Ball Pythons :
The ball python (Python regius), also known as the royal python, is a python species found in sub-Saharan Africa. Like all other pythons, it is a non-venomous constrictor. This is the smallest of the African pythons and is popular in the pet trade, largely due to its small size and typically docile temperament. No subspecies are currently recognized. They can live quite long, with the oldest on record living more than 47 years. To achieve something near this age in captivity they require proper care (clean tank, clean water, etc.). 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 jewelry.
Ball Python Availability :
Ball pythons are quite easy to acquire. They are commonly available from pet stores, reptile breeders, reptile expos, and through online vendors and breeders. The best choice will always be captive born and bred snakes because they are usually parasite free and most likely the healthiest. Any ball python should be well-started and eating prior to purchase.
Ball Python Size :
Ball python hatchlings are approximately 10 inches in length. Adult female ball pythons average 3 to 5 feet long, and adult male ball pythons average 2 to 3 feet in size. This is a species in which mature females are typically much larger than the males. A 5-foot ball python is considered big, although lengths of 6 feet or more have been reported.
Ball Python Life Span :
With proper care, ball pythons can live 30 years or more. The record age for a ball python is more than 40 years – so plan on a long life for your new pet snake.
Adults generally do not grow to more than 152–182 cm (5.0–6.0 ft). Females tend to be slightly bigger than males, maturing at an average of 122–137 cm (4.0–4.5 ft). Males usually average around 90–107 cm (3.0–3.5 ft). The build is stocky while the head is relatively small. The scales are smoothand 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 or inserting a probe into the cloaca to check the presence of an inverted hemipenis (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 or 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.
Geographic range :
They are found in west 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 Sudanand Uganda. No type locality was given in the original description.
Ball pythons prefer grasslands, savannas and sparsely wooded areas. Termite mounds and empty mammal burrows are important habitats for this species.
This terrestrial species is known for its defense strategy that involves coiling into a tight ball when threatened, with its head and neck tucked away in the middle. In this state, it can literally be rolled around. Favored retreats include mammal burrows and other underground hiding places, where they also aestivate. In captivity, they are considered good pets, with their relatively small size and placid nature making them easy to handle. Captive bred adults rarely bite unless severely threatened.
Scientific classification :
Binomial name :
Boa regia Shaw, 1802
[Enygrus] regi[us]. - Wagler, 1830
Cenchris regia - Gray, 1831
Python Bellii Gray, 1842
Python regius - A.M.C. Duméril& Bibron, 1844
Hortulia regia - Gray, 1849
Python regius - Boulenger, 1893
In the wild, their diet consists mostly of small mammals, such as African soft-furred rats, shrews and striped mice. Younger individuals have also been known to feed on birds. Pythons imported from the wild tend to be picky eaters and may not respond to food as well as captive-bred pythons, which usually do well on domestic rats and mice, either live, killed, or frozen-thawed. Live feeding a snake can be dangerous for the snake involved and should never be attempted by inexperienced keepers. The size of the prey item given to a python should be equivalent to or slightly larger than the width of the largest part of its body. This python is known for being a picky eater and may not eat for months, particularly during the winter breeding season. While this is not odd, care should be taken to watch that the snake does not experience significant weight loss. Although captive ball pythons may only need to be fed once a week, many owners will feed their python two times a week, or more than one serving at a time. This is done to increase the weight and length of the snake. Most ball pythons will not eat when they are preparing to shed; there are some that will, however. Parasites can also cause the snake to not eat. Other causes of not eating are stress caused by overhandling, temperatures that are too hot or too cold, humidity being too high or low, and not enough areas to hide within the vivarium.
Females are oviparous, with anywhere from 3 to 11 rather large, leathery eggs being laid (4-6 most common). These are incubated by the female under the ground (via a shivering motion), and hatch after 55 to 60 days. Sexual maturity is reached at 11–18 months for males, and 20–36 months for females. Age is only one factor in determining sexual maturity and ability to breed – weight is the second factor. Males will breed at 600 grams or more, but in captivity are often not bred until they are 800 grams (1.7lb), although in captivity some males have been known to begin breeding at 300-400 grams. Females will breed in the wild at weights as low as 800 grams, though 1200 grams or more is most common; in captivity, breeders generally wait until they are no less than 1500 g (3.3 lb). Parental care of the eggs ends once they hatch, and the female leaves the offspring to fend for themselves.
These snakes are bred in captivity and are popular as pets, because of their small size (compared to other pythons) and their docile temperament. Wild-caught specimens have greater difficulty adapting to a captive environment, which can result in refusal to feed, and they generally carry internal or external parasites which must be eliminated by administering antiparasitic drugs. Specimens have survived for over 40 years in captivity, with the oldest recorded ball python being kept in captivity 47 years and 6 months until its death in 1992 at the Philadelphia Zoo. To live this long, captive ball pythons require proper care. This care includes proper feeding, a clean tank, handling, and overall quality of life. In captivity, most adult ball pythons should be kept in a minimum of a 40 US gallons (150 L), long glass tank, as these pythons are ground dwellers and are highly secretive and largely sedentary. Some large females may require cages up to the 50 US gallons (190 L) long tank. Also, at least two hiding places should be provided at different ends of the tank, with one having a thermostat-controlled heating pad under it to allow the animal to regulate its temperature. Since most snakes are adept at escaping captivity, the tank should have a locking lid. Juveniles in particular may be stressed by overly large cages that do not have sufficient small hiding spaces. For this reason, baby ball pythons do well in a 10 US gallons (38 L) or 15 US gallons (57 L) cage at first. Controlled temperatures of 80 °F (27 °C) with a 90 °F (32 °C) basking area on one end of the cage are necessary for proper health. Humidity should be maintained at 50% to 60% with dry substrate.
There are hundreds of different color patterns that can be made while in captivity. Some of the most common Morphs found are Spider, Pastel, Albino, Mojave and Lesser. The single-gene ball python traits can be bred together to produce more complicated double gene traits. Examples include using a Pastel and a Black Pastel, creating a Black Pewter, which when bred will show both genes in its offspring. Breeders are continuously creating new designer morphs, and over 3,800 different morphs currently exist.
Beliefs and folklore :
This species is particularly revered in the traditional religion of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. It is considered symbolic of the earth, being an animal that travels so close to the ground. Even among many Christian Igbos, these pythons are treated with great care whenever they happen to wander into a village or onto someone's property; they are allowed to roam freely or are very gently picked up and placed out in a forest or field away from any homes. If one is accidentally killed, many communities in Igboland will still build a coffin for the snake's remains and give it a short funeral.
For the external links , refrences click here to read the full wikipedia article
Ball Python Insanity : SnakeBytesTV
Ball Pythons Care :
- Ball Python Care Sheet:
courtesy to : www.reptilesmagazine.com/Care-Sheets/Snakes/Ball-Python/
BY KEVIN MCCURLEY
Granite Ball Python.
Normal ball python
Ball Python (Python regius):
The ball python is quite simply the most popular pet python in the world. Ball pythons are generally a bit shy, but they make for ideal captives, because they are of a small size, are generally friendly, are easy to care for, and come in a remarkable array of colors and patterns.
Ball pythons are native to central and western Africa and thrive in these warm, tropical areas. They are known as the royal python in many parts of the world and are revered in some areas of Africa.
Ball pythons make for a quality pet for the first-time keeper and experienced herpetoculturists alike. Each year, breeders create incredible, innovative, never-before-seen pattern and color variations that continually generate new fans of the ball python.
Spider Killer Bee Axanthic Ball Python.
Ball Python Caging
Ball python enclosures can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to care for. Remember that the more you put in the cage, the more you have to clean and disinfect on a regular basis. That said, there are different enclosures that work well for ball pythons, including, but not limited to, plastic sweaterboxes (i.e. Rubbermaid), melamine racks and any of the commercially available, plastic-type reptile cages. Glass aquariums and tanks are adequate for ball pythons, but the screen tops on such enclosures can make it very difficult to maintain proper humidity levels.
Juvenile ball pythons seem to do well in small enclosures that make them feel secure. A small snake in a big cage can become overwhelmed and stressed. Adult ball pythons do not require exceptionally large or elaborate enclosures either. A 36-inch by 18-inch by 12-inch enclosure will more than comfortably house an adult ball python.
Spot-clean your ball python's enclosure as necessary. Remove feces and urates as soon as possible. Do a complete tear-down every 30 days by removing all substrate and cage accessories and completely disinfecting with a 5 percent bleach solution. Rinse the enclosure thoroughly with water, and allow it to dry completely before replacing cage accessories and your snake.
The one cage accessory that is required for a happy ball python is a good hide box. . . maybe even a couple of them. Ball pythons are secretive snakes that appreciate and utilize hide spots. Provide one on each end of your python's enclosure so that it doesn't have to choose between temperature and security. Clay flowerpots, plastic flowerpot trays and commercially available hide boxes all work well.
Inferno Super Pastel Ball Python.
Ball Python Lighting and Temperature
Remember that enclosures must allow for a proper thermal gradient that the ball python can utilize, with a hotspot on one end of the enclosure and a cool spot on the other. Provide your ball python with a basking spot temperature of 88 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit and an ambient temperature of 78 to 80 degrees. The ambient temperature should not fall below 75 degrees. It is vitally important to know the temperatures at which you are keeping your snake(s). Do not guess! A great way to monitor temperatures is to use a digital indoor/outdoor thermometer with a probe. Stick the thermometer to the inside of the cage on the cool end and place the probe on the warm end, and you'll have both sides covered at once.
There are several ways to go about heating a ball python enclosure. Undercage heating pads and tapes, ceramic heat emitters, basking bulbs (both regular daytime and red night bulbs) are just a few. With heat emitters and basking bulbs, it is crucial to keep an eye on the humidity within the enclosure, especially if combined with a screen top, as both will dry the air quickly. Use thermostats, rheostats and/or timers to control your heat source. Do not use hot rocks with snakes as they can heat unevenly over too small of a surface area and can cause serious burns.
Supplemental lighting is not necessary for ball pythons, but if used should run on a 12/12 cycle, meaning 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Continuous bright, overhead lighting is stressful to snakes, especially a nocturnal species such as the ball python. Ball pythons seem to prefer humidity levels of 50 to 60 percent. Maintaining proper humidity will allow your ball python to shed properly.
Desert Ghost Lemon Pastel Ball Python.
Ball Python Substrate
Newspapers and paper towels are the cheapest and easiest substrates for ball pythons with regards to cleaning and disinfecting – out with the old, in with the new. Cypress mulch and orchid bark are great substrates for controlling humidity, but remember that too much humidity can be as detrimental (if not more) as too little. Never use any substrate containing cedar, as it contains oils that can be deadly to reptiles! Avoid sand, shavings and peat bedding.
What Food to Feed a Ball Python
Feed your ball python an appropriately sized rodent weekly. "Appropriately sized" means prey items that are no bigger in circumference than the ball python at its largest circumference. Ball pythons can eat rats from the time they are young – starting off with rat pups or "crawlers" at first and moving up in size as they grow. Do not handle your ball python for at least a day after feeding, as this can lead to regurgitation. Ball pythons can be fed frozen/thawed or pre-killed rodents. Never leave a live rodent unattended with any snake, as they can injure the snake.
Ball pythons are well-known for not eating at certain times throughout the year, particularly in the winter months. Be prepared for the possibility of your ball python going off feed, and keep an observant eye on the snake's overall condition and body weight. This is typically nothing to worry about with healthy, well-established pythons, although it can be extremely frustrating to the snakekeeper. If your ball python is healthy, continue your husbandry routine as usual, but keep the amount of handling to a minimum. Offer your ball python food every 10 to 14 days until it is interested in eating again, as the snake will eventually resume feeding normally.
Feed adult ball pythons every 1 to 2 weeks and younger ball pythons weekly as they need this energy to grow. Do not be alarmed if a well-started ball python goes off feed during the cooler, drier times of the year, as this is common in captivity. Snakes generally do not eat while they are in the shed cycle.
Coral Glow Woma Granite Ball Python.
Ball Python Water:
Always have fresh, clean water available for your ball python. Check the water daily. The size of the water dish is up to you. If it is large enough for the ball python to crawl in to and soak, sooner or later your snake will make the most of the opportunity – ball pythons seem to enjoy a nice soak from time to time. Ensure that the water bowl is not too deep for juvenile animals – 1 inch or so will suffice. Snakes of many species will defecate in their water bowls from time to time, so be prepared to clean and disinfect the water bowl. The water bowl should be cleaned and disinfected on a weekly basis. Having a spare water bowl for such occasions can be handy, so that one may be used while the other is being cleaned.
Ball Python Handling and Temperament
Ball pythons are generally shy and will spend much of their time hiding. Your ball python may initially see you as a threat and it must learn who you are. The goal is to establish trust between you and your snake.
Always support your ball python’s body and avoid fast movements. Once a ball python realizes that you will not hurt it they often seem to enjoy being handled. Some ball pythons may try to hide when handled and occasionally there are ones that may even bite due to excessive fear. These ball pythons may require a bit more time to settle in and establish trust. A ball python’s bite is a superficial wound. If a snake looks like it is going to strike, it is best to not handle it. Relax when holding your animal – sit down and give the animal a chance to settle.
Some snakes may not eat for several hours or longer after being handled, so avoid handling if you plan to feed. After a snake has eaten it may be a good idea to limit the handling because it may be uncomfortable for the animal. Avoid putting your snake’s cage in a heavy traffic area, excessive movement, and other pets should be avoided.
Kevin McCurley is the source for Ball Python care and information. Visit his website atNewEnglandReptile.com.
Further Reading :
by Colette Sutherland (Author)
by Kevin McCurley (Author)
- Complete Ball Python, A Comprehensive Guide to Care, Breeding, and Genetic Mutations Hardcover – June 1, 2005
by Kevin McCurley (Author)
- Ball Python Care: The Complete Guide to Caring for and Keeping Ball Pythons as Pets (Best Pet Care Practices) Paperback – February 25, 2016
by Pet Care Professionals (Author)
by Kevin McCurley (Author)
- Python Regius - Atlas of Color Morphs, Keeping and Breeding (Ball Pythons). Hardcover– December 1, 2013
by Stefan Broghammer (Author)
- Designer-Morphs, Volume One: Ball Python and Boa Constrictor, A Guide to Mutations and Variations Hardcover – June 1, 2010
by John Berry (Author)
by Colette Sutherland (Author)
Many books you can find in the Internet based libraries and bookshops like Amazon.com ( Click Here ) ..
But first look for the best prices at Book Finder.com