Royal Python

Royal Pythons are truly exotic pets and certain to be a talking point for any visitors to your home, but they possess a gentle and calm personality when handled regularly and carefully. This makes them ideal for beginners, although you need to be aware of how big they can grow! As a nocturnal snake, pythons are likely to spend most of the day catching up on beauty sleep, but will start to show off a bit more once the sun goes down.

Royal Python

Overview

  • Background temp: 23-28°C (73.4-82.4°F)
  • Behaviour: Nocturnal (awake at night)
  • Diet: Carnivore (Rodents)
  • Ease of care: Beginner
  • Handling: Beginner
  • Hot spot: 30-31°C (86-88°F)
  • Humidity: 50-60%
  • Life span: 20+ year in Captivity
  • Origin: Central Africa
  • Potential adult size: 4 to 5ft (120-150cm)
  • Scientific name: Python regius
  • Temperament: Friendly

Top Tips

  • Royal Pythons love to feast on mice and rats, but make sure they are fully defrosted first. You can then feed them using a pair of tongs.
  • These snakes tend to lose their appetite when they’re about to shed their skin. Wait until the shedding process is finished before offering food.
  • Royal Pythons sometimes go off their food when they aren’t shedding too. If yours loses its appetite, try offering smaller rodents OR try other foods for a different scent, like hamsters or even hatchling quails.
  • Keep a close eye on humidity levels using a hygrometer.

Housing

Your Royal Python is cold-blooded, which means it needs an external source of heat to stay toasty and digest its food.

During the day, the temperature should be at a snuggly 30-31℃, dropping down to 23-25℃ at the cooler end of your Royal Python’s enclosure. You can keep an eye on the heating levels using temperature probes at the hotter and cooler ends of the tank.

Royal Pythons also like damp conditions. Humidity of around 50-60% will keep your snake feeling right at home and also help it to shed its skin. You can maintain humidity by spraying some water onto your snake’s bedding – this will be particularly effective if you include some moss. Install a hygrometer to check that you have the right humidity levels.

Hatchlings should be housed in a terrarium. To keep your baby snake nice and warm, it’s a good idea to use something like a HabiStat Heat Mat. This can be combined with a HabiStat Mat Thermostat to help you control the temperature. To install the thermostat, slide it into the glass holder at the bottom of your terrarium. This will stop your snake from coming into direct contact with it. You should then put the mat’s thermostat probe through the back of the terrarium via the rubber grommet. This can then be secured onto the glass panel directly above your heat mat. Make sure the probe cable is secured about 1-2” (2-5cm) back from the sensor to help you to get an accurate reading.

Once your baby python has grown up a bit, you can move it to a vivarium. To keep your snake’s new home at the right temperature, you can use a heat bulb. This can be hung from the roof of your tank around 15-20cm from one side.

The heat bulb will also need to be combined with a dimming thermostat, which helps you to control the temperature.

To help you work out the right temperature, place the probe of your dimming thermostat on the floor in your snake’s basking area. The cable should then be secured to the floor around 1-3” (2-8cm) away from the sensor and covered with some bedding.

If you choose a ceramic heat bulb or deep heat projector, make sure you use a spotlight guard to protect your python.

A vivarium will also need some UV lighting, such as the Arcadia Pro T5 6%. You can cover this with the Arcadia Lamp Guard Pro to protect your light from a curious snake.

Care

Once your terrarium or vivarium is all set up, you will need to keep it clean. Every day, make sure you give your Royal Python some fresh water and give the bedding a spot clean. It’s also a good idea to check the vents so that air continues to circulate.

Once a week, you’ll need to give the water bowl a bit of a scrub and remove any dirty bedding. Use a disinfectant that’s safe for reptiles to wipe down the glass and walls of your enclosure.

To keep your snake’s home really squeaky clean, you’ll need to fully change the bedding once a month, as well as give the whole enclosure a good wipe down with a safe disinfectant.

Remember: Always wash your hands and equipment with plenty of warm soapy water after cleaning, feeding or handling your snake and its equipment.

Equipment Needed

  • For hatchlings, use a HabiStat Terrarium (18 x 11.5 x 6” / 46 x 29 x 15cm) or HabiStat Standard Vivarium (18 x 15 x 15” / 46 x 38 x 38cm)
  • For juveniles and adults, use the HabiStat Standard Vivarium (36 x 24 x 24” / 91 x 61 x 61cm) or the Standard Vivarium (48 x 24 x 24” / 122 x 61 x 61cm)
  • Heat mat with HabiStat Mat Thermostat (if using a terrarium)
  • For vivariums, use a HabiStat 100W Heat Bulb / Arcadia Deep Heat Projector / HabiStat Ceramic Bulb (on a 24-hour cycle). Light it with a UV lighting tube such as Arcadia Pro T5 6% (with a 12hr on/off cycle) and Arcadia Lamp Guard Pro
  • HabiStat Snake Bedding, HabiStat Lignocel or Arcadia EarthMix Arid
  • HabiStat Round Plastic Water Bowl
  • Wood and branches for your Royal Python to hide under and crawl around
  • Multiple hides for your snake to slither inside
  • Artificial or live plants, including moss

Diet

Whether your Royal Python is a youngster or all grown-up, it will love to munch on a dinner of defrosted mice and rats. As a rule, try not to feed rodents that are bigger than the width of your snake’s body.

Your snake will also get thirsty, so make sure you have some fresh water available for it to sip and perhaps have a soak in. Place the water in the cooler part of the enclosure to stop it from evaporating too quickly.

Unlike other reptiles, your Royal Python won’t need a regular dose of supplements. Simply sprinkle a bit of multivitamin onto its food a few times a year to keep your snake in tip-top condition.

Additional Information

A Royal Python’s size and growth will dictate how regularly it sheds its skin. Females will grow bigger than males, so bear this in mind!

As a rule, a young python will shed its skin every 3 to 6 weeks, but this will lengthen out to every 2 to 6 months as they get older. If your snake starts to look a little dull and washed out, it’s probably close to a shed! Your Royal Python’s eyes will also start to look a little cloudy before turning a blue-grey colour.

Once your snake has shed, it will have lovely bright skin with all its normal colours.

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