tracyae is a large arboreal python from the island Halmahera which belongs to the Indonesia Archipelago.
First described in 1994 by David Barker while the species was still called Morelia Amethystina. Barker allready thought this would be a seperat species but further studies on live specimens and museum specimens was necessary. In 2000 the Halmahera python was finally recognized as a seperate species together with Morelia Clastolepis and Morelia Nauta. Being a gentleman David G. Barker named this species after his wife Tracy Barker and the name Simalia Tracyae was born.

The Halmahera python is a larger species which can attain a length of 2,5 till 4 meters. Sometimes it is called a heavy bodied snake but in my opinion this is not true. This species has a slender triangular body which allows the animals to hunt in the canopy like can be seen in the photo on the right. The Halmahera python can be recognized by its distinct red irises. Although this color can change during the day. My male has browner irises during the day and at night they are fire red. This species has a large head with a rounded snouth. The body has a pale brown/greenish/yellow background color which is covored with thick dorsal stripes that are brown/black. There is a great variety in the background color of these animals. My male is very light while the female is alot darker. There is said that the background color of these animals can change during the day but I have never seen this.Though during breeding the female became darker and darker. Just before egg laying she was almost entirely black.

 

Simalia Tracyae is a nervous species, when wondering there cage after dark they will totally freeze when they have seen you in the room. Because of this I try not to handle the animals unless it must be absolutely necessary. Both my animals stay calm when they are touched but the female will his when provoked to much.

In the wild they live above the ground and in the canopies. Young animals can be placed in a high curver which allows the animals to climb. the benefit of a curver is that it gives the animal a seclude feeling. This allows the animal to acclimate better because there is a minimum amount of stress. In a later stadium the animal can be placed in a terrarium. Adult animals can be housed in a cage of 120x60x60 but I think that 150x60x60 would be better. A heating source from above is necessary so a heatpanel is perfect. Make sure the branches are not to close underneath the panel because the animal can burn itself. Make sure you use enough branches and foliage for the animal so it can hide when it wants and feels secure.

gallery/simalia tracyae

I feed my animals with thawed mice, rats, quail and chickens. I just leave the prey item in the cage during the night and in the morning it has been eaten.
I never encountered any problems like food refusal or agressive behaviour towards myself. I do not use life prey items because these animals are very shy and this gives the prey item the opportunity to become the predator and hurt or damage the snake.

gallery/simalia tracyae3

In 2019 I have bred this species in captivity for the first time by a private breeder. In 2018 the Oklahoma zoo bred this species for the very first time in captivity. Breeding this species turns out not to be very very difficult. They need the same key breeding elements that other species need. But the main key breeding this species is keeping the stress levels low. 

My female laid 4 eggs but unfortunately 1 egg turned out to be unfertile and went bad after a week. The remaining three eggs developed great and hatched after 88 days. This species seems to lay relatively large eggs and so the young that are born are large to. I can honestly say that the young of this species are very difficult to grow up succesfully. My young are three moths old at the time I am writing this. Only one has shed and one other is showing signs of shedding. Normally snakes shed within a few weeks after they are born. None of my young have eaten yet but they do not show any signs of getting thin. So we will see how things will go and how this story develops.