Ball python

Ball python Python regius

ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyBoidae
Size1.4m max.
Weight2–4kg
Incubation50–70 days
Eggs6–8
Life-span30 years and up
Diet
carnivorous (rodents)

Habitat
wooded savannah

Range
Africa (from Uganda to West Africa)


Much smaller and more docile than their cousins the Indian and reticulated pythons, ball pythons tend to roll themselves up when approached, hence their name. They are good climbers but can often be seen on the ground.
 
Like the other Boidae, they have the vestiges of back paws on either side of their cloaca. These two ‘spurs’ are longer in males, allowing them to stimulate females and thus initiate copulation.
 
Snakes have only average eyesight but are very sensitive to movement and smells. The Jacobson’s organ, a pair of cavities in their palates into which they insert the ends of their bifid tongues, allows them to analyse scent particles in the air. This information allows the snakes not only to work out where they are but also to identify their prey.
 
In Africa ball pythons are hunted for their meat and skin, but the biggest threat to the species remains the international pet trade, which involves the capture and export of several thousand snakes each year. Ball pythons are not endangered in the short term but the trade in them needs to be closely monitored and reduced.




Status in the wild (Source: IUCN)

  • Not evaluated
    NE
  • Data deficient
    DD
  • Least concern
    LC
  • Near threatened
    NT
  • Vulnerable
    VU
  • Endangered
    EN
  •  Critically endangered
    CR
  • Extinct in the wild
    EW
  • Extinct
    EX

In the zoo