What is an African Rock Python?

Anna T.

The African rock python is a snake native to the tropical savanna areas of Africa. This snake is the largest snake on the entire continent of Africa, and adults may grow to be as long as 30 feet (9 m) in length. African rock pythons are usually a brownish-tan color with darker brown blotches all across their bodies. It is not unusual for these snakes to weigh more than 200 pounds (90.7 kg). These pythons typically stay hidden during the dry winter season and tend to become active once summer begins in Africa, which usually occurs around the month of May.

The African rock python is the largest snake on the entire continent of Africa.
The African rock python is the largest snake on the entire continent of Africa.

Constriction is the method that the African rock python uses to kill its prey. These snakes normally stay hidden around the edges of streams before surprising their prey with an attack. African rock pythons are capable of swallowing very large animals whole, and if they are able to catch animals large enough, they may be able to go for an entire year without eating. Even though these pythons can occasionally go for long periods of time without food, they cannot survive for long without water. These snakes are carnivores and primarily prey on animals such as gazelles, cats, and antelopes.

The African rock python might lay as many as 100 eggs at one time, and the female normally protects the eggs aggressively. It usually takes up to three months before the eggs hatch, and the hatchlings are around 18 inches (45 cm) in length when they hatch. Once the hatchlings are ready to leave the nest, they do not return. African rock pythons are not social creatures, and they tend to do everything alone. Even though these snakes are capable of living for up to 30 years in captivity, they usually do not last for more than 20 years when living in the wild.

As of 2011, the African rock python is not an endangered species. The population of this type of python has been reduced due to the construction of homes and businesses in and around their natural habitat areas, but extinction has not become a concern for this species. In addition to development, the number of the African rock pythons might also be diminishing slightly because of hunting. Many people like to use the skin of these snakes in the manufacture of handbags, shoes, and other items. Even though a special permit is required to hunt this type of snake, many people still continue to do it illegally.

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