African Rock Python
Genus: Python
Species:
sebae

The African rock python lives in the tropical African savanna that stretches through Africa like a belt. Savannas have rolling plains of tall grasses and scattered trees. Winter begins in December and ends in Febuary; summer starts in May and ends in December. In the summer savannas have 6 -8 months of heavy rainfall, and very dry months in the winter. It has a constant, warm climate and is mostly 70°F. The African rock python likes to be near water and the edges of forests.

At 30 ft. in length, it is the third largest snake in the world. The African rock python is the only large snake found on the African continent. It is very bulky and has a dark arrowhead shape on its head. Brown blotches outlined by black on tan background surround its body.They can get to be over 250 lbs. They look like they would be slimy, but they are dry and smooth to the touch.Like all snakes, the African rock python moves by slithering its body over the ground.

All pythons kill by constricting their prey. The African rock python can live for up to a year without food if the animal it eats is big enough to sustain it. Starch ligaments hold the jaw together, which stretches out like a rubber band allowing it to eat prey as big as an antelope. Small teeth surround its jaw. The teeth are used to hold prey as the python coils its body around it.

The African rock python is dependent on water and becomes dormant during the dry season.It can lay up to 100 eggs. Their mother incubates them for 2-3 months and aggressively defends her eggs. The hatchlings are 18-24 inches in length. The newly hatched pythons have brighter colors than their parents.They live up to 30 years.This animal lives alone and hunts alone.The python stops eating during their dormant period.

The African pythons are carnivores which means they only eat meat. They eat crocodiles, pigs, goats, birds, gazelles, and cats.They don't chew their food but have strong acids in their stomach that digests their food well. Normally they eat small animals but if hungry enough they will eat very large animals.Farmers think the rock python is useful because they eat large cane rats.

When the snake is small, predators , such as monitor lizards, crocodiles, birds of prey, cats, and pigs hunt the python. It's funny that when this snake is all grown up, it hunts these animals for food.It has few predators as an adult, except for man.

The African python is not endangered but it is on CITES App ll and listed as vulnerable. This means you need a special permit to capture it.The rock python is killed for its skin and meat.Rock python's skin is made into hand bags and shoes.

by Cody G. 2002


 

bibliography:

Dussling, Jennifer. Slinky, Scaly Snakes. DK Publishing Inc.: New York, 1998

DeGraff, G. Animals of the Krugers National Park. Struik Inc., 1992

"African Rock Python" http://www.oregonzoo.org/cards/primates/snake.python.african.rock.htm

"Congo Gorilla Forest-African Rock Python", http://www.congogorillaforest.com/r-africanrockpyth.html (11/5/01)

"Kids Go Wild: Wild Animal Facts: African Rock Python", http://wcs.org/7642 (11/5/01)

"Dublin Zoo - Come Into the Zoo-Reptiles-African Rock Python", http://www.dublinzoo.ie/come_reptiles_python.htm (11/5/01)

"African Rock Python Printout - Enchanted Learning.com, http://www.enchantedlearning.com

"Earth Floor Biomes", http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/msese/earthsysflr/savannah.html (11/6/01).

 

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