Common names: Royal Python or Ball Python
Size: 90-120cm is average, however exceptionally large specimens can exceed 180cm.
Age: 20-30 years is average, however, this species have been known to live 40 or more years.
Difficulty: Low, they make great pets due to small size and relatively easy husbandry.
Temperature: 80-85°F (26-30°C).
Humidity: Low. A damp moss hide should be included to aid the Royal in shedding. Water needs to be changed everyday.
Housing: 90x45x45 (3ft) is perfectly adequate for an adult Royal, this species spends much of its time in burrows so will prefer a smaller enclosure to feel more secure. Small plastic enclosures such as breeder boxes and small faunariums are suitable for hatchling and juvenile royals.
Heating: Dependent on what enclosures you are heating. Plastic enclosures can be heated using heat mats, whereas wooden vivariums or similar housing should be space heated using bulbs, ceramic heaters or heat plates.
The three most important things to remember when heating any enclosure are:
Substrate: Orchid bark is a widely used medium for keeping Royal Pythons on. However Aspen and wood chip can also be used. Unprinted newspaper is perfect as a hygienic flooring, although it does need to be changed quite regularly.
Diet: Defrosted mice and rats. Some Royals will prefer mice to rats, but with a bit of persuasion and perseverance it normally isn't a problem to move them over.
Natural Distribution: Western and Central Africa.
Things to note: A Royal Python will curl into a ball when it feels threatened, hence the common name 'Ball Python'. They can often be quite head shy, meaning the Python will sharply withdraw its head away from things that are too near. This can often be confused with aggressive or possible striking behavior from the snake.