Squamata (amphisbaenians, lizards and snakes)
Boidae (pythons and boas)
Habitat & Range
The ball python inhabits savannahs, grasslands and open forests of western and central Africa.
Ball pythons generally do not exceed 4 feet in length. They are very thick and muscular for their size, with the exception of their small head. The scales are smooth and usually brown or black in color with sandy blotches.
Ball pythons almost exclusively hunt rodents such as mice, rats and gerbils. Prey is killed by constriction of the snake’s body. They usually do not hunt during times when the night temperature is below 70 degrees.
Reproduction & Lifespan
Mating occurs during times when food is scarce. Ball pythons only mate once every 2 to 3 years. Clutch size varies based on size and health of the female. After fertilization, the female deposits her eggs and protects them with her coiled body for 3 months. The mother does not eat during incubation, thus when the eggs hatch she immediately leaves in search of food.
The lifespan of a ball python is estimated at 20 to 30 years.
Fantastic Fact Get the Ball Rolling
The ball python is known for its defense strategy that involves coiling into a tight ball with its head tucked in the middle. During this state, the snake is so tightly coiled that it could literally be rolled around.
Copyright 2014 Elmwood Park Zoo
1661 Harding Blvd
Norristown, PA 19401
Main Number: 800.652.4143
Fax Number: 610.292.0332