Monty – Ball Python
Received: November 20, 2000
Acquired from a private individual, Monty is a very easy going snake. He is comfortable around people and easy to handle, unlike many others of his species. Ball Pythons coil up into a tight ball when they are frightened, tense or uneasy–a trait which gave this species its name. Monty rarely, if ever, does this. Monty is a good eater, consuming 4-6 mice per week. Like all tropical snakes, Monty needs his environment kept between 80-90 degrees and needs to be misted regularly to maintain the humidity in his enclosure.
Species: Ball Python
Latin Name: Python regius
Description: non-venomous python species; smallest of the African pythons; color pattern typically black with light brown-green side and dorsal blotches; belly is white or cream that may or may not have scattered black markings; stocky build; head relatively small; scales are smooth;
Sex: both sexes have anal spurs on either side of the vent; males have larger spurs; sexual maturity reached at 12-18 months for male, 24-36 months for female; second factor for sexual maturity is weight (32 oz. for males) (53 oz. for females)
Age: 20-40 years; oldest captive specimen was 48 years; wild caught specimens have great difficulty adapting to captivity and often refuse to feed and are subject to parasitic infections
Length: generally 3′-4′; rarely 5′-6′ individuals
Habitat: grasslands, savannahs and sparsely wooded areas; prefers mammal burrows and other underground hiding places where it aestivates during dry seasons
Behavior: curls into a ball when stressed or frightened, with head and neck tucked into the middle so tightly that it can be literally rolled around; reproduction is oviparous with anywhere from 3-11 large eggs being laid (more commonly 4-6); incubated by the female underground; hatch after 90 days; young grow about a foot a year for the first three years
Diet: small mammals and rodents; occasionally birds
- The name Royal Python is based in part on the story that Cleopatra supposedly wore the snake around her wrist
- Revered by the Igbo people of southern Nigeria. If a Ball Python is accidentally killed they will guild a coffin for the snake’s remains and give it a short funeral.