African rock python characteristics
The African rock python is exceptionally large and it is one of the world’s largest snakes. An adult rock python reaches up to 3.0-3.53 m in length. However, some specimens of rock pythons measure 4.8-6.0 m. Its weight ranges from 44-55 kg.
The African rock python has a heavily built and thick body. The body is covered with colored blotches that often connect in a broad and irregular stripe. There are markings of brown, olive, chestnut, and yellow on their body. The coloration varies in different individuals. However, it has faded to white underpart. The head is triangular and it is marked with a dark brown “spear-head” mark outlined in buffy yellow.
African rock pythons have sharp and curved teeth. They have distinctive triangular markings under their eyes. However, all python species have small and smooth scales.
The Southern African rock python is smaller than the northern species. An adult of these rock pythons measures up to 2.4-4.4 m in length. They have smaller scales on the top of the head and a smaller or absent marking under their eyes.
Range & habitat
African rock pythons are native to sub-Saharan Africa. As it is mentioned earlier, there are two subspecies of rock pythons. They are named according to the geographical location they inhabit. However, the rock python lives in a wide range of habitats that include forest, savanna, grassland, semidesert, and rocky regions. They are mostly found in the areas having permanent water bodies like edges of swamps, lakes, and rivers. Moreover, they can easily adapt to other habitats. That’s why they are often found near human habitation and cane fields.
Let’s know more about the range and habitat of the rock python subspecies below.
Northern African rock python (Python sebae sebae)
Northern African rock pythons are native to Central and Western Africa. Their range of habitat includes regions from Senegal east to Ethiopia and Somalia.
Southern African rock python (Python sebae natalensis)
Southern African rock pythons are native to southern Africa and eastern Africa. Their range of habitat includes places from southern Kenya to South Africa. Moreover, the subspecific name natalensis refers to the Natal region of South Africa in which these subspecies are mostly found. That’s why it is also known as Natal rock python or sometimes called only African python.
The African rock python eats a variety of animals. The rock pythons that live in forest areas feed on animals like rodents, monkeys, warthogs, antelopes, vultures, fruit bats, monitor lizards, crocodiles, etc. Those who live in the suburbs feed on rats, poultry, dogs, and goats.
Behavior & lifestyle
The African rock python becomes dormant during the dry season and remains active at other times of the year. They use their body to constrict the prey. After gripping an animal, the African rock python starts coiling around it. Each time the animal breathes out it coils tighter than before. And it is believed that during this coiling process the animal dies mainly by cardiac arrest rather than by crushing.
African rock pythons reproduce during the spring. They are oviparous and lay 20-100 hard-shelled eggs. The female rock python generally lays eggs in abandoned animal burrows, termite mounds, or caves. The female shows an amazing level of maternal care. It coils around them to protect them from predators, and possibly to incubate the eggs. The females even protect the hatchlings for 2 weeks after they hatch.
Fun African rock python facts
Here is a list of “Top 5 Fun African Rock Python Facts“. You can read the list below.
- African rock pythons can live up to 12 years in captivity.
- A female African rock python coils around the eggs and protects them for around 90 days!
- Some large African rock python specimens may weigh up to 91 kg and measure over 6 m in length.
- African rock pythons have 2 functional lungs, unlike other snakes.
- The African rock python is a non-venomous snake, like other python species.
Meet the African rock python
You can read about The Most Venomous Snakes in the World here.
You can also read about Fastest Snakes In The World here.
Did you enjoy learning more about the African rock python? Have you ever met this stunning snake face-to-face? Tell us about your African rock python experience in the comment section below. Because those who care share!
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