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African Rock Python

African Rock Python

African Rock Python Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Python sebae
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    The African rock python is native throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Two subspecies are commonly recognized by scientists: the northern African rock python found from south of the Sahara to northern Angola, and from Senegal to Ethiopia, and the Southern African rock python found from Kenya to the Cape of Good Hope.
  • Status

    The species is legally protected in certain countries where native populations have become increasingly vulnerable due to reduction in prey availability and hunting by humans for their skin and meat.
  • Habitat

    This species prefers evergreen forests or open savannahs. They can often be found in rocky outcrops that they use for hiding. They can also be found near rivers and lakes.
  • Niche

    Most of their time is spent on the ground, but they will climb if threatened. African rock pythons will seek out a variety of prey such as large rodents, monkeys, fruit bats, monitor lizards and even crocodiles. Those found in suburban areas will also hunt rats, chickens, dogs and goats.
  • Life History

    The African rock python is fairly solitary, only seeking out their own kind for breeding season. Females lay between 20 and 50 eggs in nests made from animal burrows, termite mounds and caves. Females coil around eggs to protect them from predators until they hatch after 90 days. Once young snakes hatch, they are independent of their mother’s care. Males and females reach maturity at three-five years and will usually wait to breed until they have reached at least six feet in length.
  • Special Adaptations

    Heat-sensitive pits above the lips detect warm-blooded prey. Pythons also have two functioning lungs whereas most other snakes only have one. They are good swimmers and can stay submerged for long periods of time. They can be extremely defensive when threatened, biting with large, curved teeth and constricting with great force. However, the species is non-venomous.


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