Facts about ball python

24 ball python facts

Royal python

The ball python, commonly referred to as the royal python, is the smallest of African pythons. Docile, and non-venomous, it is a very popular pet for beginner reptile lovers. Their numbers in the wild dwindle, however, especially due to the illegal pet trade.

Ball python
It is native to central and western Africa.
It inhabits savannas and grasslands but can be found in open forests.
Its habitat requires a source of running water for the snake to cool down.
It is also referred to as the royal python.
It is believed that ball pythons were worn by ancient royals as jewelry.
It is the smallest of pythons found in Africa.
Ball pythons reach a maximum length of 182 centimeters, and an average weight of 2,2 kg.
It is black or dark brown, with light brown blotches, and a cream underbelly.
Their colors and patterns vary so much, it is said there are no two identical ball pythons in the wild.
Its name derives from curling into a ball while threatened or frightened.
The ball python is non-venomous.
It relies on 100 to 150 sharp teeth to disable its prey.
They feed on rodents and birds.
They are “used” as pest control in various rural communities.
They can survive without food for several months.
They regulate their metabolism during dry seasons.
Ball pythons fell prey to larger snakes, mammals, and owls.
They are mostly nocturnal.
They spend the majority of their days in holes and burrows.
They were once considered sacred.
People of the Igbo Tribe in Nigeria would throw funeral ceremonies for every individual accidentally killed.
The average lifespan of a ball python is between 20 to 30 years in the wild.
The record holder lives in the Saint Louis Zoo, and her age is estimated at 63 years old. She is also known for reproducing through parthenogenesis at the age of 62 when she laid seven eggs.
The average clutch contains six eggs.
Female coils around the eggs for the whole incubation period.
It is unusual behavior for snakes.
The young hatch after 2,5 to 3,5 months of incubation.
Hatchlings are more colorful than adult ball pythons, and measure between 35 and 43 centimeters long. They feed on insects, small mammals, and small birds.
Once hatched, youngsters are on their own.
During that time, they are most vulnerable, especially to other predators.
Ball pythons, along with corn snakes, are popular pets thanks to their docile nature.
They gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s.
Ball pythons shed their skin every five to seven weeks.
They are a victim of the illegal pet trade.
Over 3 million were exported from Africa. People pick up their eggs and breed them in captivity until they are ready to be sold.
Thanks to breeding in captivity, there are over 7,500 morphs of the ball python.
The unique morph is the Stormtrooper.
This black and white morph was named after the famous imperial soldier armor from the Star Wars franchise. It was created in the 1990s by crossing an axanthic morph with a pastel morph. Since the breeder has not been able to produce offspring with morph resembling the original, it is currently unavailable for sale.

The original morph, when on display, was offered for US$50,000.
Ball pythons are listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.
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