Nov 30 2015

November 2015′s Animal Of The Month – Ball Pythons

November is just about over and so is our time with the ball python as our Animal Of The Month. We hope you enjoyed our tweets @ExoticPetVets about these gentle snakes.  If you happened to miss any during the month, here is a summary. Did you know?:

  • Ball pythons (Python regius) are also known as royal ball pythons.
  • The “regius” part of the ball python’s scientific name means “royal” in Latin.
  • It has been suggested some African leaders would wear ball pythons as jewellery; hence the name royal ball python.
  • They’re known as ball pythons because they curl up into a tight ball when they feel threatened.
  • Ball pythons are found in the wild in sub-Saharan western and central Africa.
  • The ball python is one of three python species found in Africa and is the smallest of the three.
  • In the wild, ball pythons live in savannahs and grasslands.
  • The ball python’s black and tan patterned colouring provides an effective camouflage out in the wild.
  • Ball pythons have a stripe on each side of their eyes, which helps hide the outline of their heads from predators.
  • Ball pythons are nocturnal and spend much of their time in burrows underground.
  • Small mammals make up the ball python’s diet in the wild.
  • Wild ball pythons eat shrews, striped mice and African soft-furred rats – all mammals with dark or dark patterned fur.
  • Ball pythons in captivity often don’t recognize all white mice or rats as prey and should be offered darker small mammals.
  • Ball pythons are notoriously picky eaters and prone to anorexia, especially during their breeding season in the winter.
  • Many ball pythons will avoid eating when they’re getting ready to shed their skin, if they’re stressed or have parasites.
  • Ball pythons are among the most popular pet snakes in part because of their docile nature.
  • Ball pythons are known for being quite shy and those in captivity need at least one hiding place in their enclosures.
  • Adult female ball pythons grow to be much bigger than their male counterparts.
  • Female ball pythons typically grow to be an average of 3 – 5 feet (approx. 1 – 1.5 metres) as adults.
  • Male ball pythons reach an average of 2 – 3 feet (approx. .5 – 1 metres) in adulthood.
  • Ball pythons are considered to be attractive snakes as they have beautiful patterned skin and small scales.
  • Selective breeding by the reptile industry has created many different colour and pattern varieties known as morphs.
  • Because of their skin patterns and small scales, ball pythons are killed and their skin is used to make fashion items.

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