Scientific Name: Python regius.
Ball pythons are native to Central and Western Africa and are equally comfortable on the ground and in trees. They are crepuscular meaning they are active around dawn and dusk. These snakes derive their name due to their habit of curling themselves up into a tight ball with their heads pulled tightly in the center. Their diet consists of amphibians, lizards, other snakes, birds, and small mammals. Unlike in captivity, ball pythons do not eat mice in the wild.
Ball pythons typically reach four feet in length, but there are some cases where they have reached five feet. Like all pythons and boas, ball pythons have anal spurs. These single claws appear on both sides of the vent. They are the vestigial remnants of the hind legs that snakes lost during the evolution of lizards to snake. Males have longer spurs and smaller heads than females. When reproducing, females lay four to ten eggs encircling and remaining with them from the time they are laid to the time they hatch. During this three month period, she will not leave the nest and she will not eat.
In Africa, ball pythons are hunted to be used for food and their skin which can be made into leather. Here in the United States, they are one of the more popular snakes to be kept as pets. These snakes are easily handled and adapt well to a captive environment. The record age for a captive ball python is forty-eight years old.