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Back to Education IndexRoyal Pythons (Python Regius) are a nonvenomous python species found in Africa. This is the smallest of the African pythons and is popular in the pet trade, largely due to its typically docile temperament. No subspecies are currently recognised. It is also known as the ball python in America. The name "ball python" refers to the animal's tendency to curl into a ball when stressed or frightened. The name "Royal Python" (from the Latin regius) comes from the fact that rulers in Africa would wear the python as jewellery..
They are found in Africa from Senegal, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, and Nigeria through Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic to Sudan and Uganda. Ball pythons prefer grasslands, savannas and sparsely wooded areas. Termite mounds and empty mammal burrows are important habitats for this species.
Adults generally do not grow to more than 152 to 182 cm (5.0 to 6.0 ft). Females tend to be slightly bigger than males, maturing at an average of 122 to 137 cm (4.0 to 4.5 ft). Males usually average around 90 to 107 cm (3.0 to 3.5 ft). The build is stocky while the head is relatively small. The scales are smooth and both sexes have anal spurs on either side of the vent. Although males tend to have larger spurs, this is not definitive, and sex is best determined via manual eversion of the male hemipenes(male sex organs) or inserting a probe into the cloaca to find the inverted hemipenes (if male). When probing to determine sex, males typically measure eight to ten subcaudal scales, and females typically measure two to four subcaudal scales.
The color pattern is typically black/dark brown with light brown or gold sides and dorsal blotches. The belly is a white or cream that may include scattered black markings. However, those in the pet industries have, through selective breeding, developed many morphs (genetic mutations) with altered colors and patterns.
When it comes to the ongoing attraction of keeping Royal Pythons, there are many different colours or Morphs as they are known. Currently there are more than 3000 different Morphs ranging from a few Wild Types to such exotic sounding names as Dreamsicle, Blue Eyed Leucistic, Bumblebee, Pinstripe and many, many, many more.
This page is dedicated to the Very Popular Royal Python (Python Regius).
Click HERE for a Royal Python care sheet.