Everyone has heard of the Royal Python. This snake, one of the most famous, is very popular as a pet, mainly because of its shy and calm temperament. This reptile is also known as the Ball Python because it curls up on itself when it protects itself.
Although it is one of the most popular ophidians, few people actually know about it. In this article, you will not only learn about its origin and characteristics, but also tips and tricks if you want to adopt one. Let’s get to know this exciting snake right away !
Ball Python Facts
As explained earlier, the Ball Python’s nickname comes from its defensive behavior. When it feels threatened, it curls up to protect its sensitive areas, such as its head or neck. This reptile is terrestrial animal and a member of the constrictor snake family, which means that it kills its prey by wrapping itself around their rib cage.
Like most Pythonidae, the Royal Python has very poor eyesight. To locate itself, it uses mainly with what is called “heat-sensitive dimples”.
These receptor organs, present at the top of its mouth in the form of small holes, are extremely sensitive and are able to detect temperature variations to within 0.001 degrees. This allows him to have like an infrared vision. In other words, it can see its prey even when there is total darkness thanks to the heat it gives off.
Not all snakes have these receptors, but the Royal Python is one of those that have this ability. Its tongue also allows it to capture olfactory particles thanks to its Jacobson’s organ.
Peaceful in nature, this snake is a domesticated animal that can be handled easily (except when eating or molting).
Due to selective breeding around the world, the Ball Python is one of the snakes with the most color variations.
It is easy to recognize because of its head which is smaller than its body and its short tail. Its head is dark brown on top with a band running from each side of the snout to its temples.
Its dark color is contrasted by rounded spots of a beige tint. It can sometimes have darker spots, going in yellowish tones. There are about sixty colors, so you can find this species in different shades.
During the moult, which lasts one to two weeks, its appearance is modified. Its eyes become duller as does its skin. Until the process is complete, it will not return to its original color.
This snake is non-venomous, but still has teeth. These teeth allow it to hold its prey if it tries to escape while it is engulfing it.
Ball Python Size
The average size of a Ball Python is 4.27ft (1,30m). Females are often larger and heavier than males, which is rare in snakes. The female is about 4.59ft (1.40m) tall compared to 4.10ft (1.25m) for the male.
The average weight of an adult female is between 3.08lb (1.4kg) and 3.53lbs (1.6kg) and between 2.87lbs (1.3kg) and 3.30lbs (1.5kg) for a male.
The Ball Python has a long lifespan, ranging from 20 to 30 years.
The Royal Python is naturally shy. It is therefore rare to see it “attack” its owner, although among snakes the notion of “master” does not really exist. When it is afraid, the royal python rolls up in a ball and hides its head in the middle of its body, hence its other name of ball python.
This ophidian is rarely aggressive due to its shy nature. However, since there is no notion of “master” among snakes, it sometimes happens that the baby Ball Python adopts a defensive attitude. To avoid this behavior, the owner is advised to adopt specific gestures to reassure him.
It is important to handle your Python progressively from a young age so that it gets used to you. As for all pets, you have to go progressively so that he will eventually let himself be handled easily. It is important to know that he will never really enjoy being picked up or stroked, so it is advisable to handle him in small doses so that he doesn’t lose the habit, while leaving him alone.
It is also necessary to avoid making it cohabit with another species or even one of its congeners. Indeed, it could fight to appropriate the territory, and even kill itself.
Ball Python vs Boa
Pythons are often confused with Boas, but they can be differentiated by their larger row of teeth on the premaxillary bone, which gives them a larger number of teeth on their upper jaw.
In addition, boas are ovoviviparous, meaning that they lay their eggs inside and hatch them inside the mother. Ball Pythons are oviparous and lay their eggs outside their body, like most reptiles.
Where Do Ball Pythons Live ?
The Ball Python is found exclusively on the African continent, mainly in Nigeria, Angola or Congo. They live in areas with relatively constant climates, ranging from savannah to rainforest to agricultural areas.
What Do Ball Pythons Eat ?
Snakes in general are carnivorous and feed only on whole, unprocessed prey. This nocturnal animal hunts exclusively at night. Its natural preys are quite varied and it can be described as opportunistic. It consumes mainly small mammals like rodents (rats, gerbils, …) but also young birds and other reptiles and amphibians (lizards, frogs, …).
Did you know that it was possible to have a Royal Python as a companion for your daily life ? With this beautiful Python Necklace, you can adopt one that will accompany you in all your adventures. If you are interested, don’t hesitate to have a look at it! You might be disturbed by its realism.
The food of the Ball Python in captivity
If you own a Python Regius or if you want to adopt one, here is what you should know:
Focus on small prey for juveniles, such as mice. As it grows, you can give it larger amounts, such as raccoons or rats.
This reptile should not be fed every day. Indeed, if a young python should be fed only once a week (usually one or two mice), you should only give one rat per month or two mice every 14 days for an adult.
These data are only guidelines, so you must adapt them according to the expenses and needs of your animal. You should also make sure not to feed your snake before a moult.
This type of food can be found in two forms, live or frozen. To promote better digestion and not to increase its stress, it is preferable to feed it frozen prey.
Since this reptile is nocturnal and rather shy, it is preferable to feed it at night.
If your Ball Python Won’t Eat, try to offer different kinds of preys. You can also play with the size and colors of the preys. Finally, you can try to give him a live animal.
Be careful, however, that this last option must be carried out under close supervision to avoid any bite or injury which could prove dramatic for your snake.
If yournsnake still does not eat, there is still the method of force-feeding, but this should only be considered as a last resort if your animal is losing a lot of weight.
Ball Python Care
The Ball Python is not too sensitive and has good antibodies, so it is rare that it gets sick if it evolves in healthy and adapted conditions. The most frequent problems are the development of parasites (mites, ticks and mites), intestinal obstructions or ventral dermatitis.
All these diseases are transmitted by touch if you have been in contact with another infected snake without washing them afterwards, or by lack of hygiene in the terrarium.
In case of parasitic infection, you will have to empty the terrarium completely, clean it with white vinegar, and plunge all its decorations in a mixture of hot water and white vinegar. You can also add a piece of newspaper in the bottom as a substrate.
For ticks, use a soft anti-parasite spray on a piece of cloth and gently rub the body of the snake, without going over its head.
If your reptile has more serious problems, do not hesitate to consult a veterinarian.
The breeding season for python breeders begins in September. In order to mate, the male and female must be in the same terrarium. It will be necessary to separate them every 14 days to give them food. The egg laying will take place during the month of March.
The sexual maturity for the male is reached after 3 years and 4 to 5 years for the female. The female will have to make a minimum of one kilo to not take any risk.
3 to 4 months after mating, she can lay between 4 and 12 eggs. Once incubated in a humid place, it will be necessary to wait between 2 and 3 months for them to hatch. The juveniles take 2 to 3 days to emerge from the egg and when they are born, the hatchlings are already able to feed themselves.
Ball Python Terrarium
The size of the Bald Python Terrarium does not have to be large.
For a young snake, i.e. during its first year, you can be satisfied with a terrarium size of 23in (Width) x 18in (Depth) x 18in (Height) (60cm x 45cm x 45cm).
To accommodate an adult, the ideal size is 35in x 18in x 23in (90cm x 45cm x 60cm). You will also need to ensure that you have ventilation and a fine mesh roof. As a semi-arboreal species, this ophidian needs height and scenery for exercise.
As a semi-arboreal species, the Royal Python needs height and decorations. Here is an exhaustive list of what you should install in its terrarium:
- A hiding place: This snake being shy, a place out of sight will allow it to be reassured and to be safe when it feels endangered.
A large Root : This one will allow him to exercise and to rub himself during his moult
- A large bowl of water: in addition to being able to drink, it will be used to immerse oneself while shedding one’s skin.
- Vegetation: They will be used to decorate your terrarium but also for the well-being of your pet
As for the terrarium floor, the best substrates should be composed of large pieces, such as large wood chips, newspaper or coconut fiber (to be changed every day).
Temperature & Humidity
The Ball Python snake is one of the easiest reptiles to maintain in terms of temperature and humidity.
Being a cold blooded animal, this ophidian needs a cool and a warm zone to simulate the climate of its natural habitat and maintain a good body temperature.
A semi-tropical terrarium will be ideal. For this, it will only need a mat or a plate or a 20 watt heating cable, so that the warm zone is at a temperature of about 30°C to 35°C (86°F to 95°F). The cold zone should maintain a temperature of about 25°C (77°F).
Being a nocturnal snake, it will not be necessary to install an ultraviolet lamp.
Concerning humidity, spray warm water once or twice a week with a classic garden sprayer and once a day during its moult.
Now you have all the information about this magnificent Royal Python as well as our advice and tips for a future adoption. As you have seen, this snake is a gentle and docile reptile that is very easy to maintain in captivity. However, it is important to know this reptile well and to be sure before you start.
So, if some of the points discussed in this article put you off or you are afraid of certain aspects, it is better to give up. On the contrary, if you feel ready, you are about to live a great experience.
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