Southern African Rock Python

Southern African Rock Python Python natalensis

Type of Animal:

Savanna, grassland, woodland, forest, rocky areas, semi-desert, swamps, rivers, lakes, forest edge

Southern & E Africa. Introduced in S Florida.

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.

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:

Breeding in zoos & reptile parks. Bred for reptile hobby, skin, & meat.


Additional Info:

Young: Snakelet
Group: Solitary

Male: 90-100 lbs
Female: 110-120 lbs
Young: 10 lbs

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.

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