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Royal python

The royal python has become a popular pet snake in private collections, partly because it is the smallest of the African pythons. Like other reptiles, the royal python is an ectotherm and can choose the temperature depending on its level of activity.

Threat category according to IUCN
  • Least
  • Near
  • Vulnerable
  • Endangered
  • Critically
  • Utdöd
  • Class Reptiles (Reptilia)
  • Order Snakes & lizards (Squamata)
  • Family Pythons & Boas (Boidae)
  • Genus Python
  • Species Python regius

On average 120–150 cm.


The royal python is primarily a ground dweller and can be found in grasslands and dry forests in central Africa. It hunts at night and spends the days in burrows. It is also known as the “ball python” due to its defensive behaviour when threatened: it rolls itself into a ball with its head safely in the middle.

Food habits

Birds and small mammals. Pythons are not venomous but kill their prey by squeezing and suffocating it.


Approximately 20 years in the wild, but up to 30 years in captivity.

Threat category

The royal python is a popular pet and is caught both for the pet trade but also for its beautiful skin. However, the trade is considered so moderate that it poses no real threat to the species today.


The royal python lays 4–10 large eggs in an underground burrow and incubates them for over three months. The young are 35–40 cm when they hatch and have to fend for themselves immediately.

Did you know?

Despite the bad reputation snakes have around the world, they play an integral part in controlling populations of rats and other rodents that would otherwise be harmful to humans.

Pythons have hinged jaw components, making it possible to increase the gape size in order to swallow large prey. Their gape can reach 150 degrees and their trachea can protrude through the mouth, almost like a straw, enabling the python to breath while slowly swallowing prey.

They have small pits with sensitive heat organs on their snouts. These function like a thermal camera on nocturnal hunts.

Common peafowl > < Cape buffalo