- Wild: average 10 years
- Captivity: 20 to 35 years
- Length: 3 to 5 feet
- Weight: 5 to 15 pounds
- Mixed grasslands and forests
- Royal pythons are carnivorous (meat eater), crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), and terrestrial (ground-dwelling).
- West-Central Africa
- Wild: almost exclusively eat rodents: rats, gerbils and gerboas
- Zoo: Frozen thawed rats
- Sexual maturity is reached at approximately 5 years of age.
- The female will lay 5-9 eggs per clutch once a year.
- The female incubates the eggs by coiling herself around them and shivering to maintain a constant warm temperature.
- Incubation lasts 75 to 80 days.
- Hatchlings are 9 to 17 inches long at birth.
- The name "ball" python comes from the fact that this snake rolls into a ball to hide and protect its head.
- The name "royal" python is due to a legend that many African rulers were known to have worn live pythons as jewelry, especially Cleopatra.
- To hunt, snakes stick out their forked tongue to collect data.
- Once collected, the snake will insert the tips of the forked tongue into its Jacobson’s organ, where the data can be analyzed.
- The Jacobson’s organ interprets the chemicals such as pheromones to aid the snake with finding its next meal, or even a mate.
- They are well camouflaged for life in the trees or on the ground, with varying coloration on the top and bottom of their body.
- They shed their skin every 6 to 8 weeks to reveal a new skin underneath.
- Pythons are constrictors, meaning they kill their prey by coiling around and suffocating it.
- They are also excellent swimmers and have the ability to pump air inside their body to prevent sinking.
- IUCN: Least Concern
- CITES: Appendix II (trade is controlled)
- Although they are not listed as endangered or threatened, their numbers continue to decrease in the wild due to over collection for the pet trade and habitat loss.
- CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
- IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
- Burnie, David and Don E. Wilson. Smithsonian Institution. Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. New York, New York. DK Publishing, Inc. 2001.
- Walls, Jerry G. The Living Python. Neptune City, NJ. TFH Publications. 1998.
- Rangel, E. 2002 "Python regius SHAW 1802". Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed 24 September 2009 www.eol.org/pages/1055460