Royal Pythons are calm and gentle, making them an ideal beginners snake as long as their environmental requirements are met. They are available in a huge variety of colour morphs and are hugely popular exotic pets.
|Lifespan||12 Years +|
Royal Pythons are also known as Ball Pythons due to them rolling into a ball in defence. This shy species of python grows to an average length of 4 foot (1.2 m), with the females being the larger of the two. Some specimens have been known to reach more than 5 feet (1.5m) in length.
Royal Pythons have a distinctive head, slender neck and a wide body. The wild type body colour is black with yellow, gold or brown markings. The patterns may be banded, broken or reduced in some specimens and some may have a dorsal stripe. Over their many years being captive bred, there are thousands of morphs now available, in a vast range of colours and patterns.
Royal Pythons are found within Central and Western Africa. They inhabit forests and are equally comfortable on the ground or in trees. These pythons are active during dawn and dusk and hide away during the day.
Royal Pythons have to be one of the easiest species of snake to own, as long as their environmental requirements are met.
It is a common myth that they prefer a smaller enclosure, often with suggestions that If the enclosure is too large, this could cause stress to the python- this is NOT TRUE. Breeders commonly keep this species in racks, but research shows that the lack of space and mental stimulation caused by this environment can have long term implications to the snake. Young pythons can be housed in slightly smaller enclosures 24x15” (LxW), but sub and fully-grown adults thrive in a 48x18x18” (minimum) vivarium.
You need to provide your Royal Python with an ambient air temperature of 27-29C (80-85F) throughout the enclosure with a basking spot of 32.5C (90F) during the day. At night, allow the ambient air temperature to drop down to no lower than 23-24C (73-75F), with a basking area of 27C (80F). We advise the use of low level UVB lighting for your Royal Python, research shows that UVB exposure contributes to healthy animals, both mentally and physically. Many snakes will cryptically bask by leaving a part of their body exposed to the sunlight when hiding. The lighting is recommended to be on for 12 hours during the day and switched off at night to allow for a natural night time light and temperature drop.
You can maintain the temperatures by using either a basking lamp with a guard or a heat mat for hatchling enclosures, a thermostat should control all heat sources to avoid risk of overheating.
For Royal Pythons you can use aspen, bark chips or soil/coir based substrates. Deep enough to burrow into should they choose to. They require moderate humidity levels, and if kept too dry, this can cause problems shedding their skin. A humidity box filled with damp moss can also be useful to aid the shedding cycle.
Royal Pythons prefer a heavily ‘cluttered’ enclosure, using multiple hides, cork bark, branches, plants all at different levels provides enrichment and helps the animal feel safe. Ideally, if the animal can move from one side of the vivarium to the other without being seen, it has enough cover. By providing multiple safe places to hide, the animal is more likely to spend time out in the open; rather than spending all of its time in the hide if there are only a couple of safe options.
Feed your Royal Python on defrosted mice and rats. The size of food given depends on the size of the snake, this shouldn’t be any larger than the widest part of the animals body. Young pythons should be fed every 7-10 days, older pythons every 10-14 days and adults should be fed every 3 weeks with breeding females being fed every 2 weeks.
Fresh water should be provided daily in a dish/bowl so your snake may drink or bathe. This is very important when your python is due to shed its skin. Once you notice the pythons eyes go clear after being cloudy, you can increase humidity by spraying the enclosure lightly. The animal should then shed within 24hrs.