ANIMAL: Southern African Rock Python Python natalensis Type of Animal: Boa/Python Habitat: Savanna, grassland, woodland, forest, rocky areas, semi-desert, swamps, rivers, lakes, forest edge Location(s): Southern & E Africa. Introduced in S Florida. Appearance: Large brownish snake w/ light to dark brownish blotches & some speckling. Female longer/heavier than male. Lighter/smaller than closely related Central African Rock Python. Food/Diet: Primates, pigs, lizards including monitors, fish, small & medium-sized antelope plus calves & smaller females of large species, goats, rabbits, hares, rodents, birds, other snakes including smaller pythons & venomous snakes, mongooses, civets, hyraxes, badgers, bats, pangolins, canids, small & medium-sized felids plus cubs of larger felids, & even crocodiles, hyenas, & wild dogs (last 3 in fights to death w/ whoever dies 1st being eaten). Humans have been eaten on rare occasions. Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos & reptile parks. Bred for reptile hobby, skin, & meat. Lifestyle: Solitary Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Snakelet Group: Solitary Weight: Male: 90-100 lbs Female: 110-120 lbs Young: 10 lbs Gestation: 2-2.5 months Life Span: 20-25 years Body Length: Male: 10-12 ft Female: 12-16 ft Young: 2-3 ft Tail Length: 2 ft, same for both sexes Main predators of adults are lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, & crocodiles w/ latter 3 getting involved in fights to death w/ whoever dies 1st getting eaten. Honey badgers, caracals, & servals prey on smaller males & hatchlings/juveniles (sometimes very hungry female will eat smaller male), while mongooses & pigs only eat hatchlings. Usually lay eggs in abandoned burrow, termite mound, or cave. Sexually mature at 3 years old. Female lays 20-50, as many as 100 eggs each breeding season & incubates for 2-3 months. Like all reptiles, they’re cold-blooded. 2nd largest snake in Africa after Central African Rock Python. These snakes virtually tie w/ Indian Python for 5th largest snake in world. Prey killed by constricting & suffocating, then swallowing it whole. Both sexes fast during breeding season, w/ females continuing until eggs hatch. After hatching, young have to fend for themselves. Some females protect hatchlings for up to a week. Fun Fact(s): These snakes sometimes hybridize w/ closely related Central African Rock Python. In fact, these snakes & Central African species used to be considered single species. Often only eat once or twice a month. Might not eat for 6 months or even a year after very large meal. Like other large snakes, they most often do not make good pets. These snakes are great swimmers & can stay submerged for long periods of time. These snakes often extremely aggressive, especially when feeding/hungry or cornered.