CareSHEET


Royal (Ball) PythonDownload as PDF (194KB)

Latin name: Python regius

Size

Whilst these snakes have a large chunky body, males normally only grow between 3ft-3.5ft. Females tend to be bigger than males and grow between 4ft-4.5ft. Some Royal Pythons have been known to reach 6ft but this is very rare.

Life Span

Royal pythons live between 20-30 years on average but have been known to live for 40 years or longer if given the correct care.

Diet

Frozen-thawed, appropriately sized rodents warmed to room temperature.

Feeding

A good rule of thumb is to feed one prey item weekly, of comparable girth to the thickest part of the snake's body.

Housing

Size - Juvenile Royal Pythons are best kept in small enclosures with secure hides as they may go off feeding if they feel insecure. As a rule your snake should have a minimum of 1 square foot of floor space per 1ft of snake and a third of your snake in height. A 3ft long x 2ft wide x 2ft high enclosure will be ideal for an adult. Make sure your enclosure is escape proof as all snakes are excellent escape artists!

Substrate - Newspaper, Orchid Bark, Aspen, Auboise, Cypress Mulch or Corrugated Cardboard.

Habitat - Provide plenty of hiding places at both the warm and cool end of the enclosure, making sure that the hide is not too big and your snake can just comfortably fit in to reduce stress.

Temperature - Remember that enclosures must allow for a proper thermal gradient that the Royal Python can utilise, with a hotspot at one end of the enclosure and a cool spot at the other. Provide your Royal Python with a basking spot temperature of 90-95° Fahrenheit and an ambient temperature of 78-80° Fahrenheit. The ambient temperature should not fall below 75°. It is vitally important to know the temperatures at which you are keeping your snake(s). Do not guess! A great way to monitor temperatures is to use a digital indoor/outdoor hygrometer with a probe. Stick the hygrometer to the inside of the cage on the cool end and place the probe on the warm end, and you'll have both sides covered at once. To achieve these temperatures several heating devices can be used such as:-

  • Heatmats
  • Basking/Infrared Bulbs
  • AHS heaters
  • Ceramic bulbs

These are down to personal preference and all should be used with the appropriate Thermostats to control the temperature and avoid overheating.

Lighting - Snakes need a photo period light cycle; provide 8–12 hours of light daily; do not leave white light on at all times; to view snakes at night use a black or infrared light.

Water - Provide a bowl of fresh, clean, chlorine-free water large enough for the snake to soak in.

Do not house different species of reptiles together.

Recommended Supplies

  • Enclosure/rub with secure lid
  • Thermometer and humidity gauge
  • Appropriate substrate
  • Hiding or retreat area/sturdy branch
  • Large water dish
  • Incandescent bulb or ceramic heater
  • Light timer
  • Under tank heat source
  • Book about Royal Pythons
  • Infrared or black light

Normal Behaviour & Interaction

As the snake prepares to shed, their eyes will turn a milky blue over the course of a few days and their body colour will begin to dull and develop a whitish sheen.

Snakes search their habitat when hungry, appearing alert and even restless; appetite may diminish during winter months.

Snakes will remain quiet in the hiding area or coiled up for long periods of time; they should display an alert demeanour when disturbed.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Clean out water dish and replace water daily.
  • Remove faeces daily.
  • Remove food if not eaten immediately.
  • Thoroughly clean the tank at least once a month. Set snake aside in a secure enclosure. Scrub the tank and furnishings with a 3% bleach solution, rinse thoroughly with water, removing all smell of bleach.
  • Dry the enclosure/furnishings and add clean substrate.

Grooming & Hygiene

Snakes will regularly shed their skin; if old pieces of skin remain after shedding, mist the snake and gently rub off the old skin.

Because all snakes are potential carriers of infectious diseases and salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your snake and/or the habitat contents to help prevent the potential of spread of diseases.

Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for a snake.

Signs of a Healthy Animal

  • Active and alert
  • Eats regularly
  • Clear eyes
  • Regular shedding of skin
  • Healthy skin
  • Sheds skin in one complete piece
Common Health Issues
Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Dermatitis Blisters; rapid shedding caused by an unclean habitat or one that is too cold or damp. Clean the habitat and lower humidity. Consult your exotic reptile Veterinarian.
Respiratory Disease Laboured breathing. Mucus in mouth or nostrils. Can be caused by a habitat that is too cold or damp. Keep snake warm and dry. Consult your exotic reptile Veterinarian.
Stomatitis White, cheese-like substance in the mouth; loss of teeth and appetite. If untreated, can be fatal. Consult your exotic reptile Veterinarian.
Ticks & Mites Parasites on skin; can transmit diseases. Consult your exotic reptile Veterinarian.
Red Flags
  • Unusually frequent or infrequent shedding
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargic or reluctant to eat
  • Bumps or spots on skin
  • Abnormal faeces
  • Laboured breathing
  • Difficulty shedding
  • White, cheese-like substance in mouth
Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the above sources or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.