Also known as royal pythons, these snakes are found in the grasslands and open forests of West and Central Africa. The name "royal python" comes from stories that Cleopatra and other African royalty used to wear them around their wrists. Ball pythons spend most of their time on or under the ground in burrows. They are most active at dawn and dusk. They inhabit savanna grasslands or open forests and are found in areas that have been cleared for farming. They are known for the protective mechanism of “balling,” where they form a tight ball with the head at the center in response to threats, earning them their common name, “ball python”. Most python species have special temperature-sensitive "pits", or holes, along their jaws that can sense the heat of a nearby animal. On Harry these look like red dots or small holes on either side of his upper lip.
Click HERE for a Ball Python Activity Sheet!
Our Current Resident
Harry, Male - Hatched July 8, 1994
Surprisingly, Harry is the oldest animals at ZooMontana. He is a pet surrender, and has been a long time ambassador within the Zoo's education department. Harry has a very calm demeanor and is one of the most relaxed outreach ambassador animals. He was born at Busch Gardens in Florida and came to ZooMontana in 1994.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Boidae
- Genus: Python
- Species: Python regius
- Carnivore: eats exclusively rodents
- Population: stable
- Habitat: Grasslands
- Nocturnal: active during the night