Python regiusRoyal Python

Family

  • Pythonidae

Lifespan

  • Wild: average 10 years
  • Captivity: 20 to 35 years

Size

  • Length: 3 to 5 feet
  • Weight: 5 to 15 pounds

Habitat

  • Mixed grasslands and forests

Lifestyle Royal Python

  • Royal pythons are carnivorous (meat eater), crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), and terrestrial (ground-dwelling).

Origin

  • West-Central Africa

Diet

  • Wild: almost exclusively eat rodents: rats, gerbils and gerboas
  • Zoo: Frozen thawed rats

Reproduction

  • 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.

Unique Characteristics

  • 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.

Special AdaptationsRoyal Python soaking

  • 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.

Python Facts

  • 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.

Conservation Status

  • 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.
Royal Python
 

Sources

  1.  CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012.  www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. 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.
  4. Walls, Jerry G. The Living Python. Neptune City, NJ. TFH Publications. 1998.
  5. Rangel, E. 2002 "Python regius SHAW 1802". Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed 24 September 2009 www.eol.org/pages/1055460