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Troubleshooting Guide to BALL PYTHONS
Photos and Text by Ken Felsman
Natural History | General Information | Housing Your Snake | Care and Husbandry | Feeding Strategies
Breeding | Common Questions | Glossary | Ball Python Breeders | Classified Ads | Forum

Natural History

Ball Pythons, Python regius (also know as Royal Python) are a relatively small and docile specie of snake, which are native to Western and West-Central Africa. If you have purchased a Ball Python from a pet store, chances are it was born in either Togo, Benin, or Ghana. They are called 'Ball Pythons' because, when frightened, they coil around their head and into a ball.

Ball pythons are in the same scientific family as other Boas and Pythons, as such they are constrictors. The term constrictor refers to their method of subduing food by coiling around the intended item, a small mammal, and suffocating it. Ball Pythons prefer to live in areas of mixed grassland and trees (savanna), and are active at night (nocturnal). They hunt at night with the help of their labial heat pits×, and their Jacobson's Organ×. During the day, they spend their time hiding in underground rodent burrows or termite mounds.

The average hatchling is about 16-18 inches long, and adults can pretty easily reach 36-48 inches. In captivity they can live up to about 50 years, but 20-30 years is probably more likely. Unfortunately due to the pressures of habitat fragmentation and destruction, as well as commercial collecting for the pet trade, skin trade, and the killing for food, Ball Pythons in the wild do not live as long. "It (Python regius) is considered a threatened species and permits are required for its legal export, living or dead." (J. Mehrtens, ca.1987)

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