Royal Python

Royal Python

Reptiles

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: royal python, ball python
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Boidae
GENUS SPECIES: Python (serpent slain by Apollo) regius (of royalty)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Small-sized, heavy-bodied python with beige blotches on a dark brown background
SIZE: Adults 1-2 m (3-6 ft.) in length; hatchlings 30 cm (12 in.)
WEIGHT: No data
DIET: Variety of warm-blooded vertebrates
INCUBATION: Approximately 90 days
SEXUAL MATURITY: 3-4 years
LIFE SPAN: Heavy-bodied snakes can exceed 40 years, even longer in captivity; longest lived recorded is 47 yr. 6 mos.
RANGE: West-Central Africa
HABITAT: Found in open areas of dry tropical forests and open savannahs; often found in burrows
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN No data
CITES Appendix II
USFWS No data

FUN FACTS

1. These snakes are called ball pythons because of their defensive posture of coiling into a tight ball with their heads protected in the center of the coil.
2. The name royal python is believed to be derived from the fact that many African rulers were known to have worn live pythons as jewelry.
3. Ball pythons are believed to live the longest of snakes species in managed situations, with some individuals living into their forties.
4. Ball pythons are believed to live the longest of snakes species in managed situations, with some individuals living into their forties.
5. Ball pythons are believed to live the longest of snakes species in managed situations, with some individuals living into their forties.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Ball pythons are often over-collected for the pet trade. This impact, as well as the collection for food by indigenous people, is beginning to have a negative effect on their populations. These snakes play a very important role in the control of many small mammals, especially rodents, which, when in excess, can have a serious effect on the environment. Also, these small snakes are frequent prey animals for larger predators such as cats and birds of prey.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bauchot, Roland (ed.). Snakes: A Natural History. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1994.

Ernst, Carl H., and Zug, George R. Snakes in Question. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.

Mattison, Chris. Snakes of the World. New York: Factions on File Publications, Inc., 1986.

Mehrtens, John M. Living Snakes of the World. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1987.

Stafford, Peter J. Pythons and Boas. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications, Inc., 1986.