Southern African Rock Python

Python sebae natalensis

The largest snake occurring in Africa, and one of the biggest in the world, the African Rock Python is an impressive creature. Adult females are quite a bit heavier built than males and weigh around 55kg on average, attaining a length of around 4.8m though there are reports of snakes longer than 6m.

African Rock Pythons occur in a variety of habitats, from semi-arid scrub to riverine forests, and are fond of submerging in pools of water to ambush their prey. Adults will take prey as large as antelope and primates, constricting their prey before swallowing it whole. While it happens only very rarely, African Rock Pythons are capable of attacking and killing humans. They love to sunbathe on exposed rocks, especially after eating.

Females lay between 30 and 100 eggs, the size of tennis balls, in disused animal burrows, caves or termite mounds, and then curl around the clutch to protect them until they hatch after a 2-3 month incubation. She may even stay with the hatchlings until about two weeks after they’ve hatched. They may live from 12 to 27 years old in the wild.

Some authorities, including the IUCN, consider the southern race, P. s. natalenis, to be a separate species from the northern race (P. s. sebae). The Southern African Rock Python occurs from Kenya and the DRC southwards to South Africa, where they’re found in pockets of all provinces except the Western Cape and is considered a vulnerable and protected species. The IUCN considers the Southern African Rock Python to be of least concern. The Northern African Rock Python in turn is found from Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia to Senegal. Due to a decreasing population the IUCN considers it to be near-threatened.


13 thoughts on “Southern African Rock Python

  1. H.J. for avian101

    I saw many large snakes in the Amazon rainforest. they are very muscular and kill by suffocation and can eat victims whole. The are non-venomous. Thank you, D. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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