Royal Python

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Royal python (Photo credit: Claire Porteous)

Introduction

The royal or ball python (Python regius) is of the family Boidae.

Morphology

Royal pythons grow to over one metre in length and have a stumpy tail. They are irregularly darkish brown to black marked with large, irregular blotches (that have the appearance of aliens!). This colouring allows camouflage in dark soil and grass. Their life span in captivity may be up to 18 years.

Free-Living

  • Distribution and habitat – Royal pythons come from the grasslands of western Africa
  • Diet – Royal pythons primarily hunt and constrict grassland rodents.

Captivity

  • Cage – Royal pythons are basically terrestrial but will climb branches.
  • Temperature and humidity - Environmental requirements include a temperature range of 25-30°C and a humidity of 30-70%.
  • Diet – Royal pythons will eat rodents in captivity. They normally fast from November/December for three to five months until February/March. See snake feeding
  • Reproduction – Royal pythons are oviparous. The eggs have an incubation of about 75-80 days and the female coils around them
  • Veterinary considerations – They are not a particularly good pet because of problems with anorexia.


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