The ball python is a snake native to sub-Saharan Africa. Ball pythons are relatively small compared to other pythons, and they are the smallest pythons on the African continent. They are popular pets due to their a calm, non-aggressive temperament. Ball pythons were named for their habit of curling into a ball when they are stressed or frightened. These snakes are also known as royal pythons and their scientific name,

Python regius

, has its origins in ancient Egypt. Regius is the Latin term for royalty. According to Egyptian legend, Cleopatra wore these pythons around both wrists during her reign as queen.


1. Captivity

Ball pythons in captivity do well in a large glass cage with dry substrates such as cypress, moss, or newspaper. Humidity should be around 50-percent, and ball pythons prefer high temperatures. These snakes have sensitive skin, so heating rocks are not recommended. A heating pad may be used with careful supervision. Water must be available at all times and changed daily. The snake usually eats two or three times per week. Frozen or thawed mice are a safe and convenient feeding option.

pet ball python PetlinDmitry / Getty Images

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