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Royal Python

Name Python Regius or Ball Python
Type Ground dwelling Snake, loves to hide
Where am I from? Sub-Saharan Africa
Handle-ability Excellent, Docile and most popular python
Length/size Ave 5ft long, robust snake
Suitable for Beginners
Life span Can live for up to 30 years

Housing

Royal pythons are best kept singly. They often feel secure in a smaller space, and therefore a three foot vivarium is usually more than big enough, although more space can be provided if you wish to. Newspaper or Aspen are the best substrates for royal pythons. Aspen looks good, and is easily spot cleaned, but newspaper is hygienic and cost effective. Royal pythons need somewhere to hide at both the warm and cool end of the enclosure. This needs to be big enough for the snake to get in completely, but small enough to make it feel secure. In a larger vivarium, then more hides will help the snake to feel secure. Royals are ground dwelling, so providing climbing height is not necessary.

Temperature

Royal Pythons require a basking spot with a reasonably high temperature. The cool end of the vivarium should be at least 22C, with the warm end reaching 29-32C. The warmer end is best provided by a heat mat covering no more than a third to half of the enclosures floor space. Always make sure that heat mats are protected by a suitable thermostat to avoid burns to your snake. It is best to always check temperatures accurately with a digital thermometer.

Lighting

Royal pythons do not require any special lighting, or UVb light. Unless in a particularly dark room, most people keep their royals without lighting, but to allow better viewing lights can be used, and will be of no detriment to the snake, as long as they do not increase the ambient temperature too much. Any lights used should be guarded and on a thermostat.

Humidity

Royal pythons usually do find at normal room humidity of around 50%. Always provide a bowl of fresh, clean water big enough for your python to soak in if required. An occasional spray of water before shedding may be beneficial, but is not essential.

Feeding

Royal pythons are carnivorous, and in captivity, do well on a diet of appropriately sized rats. One rat approximately 1.5 times the width of the widest part of the snake is enough every 10-14 days. Younger snakes should be fed weekly. There is no need to supplement the rodents, but this can be done occasionally by dipping the rump of the rodent in a dish of calcium/vitamins if required.

Buying Tips

Ask to handle the snake to gauge it's health and temperament. Baby royals can occasionally be nippy, but they grow out of this with regular handling. Look for clear skin which is taught and firm, and smooth scales, clear bright eyes, and no faecal staining around the vent. A healthy royal should move easily, have no clicking, wheeze or hiss when it breathes, and should not have a protruding spine.

Varieties

There are literally hundreds of morphs and varieties of Royal pythons, some of which sell for tens of thousands! Those most commonly seen include Fire, Pastel, Pied, Spider, Mojave and Albino.