Meet the Adorably Cute Python That’s the Smallest in the World

Pygmy python curled on a rock
Ken Griffiths/

Written by Gail Baker Nelson

Updated: October 18, 2023

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Key Facts:
  • The pygmy python weighs under half a pound and measures 24 inches at the most, making it the smallest of its kind on the planet.
  • Their fondness for geckos and lizards can pose a challenge to pet owners raising them.
  • Pygmy pythons are pretty laidback and rarely bite, however they are pretty expensive.

When you think of a python, you’re probably going to think of something huge. Reticulated and Burmese pythons come to mind — these beautiful giants are intimidating, to say the least. Yet, pythons are so much more than just a few giant species that Hollywood directors turn into movies.

While yes, pythons tend to be pretty big snakes, you may not realize that there are a few rather small, and dare I say, really cute species. The smallest pythons belong to the genus Antaresia, and its members include the Children’s python, spotted python, and pygmy python. Take a look at the pygmy python, the world’s smallest python, in this video.

Watch the Footage Below!

Where to Find the World’s Smallest Pythons

To find these snakes, you’ll have to head to Australia, home to more than a dozen python species including the black-headed and woma pythons.

Western Australia’s Pilbara region is located in the northwest of Western Australia and it is the hottest and dryest area in all of Australia. Temperatures in this desert region regularly reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit and can soar to 113 during the day with very little in the way of a wet season.

So, to avoid cooking like an egg, many animals spend their daylight hours underground. Termite mounds are popular subterranean oases for several snake and lizard species.

This is where you’ll find the anthill, or pygmy, python. As an adult, this tiny snake only measures about 20-24 inches long and weighs less than half of a pound. Measurements like that make it the smallest python in the world!

This adorable little python is nocturnal and only comes out at night when the temperatures dip to a more reasonable range. When it’s out on the hunt, you’ll often find it hanging around ant hills and termite mounds. This snake loves to eat the geckos and lizards that feed on termites and ants.

Pygmy Python

The pygmy python typically weighs less than half of a pound.

Do Pygmy Pythons Make Great Pets?

It is one of the most relaxed python species. It almost never bites and doesn’t seem to mind being handled. Breeders in Australia have a few different morphs available; anything from almost completely solid red or even an albino can be had.

There are some breeders in North America, but they’re not very common yet.

Why isn’t this adorable diminutive python not popular? Well, that’s because pygmy pythons are one of the most difficult snakes to get eating as hatchlings. If you don’t have tiny geckoes for them to eat, they’re probably not going to eat without help. That’s because, in the wild, pygmy python hatchlings feed on tiny lizards and geckoes. They don’t even begin to take warm-blooded prey until they’re bigger. So, breeders have to feed them pieces of mice scented with lizard or gecko in order to get them to eat. Once they’re taking mice on their own, however, they almost never skip a meal. Unlike ball pythons, that can go on months-long hunger strikes.

These absolutely adorable snakes can make a great first snake — if they weren’t so expensive. Due to the difficulty in getting them to start eating as hatchlings, breeders tend to keep them for longer periods of time before they sell a pygmy python baby, which drives up the price a bit.

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About the Author

Gail Baker Nelson is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles and dogs. Gail has been writing for over a decade and uses her experience training her dogs and keeping toads, lizards, and snakes in her work. A resident of Texas, Gail loves working with her three dogs and caring for her cat, and pet ball python.

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