Royal Pythons can grow up to 5 feet in length and live anything from 20 to 30 years. They are magnificent creatures who do well when kept in captivity but there are certain things you need to think about if you are considering keeping one as a pet in your home.
You can find a range of colour variations and morphs, but generally Royal Pythons are more commonly earthy colours which include beige, brown and black with strikingly gold and white markings. The females usually grow a lot larger than the males and although the average age a Royal Python kept in capitivity is between 20 and 30 years, some snakes have been known to live to the ripe old age of 40 if they have been well looked after and cared for.
Royal Pythons are native to central, eastern and western Africa and they hide away during the daylight hours and get active at night when they hunt for their food. Their natural habitats are grassy savannas or forest floors although they are good climbers and often lay entwined on branches up trees.
Before you commit to owning a Royal Python, you need to consider several things very carefully which includes the following:
The first palce to check out is the area you live in – see if there are any reptile stockists or breeders close to where you live. Next get in touch with them and discuss things with the people who know all about caring for these lovely creatures. Make sure you choose a reputable stockist who can offer you all the necessary information about the snake's history.
It is crucial that you are given all the necessary feeding and shedding records of a Royal Python you are thinking about buying or adopting. These records offer you a lot of important information about the health and condition of the snake. A Royal Python that's a bad eater and shedder, can cause you lots of worry so it is vital to know your new pet eats well and sheds as needed before you commit to buying.
It is also crucial to know where the snake came from. The majority of Royal Pythons sold in the UK are bred in captivity. If you purchase a snake from a stockist, then you need to to be given a guarantee the snake has be captive-bred with the letters “CB” showing on the snakes tank.
The other abbreviations you need to watch out for are “WF” and “WC”. The former stands for 'wild farmed' and the latter for 'wild caught'.
Wild Farmed means the Royal Python was bred by semi-wild parents on a snake farm and it's their eggs that were collected and then imported into the country from their native Africa.
Wild Caught, on the other hand means the snake was hatched in the wild before being imported into the country from Africa.
However, it is always recommended to purchase a captive-bred Royal Python if you can.
When you have made the decision that a Royal Python would be the perfect pet for you and contacted either a stockist or breeder, the next step is to choose the snake. Make sure you are allowed to handle the python before you actually buy it. By handling the snake you get to know if there are any temperament problems or even any obvious health issues.
If the snake is healthy, it will be bright eyed and alert with its tongue flicking regularly when you handle it. When it comes to the condition of the skin, this should feel nice, smooth and firm. You need to see if there is any trace of shedding which has been retained along the snakes body. If you have any doubts about the snakes' temperament or health, do not buy it.
You can transport your new pet snake in a really useful box/plastic tub that has a lid on it – these are called RUBs. Another way to transport your new snake is in a simple cotton bag that's securely tied at the top. You should be able to buy these from most reptile stockists. However, a private seller may not have anything like this for you to take your snake home in, so you need to check this out before going to pick your snake up.
Royal Pythons are lovely docile snakes with nice temperaments. If they get scared or feel threatened they are more likely to curl up than to strike out. They are easy to handle even though they are so big which makes them perfect first snakes to keep as pets.
However, like most snakes, Royal Pythons do not like being handled for long periods of time. But with this said, regular handling is important so that they get used to their owners and spend some time out of their vivariums. They are slow moving snakes and quite clumsy so they do need to be handled gently, you have to be very careful not to drop your pet which could injure it.
Exotic reptiles and snakes are popular pets to keep and if you are considering owning one, a Royal Python could be the right first snake for you to get to know. Although they are large snakes, they are easy to handle and have docile temperaments. However, you need to consider carefully all of the above before committing to owning one. If you do decide to go ahead, why not think about contacting a rescue centre and seeing if you could adopt a Royal Python that's looking for a new home?