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African Rock Python

Physical Description This species of snake is considered as the largest of all rock pythons reaching a height of 4.8mt. Their body size varies and male pythons are bigger in size compared to female. Their body is thick and the whole body is covered with colorful blotches. Markings of the body vary between chestnut, olive, yellow and brown. Their head is triangular in shape and the teeth are sharp and curved backwardly. Under their eye there is a mark which is termed as the sobocular mark. The scales of their body are small and smooth and these pythons are known for having two lungs and also they have pelvic spurs.

Habitat and Distribution They prefer wide range of habitats which includes savanna, grassland, forest, rocky areas, deserts and much more. They are basically seen in areas having plenty of water. Rock pythons are mostly seen on the edges of lakes, swamps and rivers. Cane fields are their popular destination. They are dependent on water and become dormant during the dry season. Their distribution range is wide. They are found throughout the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Arica. This species of snakes are also found in some parts of Kenya.

Diet and Behavior Rock pythons are carnivorous. These non-venomous snakes kill their prey by constriction. They feed on all types of rodents, antelopes, monkeys, deer, fruit bats, lizards and even crocodiles. Within a minute they kill the prey and grasp whole of their body. They also eat dogs and goats in suburban areas. They can live without food for a long time only if the animal it has eaten is large enough. They are solitary snakes and only unite during the breeding season. They prefer staying on the grounds and sometime climb up the trees. They are good swimmers and can stay submerge for a long time. Juveniles are active during day and these snakes are known widely for their aggressive nature. If annoyed, they will bite and constrict. Their bites are painful and if not treated can result in something dangerous.

Reproduction, Life cycle and Life span African Rock Python mating season starts in the spring. These pythons are oviparous laying 20-50 eggs which are even hard-shelled. They lay their eggs in old animal burrow that are also termed as mound or cave. Female pythons take care of the eggs by coiling around the eggs and protecting them from the predators. Incubation session starts until they hatch out some 80-90 days later. The female pythons guard the new born for three-four weeks. Hatchlings stretch to a length of 45-60cm and appear exactly like the adults. The only difference is the color variation. Pythons can live up to 10-12 years in wild and 15 years in captivity.

Interesting Facts

• On warm days, these pythons bask in sun.

• These pythons lack venom glands.

• They are known for killing humans.

• Prey captured by these pythons die before they are consumed.

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