Belfast Zoo
Show Menu
Show Search

Royal python

Python regius

Royal python

Experts believe the name royal python was inspired by Cleopatra, who reportedly wore these beautiful snakes as bracelets on her wrists. Royal pythons are found in Africa, particularly in Ghana and Togo. They are also known as ball pythons because, when they are frightened, they roll into a tight ball. Royal pythons have bold patterns on their brown skin and, although their colour varies, it usually includes shades of yellow.

Pythons are not poisonous. Instead, they kill their prey by encircling it and tightening their coils to cause suffocation. Their brown and black markings help them camouflage on the forest floor as they wait to ambush their prey.

Habitat
Rainforest and forest

Diet - Carnivore
Royal pythons eat a range of prey including lizards, birds, rodents and other small mammals.

Size
The royal python is a very small species of python, which generally does not grow to more than 90 to 120 centimetres.

Location
Royal pythons can be found in the grasslands, savannahs and wooded areas of Africa.

Conservation status
The IUCN does not consider the royal python to be endangered at present. It is listed under Appendix II of CITES in an effort to regulate trade in the species.

Threats
Royal pythons are hunted for their skin and they are also considered a delicacy by some tribes.

Current population
There are no exact numbers to show the population of royal pythons in the wild.

Zoo population
There are 1,100 royal pythons living in zoos around the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Related links