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Ball Python (Python regius) - Wiki
Subject: Ball Python (Python regius) - Wiki
Python Regius Pastel.jpg
Resolution: 1000x750 File Size: 858316 Bytes Date: 2005:09:05 13:02:14 Camera: FinePix S7000 (FUJIFILM) F number: f/2.8 Exposure: 10/600 sec Focal Length: 780/100 Upload Date: 2006:11:18 22:44:34

Ball Python (Python regius) - Wiki

Ball python
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[Photo] Pastel ball python{python regius}. Taken by Cody Campbell on October 6th 2005.

The Royal Python (Python regius), also known as the Ball Python, is a ground dwelling, nonvenomous snake native to the savannahs and rain forests in western Africa, predominatly the countries of Ghana, Togo, and Benin. The name Ball derives from its tendency, that when stressed, to curl into a tight "ball" with their heads hidden inside, often for long periods of time. The name Royal (from the regius in the latin name) comes, in part, from Cleopatra who supposedly wore them around her wrists.

They are typically brown and black in color, with a tan-yellow underbelly, and there are over 50 "morphs" in color that breeders have obtained (see link below). Adults can range from 3 to over 6 feet in length, with the average female reaching 3 to 5 feet and the average male reaching 2 to 3 feet. A mature female will commonly grow distinctly larger than the male. Typically, Royal Pythons have a gentle disposition which, in addition to their size, makes them a common household pet.

Royal Pythons reach sexual maturity from 18 months to 4 years, and live more than 20-40 years, with the oldest recorded Royal Python reached 48 years of age in captivity.

Gender determination
Pythons and Boas, including Royal Pythons, have anal spurs, appearing on each side of the vent. These spurs are important for the mating process, aiding the snakes in clasping onto their mate. The spurs on males are generally longer than those on females. However, spur size can be deceiving as there are many documented cases of females having longer spurs.

The two primary ways to properly determine the gender of a Ball Python are probing and popping. When probing, a lubricated, metal rod is inserted into the snakes cloaca towards the tail. If the snake is male, the rod will pass into the inverted hemipenes which will allow the probe to pass deeper than a female of similar size.

A safer method for sexing a ball python is the "popping" method. Using this method, the snake is held inverted with one hand, with gentle finger pressure just in front of the cloaca. The thumb from the opposite hand, is then placed behind the cloaca and rolled towards the head. In males, this will result in the hemipenes to evert.

Both methods of sexing can result in damage to the snake, and should only be attempted by someone experienced in probing and popping.

Royal Pythons as pets
It is recommended that a snake that is going to be a pet be born in captivity. Wild snakes do not make good pets as they stress easier, may refuse food, and are more likely to have diseases.

It is important to start handling them at an early age, so when they get older, they will actually enjoy it. It is recommended that they are handled regularly to maintain their trust toward humans.

Royal pythons are nocturnal, so they are usually sleeping or resting during the daytime. They will be the most active during the evening and early morning hours, which is the time they would normally hunt in the wild.

In the wild Royal Pythons eat amphibians, lizards, birds and small mammals. In captivity most are fed mice or rats. Ball Pythons have a reputation for being picky eaters, but this can often be offset by offering different food items. Failure to feed can also be an indication of improper husbundry, such as incorrect temperatures or lack of a hiding spot.

Like all ectotherms, they must be housed with an external heat source, such as an under tank heater and/or with heat lamps. Ambient temperatures in the snake's tank should be 78 °F to 80 °F, with a basking spot of 88 °F to 92 °F. You should never allow the ambient temperatures to fall below 65 °F. Humdity in the cage should be between 50-60%.

Glass aquaria and tanks are acceptable means for housing a Ball Python, although screen tops often make it difficult to control temperature and humidity. Royal Pythons can also live quite happily in a sweater box and/or other under-bed storage device properly changed to its needs. A 15 quart tub will serve hatchling ball pythons well, but juveniles and adults can be housed in 30-40 quart tubs. Tubs retain heat and humidity much better than glass tanks, they are lighter, easier to clean and cheaper than tanks. An enclosure measuring 3 feet wide and 1 foot tall will comfortably house an adult. Having too much space to climb around in will also stress out your snake, so make sure the habitat is shallow.

Give your Royal python a decent water source, one in which they can drink, and soak themselves in. A heavy dog bowl is an excellent choice for adults. Royal pythons like to hide during the day, so give them a nice size hallowed out log, or make a decent shelter for which they can hide in and rest. Royal pythons tend to be insecure and stressed when they can't find a place to hide.

Royal pythons should be housed individually. There will be a hierarchy system amongst the group if housed together, often resulting in refusing food and transmission of disease. There has been some incidences of cannibalism between relatively similar sized Ball Pythons.

Royal Python Morphs
Royal pythons come in many morphs, which are genetic mutations that alter the colors and patterns of the scales. This is a small list of the available morphs either discovered in the wild, or created by breeders:

-Albino (Amelanistic) -Hypomelanistic -Caramel Albino -Reduced Pattern (Banded/Tiger) -Axanthic -Woma -Granite -Piebald -Spider -Russo -Pastel Jungle -Yellow Belly -Genetic Stripe -Lesser Platinum -Clown -Mojave -Phantom -Congo Jungle -Lavender Albino -Pinstripe -Butter -Cinnamon Pastel -Spotnose -Burgundy Hypomelanistic -Black Head -Fire -Banana -Vanilla (Thunder) -Lori Bal -Calico -Enchi Paste -Sable -Chocolate -Desert Ghost -Platinum -Shatter Pattern -Mocha
The text in this page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article shown in above URL. It is used under the GNU Free Documentation License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the GFDL.

Scientific Name: Python regius (Shaw, 1802)
Common Names:
English – Ball Python, Royal Python
French – Python Royal
Boa regia Shaw, 1802
Python belii Gray, 1842

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