Ball Python

Ball Python

Ball Python
Picture by Cody Campell

The ball python is a ground-dwelling snake usually found on the savannas or in the rainforests of western to central Africa. Mainly the largest populations are to be found in the countries Togo, Benin and Ghana. The ball python is a beautiful and strong snake that can come in a lot of different colours. Although they usually are black and brown, there are to this date 62 known different colourings due to genetic morphs. This will cause the ball python to have different colourings stretching from albino to pastel jungle, from piebald to caramel.

Usually laying a batch with up to 8 eggs the female ball python will incubate the eggs and within 60 days new ball pythons will see the light of day. Even newly born the baby-ball pythons will know how to move, climb and even hunt, natural born killers from day one. Growing quite large the ball python can be a scary sight for most people. It can reach a length of 6 feet (1,8 meters) and a width of up to 6 inches (15 centimetres), although it is not very common that it becomes that large.

The name of the ball python is quite obvious if you ever have encountered one. The name comes from the fact that they usually roll into a tight ball whenever the ball python feel threatened or nervous. With its head safely tucked into the middle of the ball it protects the most important parts of the snake. It does have teeth but they are not used for defence and this snake is not venomous, therefore it will rather try to hide its head instead of using it for defence. Most possibly this ball-shaped appearance is what the first human came in contact with, hence its name, ball python.

The ball python becomes most active by dusk being a nocturnal snake as it is, usually spending its daytimes hidden from predators. While hunting the ball python is a killer, finding its prey and suffocating it with its strong and muscular body, like all other constrictors. Mostly eating lizards and small mammals, the ball python is also known for catching one or two birds. Yet the ball python is known for handling long periods without food.

As the ball python mostly is a gentle and curious snake that rather flee than fight it has turned out to be a perfect pet snake. The variety of colour is also a reason to its attraction. One thing that should be remembered when kept in captivity is that the ball snake is not a social animal. Together they will fast develop a hierarchic system amongst themselves, while this might seem like a good thing its not. The low-rank snakes will starve to death as the leader will eat everybody’s meals. If this is going on for to long it won’t even matter if you try to rescue some of the snakes by moving them to an individual enclosing, they have accepted their fate and will refuse to eat. The ball python is also known for being cannibalistic at times, as a pet owner you wouldn’t want the snakes to eat each other.

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