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Ball pythons have heat sensing pits on their upper lips that they use to locate prey in the dark.

Lets have a look at some of the basics behind the ball python

Ball Pythons are a member of the taxonomay family Boidae. Their Latin name is Python Regius, Royal Python, which is the term that is used mainly across Europe. Throughout South Africa and the US they are referred to Ball Pythons.

They get their name from their habit of 'balling' up when they feel threatened instead of striking out at any danger. This passive defensive behaviour has led to the Ball Python to become a firm favourite in the pet snake world, particularly for new reptile owners. They generally have a gentle nature and are not particularly quick moving snakes. This type of behaviour is often preferred to that of snakes which are skittish and quick moving.

Be warned though!! Not all balls are nice, you may come across what we call a ‘lemon’, these guys will bite you if they can, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Ball Pythons are found throughout West and Central Africa and are the smallest of the African python species. They are found in savannah areas and generally spend most of their time underground where they hunt rodents.

Often they are found in farm areas where they help to control rodent populations, they are also revered in many of the countries where they are found.

Their range stretches across Nigeria, Uganda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Ghana.

As mentioned above, Ball Pythons are one of the smallest pythons in nature, they generally keep fairly short but heavy-bodied. Typically males will reach a length of about 1.2 metres and weigh in at 2-3kg. Females can be up to 1.5 metres and weigh in at around 3-4kg. There are exceptions to this of course with specimens reaching lengths of 220cm being reported, but these are rare.

In contradiction to their size, Ball Pythons are long living reptiles with an average lifespan of 20 - 30 years. This must be taken in consideration when looking at having a Ball Python as a pet, they will need to be taken care of for a long time. The oldest recorded Ball Python was reputedly a 47 year old specimen in the Philidelphia Zoo