Scientific name: Liasis olivaceus
Did You Know?
Olive pythons are non-venomous and harmless to humans. Unfortunately they are sometimes mistaken for the highly venomous king brown snake and needlessly killed. Due to this, and changes to their natural habitats the species is now listed as vulnerable.
Size and appearance
This is the second largest snake species in Australia, coming in behind only the Scrub Python. Adults can reach over 4 meters in length. Their average length is 2.5 – 3.5 meters. When fully grown they generally weigh between 10-20 kgs. The distinctive, smaller scales of the Olive python make it appear to have smoother ‘skin’ than other pythons have a distinctive green/olive colour, hence their name.
Naturally the Olive comes from Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. It lives in rocky areas, gorges and especially rocky areas near sources of water. Typically, shelter is sought in caves and rock crevices, but individuals have also been found in hollow logs and in burrows under rocks. They are also strong swimmers and enjoy the water. Ours regularly rests or hides in her water bowl if she gets too warm or becomes frightened if there are changes or additional noise in the house.
They are ground dwelling, so in captivity, having a longer tank is much more important than height as they will be unlikely to climb and they will definitely appreciate the space the spread out. Giving them some rocks and branches (that have been properly treated for mites and any diseases) will give them some lovely perches to climb on and hide under as they would in the wild.
Through all of my research and our experience, Olive’s are beautiful snakes to own and handle. They are very curious, calm enjoy watching the environment around them and can be great to handle. The use of a snake hook is recommended when getting them out of their tank initially just to make sure they know that your hand isn’t edible, but as soon as you get them outside of their territory AKA the tank, they calm happily and are very curious about what is around them.
They make a great pet snake for people as their curious and friendly attitude makes them a pleasure to own, handle and share your life with. It must be noted however, that these become very big snakes and as such when they bite, although of course not venomous, can cause some serious puncture marks.
In the wild Olives generally feed on mammals as large as rock wallabies – birds, reptiles and frogs. They also catch prey in the water. In captivity you begin small with pinky mice and move upwards.
As adults Olive Pythons will require a very large enclosure. At least 8ft x 3ft x 3ft will be needed with the bigger being better.As hatchlings you do not want it to be too big though or the snake will stress so you may need to have the ability to block off sections or upgrade to a larger enclosure later. A temperature gradient is best with a warm and cool end in the tank. The temperature should be 35 degrees Celsius to 26 Celsius with a variation at night, going 2-3 degrees cooler.
Olive Pythons are partially arboreal so some branches or rocks to climb on should be placed in the enclosure. As with all pythons a hide hole should be made available. In the wild Olive Pythons are excellent swimmers so the use of a very large water bowl is also recommended.
**Please note. Only ever buy your reptiles from a breeder or ethical pet shop that sources only reptiles that have been bred in captivity. Capturing animals such as Olive Pythons from the wild is not only cruel, you may lose your pet as the stress would be too much and it will only add to their depleting numbers and vulnerable status!**
Some useful sites I used to gather my information (along with our own personal experience)