All about Beautiful Snakes
The African Rock Python is native to the Sub Saharan Africa. The python has seven species and African rock python is one of them. They are non venomous snakes and are the largest snakes in Africa. The name Python Sebae was derived from the Greek mythology, which refers to a huge serpent.
Many animals such as the African elephant are always in contact with these snakes while the king of the jungle is scared by many of these on their daily rounds looking for food while some meet with the biggest African hippos while fetching a drink or water in the nearby rives and lakes which are always infested with the great Nile crocodiles
African Rock Python Scientific Name
The scientific name for the African Rock Python is Python Sebae.
African Rock Python Classification
African Rock Python is amongst the seven species of python. They have two sub-species of African Rock Python, one of which are found in the Southern Africa, Namibia Angola which are also called Python Sebae Natalis and the other types are found in the Western and Central parts of Africa in countries such as Zaire, Ghana, Siera Leon, Nigeria The African Rock Python snake found in the Central and Western Africa was identified by a German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin in the year 1788. The Python Sebae Natalis found on the southern Africa snakes were identified by the father of South African Zoology, Sir Andrew Smith in 1833.
African Rock Python snake Description
The African rock python is the largest snake in Africa and the third largest snake in the world. The African rock python is a very special snake because of its enormous size and bulkiness. These huge snakes can weigh up to 135kgs. An average male African Rock Python measures around 16 feet however the largest snake that has been confirmed are around 20 feet long. The female snakes are larger than the males. However they vary according to their natural habitat. It is amazing to not that in areas where there is a higher population the size of the African rock python has been smaller in size as compared to areas where human habitat is less the African Rock Python snake is much bigger in size.
African Rock Python snakes
The African rock python snake has a very thick body with blotches which are joined like irregular stripes and ultimately fade to white underneath. Their body color varies between brown, chestnut to olive. The African rock python have a triangular dark arrow head shaped head. These dangerous beautiful snakes have a triangular mark below their eyes. Smooth and dry to touch, their scales are small and smooth. The African Rock Python have these heat sensitive pits around their lips which help them to detect warm blooded preys.
African Rock Python snake Habitat
The African Rock Python snakes are usually found on the open savanna, grassland, rocky area, forest and semi deserts type of habitat. They are dependent on water often found near the water bodies like lakes, swamps and marshy areas, they become dormant during the dry season. They occupy the abandoned ant bear burrows or under the dense pile of driftwood.
African Rock Python Geographical Distribution
The African Python snakes is found throughout the Sub-Saharan Africa in countries. They are found from Guinea and Senegal on the western coast of Africa, spreading across the central Africa and also towards the east coast of Ethiopia, Southern Somalia, towards Kenya and northern Tanzania. African Rock Python were found at Florida Everglades in the year 2009.
African Rock Python Reproduction
African Rock Python snake becomes sexually active at 3 to 5 years old. They reproduce during the spring. They lay about 20 to 100 eggs. The incubation period last for around 2 to 3 months during which the female snakes guard their eggs aggressively against any predators. The length of the hatchlings is around 18 to 24 inches.
African Rock Python Life Span
African Rock Python can live up to 12 years in the wild however they can live up to 30 years in captivity.
African Rock Python Diet
The African Rock Python snakes are carnivorous and non venomous; therefore they attack their prey by coiling around their prey and constrict them. The being attacked dies due to cardiac arrest. These dangerous snakes always hold a tight grip and tighten it every time the prey breathes out. The African rock python snakes swallow the entire prey and if the prey is big enough they can go without eating for almost a year. These dangerous beautiful snakes can swallow up to 60 kilo grams of lifeless prey. Since these snakes upper and lower jaws are attached together and their ligament stretches they have the ability to swallow preys bigger than themselves. They have strong acids inside their stomach which helps them to digest their food.
The African Rock Python feeds on animals such as rodents, small and medium antelopes, monkeys, domestic pigs, lizards, dogs, goats, crocodiles and at times even fishes. People have also been attacked and eaten by these African rock python snakes. While many of the snake attacks are not reported, many people have gone missing due to such snake attacks.
African Rock Python Predation
The African rock Python snake does not have many predators. While few people would prefer different kind of animals for their meat. A few tribes in Africa would find such snakes as a source of meat to supplement their diet while out in the jungle as well. with many of the African farmers loosing their cattle sheep and goats due to snake attacks, these great snakes of Africa come to clash with humans and hence as a result many of the African rock python species are on the verge of extinction. Humans are their main predators and in some cases they might be a prey to hyenas or the African wild dogs during their digestion period.
African Rock Python Photo
African Rock Python Interesting Facts
African Rock Python are available at exotic pet shops. Their prices vary according to the color of their skin and their temperament. They can be breed in captivity however are not meant for beginners. They are large and aggressive especially when they are hungry or when they guard their eggs.
Their species and taxonomy has been described differently by various authors.
African Rock Pythons are not endangered species but are listed as the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) appendix 2 species as their skin are in demand for making leather, belts and bags. Exporting them is restricted.
During the breeding season both the sexes fast and the female African Rock Python continues the fast till the eggs are hatched.
The hatchlings have to fend for themselves.
African Rock Pythons feeds only once or twice a month and if their prey is big enough they can go without food for almost a year.
African Rock Python Florida
Burmese Python had been thriving in Florida where they don’t have many invasive species. Since 2002 six African Rock Pythons, were located on the loose in Florida. This was a matter of great concern as some of the scientist feared that the African Rock Python would breed with the Burmese Python and the out spring would be a more aggressive species of super snake. It would not only hamper the ecosystem but would also be dangerous for families with small children.
African Rock Python and its Negative Economic Importance for Humans
African Rock Python have known to attack livestock and pets of human beings. They feed on dogs, goats and cattle which are important source of livelihood of the local residents.
There are reports of the African Rock Python attacking human beings too but they usually do not attack unless they are provoked. They can cause threat to families with small children.
African Python and its Positive Economic Importance for Humans
The skin of the African Rock Python is highly desired to make leather, bags, belts etc. If they are born in captivation then they can also be kept as pets, however the python caught wild can be very aggressive and unsafe to keep as pets.
African Rock Python Conservation Status
African Rock Python conservation is not a matter of very big concern however they are no longer widespread like the earlier times. The reason for their decline is mainly due to hunting for their skin or meat. They are mainly restricted to secluded areas, hunting reserves and parks. They are listed as on appendix 2 of CITES (Conservation on International Trade of Endangered Species) and hence has been legally protected especially in areas where their species are vulnerable and declining.
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