Ball Python Facts | The Smallest Python

Ball python (Python regius) is an absolutely non-venomous species. It is native to equatorial western Africa. Ball python is by far the smallest python species and is quite good at making pet. Royal python and West African python are the other names of ball python.  The closest relative of ball python is Angolan python which is also found in Africa.

Ball Python Facts

Physical Characteristics

  • Ball python is a relatively small species with heavy body and a slender neck. They have a large head.
  • They are 3.5–5 ft (1.1–1.5 m) long with the maximum length of a specimen measures up to 6.5 ft (2 m).
  • Ball pythons appear to have warm tan blotches over a black ground color.
  • The head is distinguished from its neck.

Distribution

Ball pythons inhabit sub-Saharan central Africa, ranging from Senegal to Liberia to as far east as Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad to Sudan as well as Uganda.

Habitats

  • They make homes in a wide range of habitats such as savannas, open woodlands, agricultural areas, semi-arid areas, and grasslands. Ball pythons often make habitats in rodent burrows.
  • At times they do live in termite mounds.

Behavior

  • True to its name ball python is typically known for its unique defensive behavior such as the fact that they coil themselves into a ball in order to protect the head in the center.
  • They are able to ascend and descend the diagonal branches.
  • Ball python is nocturnal and it suffocates before swallowing rodents.
  • The longest living ball python ever lived at 48 years.
  • In captivity, they can grow up to one foot each year during the first three years.
Photo Courtesy: imgkid.com
Photo Courtesy: imgkid.com

Feeding Ecology and Diet

  • Ball pythons primarily prey rodents.
  • Much of their diet is composed of small mammals such as shrews, striped mice, and African soft-furred rats. The young pythons also feed on few birds.

Reproductive Biology

  • The female ball python claims her maturity in the third year whereas males can start breeding at less than a year of age.
  • Males are smaller than females.
  • The length of the leathery-eggs is up to 3.5 in (8.9 cm).
  • There are 16 eggs in a single clutch.
  • The young are 16 in (41 cm) long when they are born.
  • There seems to be no difference between adults and young. Both are similar in color and pattern.
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