King python

The king pythons (Python regius) belong to the snakes order (Serpentes) and python species (Pythonidae) family. Common terrarium animals worldwide.

Habitat: species ranging over wide areas of Africa and central-western regions of the king pythons. Its distribution area is from Gambia to Sudan. The place where the first species was found is unknown. A variety of habitat types occurrs within a large range in species ranging from tropical rain forests to dry, grassy savannahs through to smaller agricultural areas. They don’t like closed forests.

Appearance: Small size spider, among African pythons this is the smallest. Body length is 90-182 cm. The female is the larger, the average length is 122-137 cm, and the male is 90-107 cm. Small-headed, stout-bodied snake. Its scales are smooth. The sexes are similar, they can be only determined by searching the hemipenis with a probe or turning outside the hemipenis. Its pattern and colour is varied. The wild form is usually black or dark brown, light brown or light and design in both black and white patterned abdominal side. The other patterns and colours are the result of selective breeding.

Lifestyle: During the dry season it hides in underground cavities dug by mammals and at night it hunts small vertebrates, especially rodents. The juveniles will also hunt birds. Their eyesight is poor, it relies mostly on its heat sensor in its mouth. Night animals, but when the evening air cools below 21 ° C degrees, it temporarily abandony the hunt. Such cold usually happens in December and January at its habitat. It lays eggs every two or three years, 3-11 parchment shell eggs are put in underground cavities. The female wraps around the eggs and hatches them until they become small pythons. In this period it does not eat only protects and warms the eggs with its muscles. The breeding does not wear out the healthy females but if they are already in a weakend state then their condition will deteriorate significantly. A small python will hatch in 55-60 days. The eggs hatched pythons are able live independently. The hatched small ones often remain in the egg and will just stick out their head.

The young pythons mature at 3-5 years and can live up to 20 years. The oldest king python died at the age of 48. The weight can affect fertility: the males do not breed under 600 grams, the females under 1200 grams, although there are exceptions. The minimum weight is 300-400 grams in males, and 800 grams in females. In captivity, males can not reproduce under 800 grams; the female is recommended to wait until 1500 g reached. The king python is not only hunted for its skin but its meat too which is a popular delicacy in many African tribes. In case of emergency it curls up into a ball, hides its head and tail. Then it is possible to move it around, hence its English name (ball python).

Reproduction: For breeding it is necessary to separate the males and females as well as reduce the temperature of the terrarium in the evening to 20 degrees Celsius. After several weeks the snakes will hopefully mate; the result of the mating in approximately one month’s time will be 4-7 eggs. After the mating let’s set back the temperature. We can trust the eggs with the mother, but if you need it incubator can be used. In the former case let’s not feed the mother during the breeding season. The incubator needs 29-32 degrees Celsius and humidity between 90-100% (some say it is advisable to start at 65-75% and then steadily increase to almost 100%).

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