STATUS IN THE WILD: Least Concern
RANGE: West and Central Africa
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS
The ball, or royal, python is a small snake averaging four feet long with a large body. They have large brown markings with light brown to yellow accents and solid white undersides. Females grow larger than males and have longer jaws. The average lifespan in the wild is ten to fifteen years.
LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION
Ball pythons spend most of their days on the ground or buried under it sleeping or hunting. They sleep during the day and hunt burrowing rodents throughout the night. When threatened, Ball pythons roll into a tight “ball,” which is where the name ball python came from.
Ball pythons breed annually from September to November. After this, a clutch of six to eleven eggs is laid and protected by the mother until they hatch forty to fifty-five days later. Baby ball pythons hatch completely able to care for themselves.
Ball pythons are found in Sudanese sub province, the Nuba mountain region, Senegal, Sierra Leon and the Ivory Coast.
Ball pythons inhabit savannahs and open forest regions. They are usually found hiding in burrows and slithering along the ground. Though they are able to climb, Ball pythons are rarely found in trees.
These pythons eat small rodents, such as African giant rats, black rats, rufous-nose rats, shaggy rats, grass mice, gerbils, and jerboas.