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Can You Pet a African Rock Python

  • Pet Care

Can You Pet A African Rock Python?

African Rock Pythons are some of the most interesting and unique snakes in the world. Native to sub-Saharan regions of Africa, the African Rock Python (Python sebae) is considered to be the world’s largest python and one of the five largest snakes in the world. With its large size, stunning appearance and reputation for being strong and powerful, the African Rock Python is considered by many to be one of the most iconic snakes in the world.

Given the impressive characteristics of this large and powerful snake, it can be natural to assume that it’s not suitable for keeping as a pet. However, it is possible to keep an African Rock Python as a pet, as long as the owner is aware of the commitment and the challenges associated with looking after one of these snakes. In this article, we’ll explore what’s involved in keeping an African Rock Python as a pet and whether they’re suitable for being kept in captivity at all.

African Rock Python as a pet

Characteristics of An African Rock Python

African Rock Pythons are large and heavy-bodied snakes, with an average total length of 2.4-4.3m (8-14ft) for males and 2.2-3.7m (7.2-12ft) for females. Males tend to be larger than females and can weight up to 90kg (200lbs) when fully grown. They are primarily yellow-brown to dark grey in colour, with brown blotches on their back and sides.

The African Rock Python is a ground-dwelling snake that prefers to hunt and spend most of its time rooted to the ground and amongst vegetation. They are most active during the day, when they can actively hunt their prey. In the wild, they can be found living in a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, swamps and farmlands, in addition to dense forests.

What Does An African Rock Python Eat?

African Rock Pythons are carnivorous and exclusively prey on warm-blooded animals as their main source of food. They are primarily ambush predators, which means that they lie in wait, camouflaged in their environment, before ambushing their prey and squeezing them tightly to kill them. In the wild, they typically feed on larger mammals, such as duikers, mongooses, monkeys and even antelopes. They may also hunt and feed on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and birds.

Keeping An African Rock Python As A Pet

There are many things to consider before deciding to keep an African Rock Python as a pet. It is important to be aware of the commitment and dedication which is required in order to successfully look after this type of snake.

The first thing to consider is the size of the snake and whether a suitable home is available to accommodate it; African Rock Pythons can reach large sizes with males capable of growing up to 4m in length and feeling 20kg in weight when fully grown. Therefore, a large vivarium are aqua-terrarium will be needed to house the snake. Furthermore, it may need to be adapted over time as the snake grows in size, in order for them to live comfortable and happily.

It is also important to be aware of the natural behaviour of the snake; African Rock Pythons are relatively slow-moving and tend to rest during the day, before becoming more active during the night. This means that you may not get to spend a lot of time interacting with the snake and may need to provide alternatives in order to ensure they receive enough stimulation. For example, providing a selection of toys, such as wooden planks and rocks, can provide the snake with plenty of opportunities to explore and investigate.

In terms of diet and food, African Rock Pythons are strict carnivores, meaning they rely solely on a diet of prey animals. Therefore, they will require freshly-killed or frozen prey items as their source of food. Depending on the size of the snake, appropriate prey items should be sourced, such as rats or rabbits. It is important that all food items are essential properly before feeding them to the snake, in order to prevent the risk of transmitting any diseases or parasites.

Similar to other types of reptile pets, it is also important to ensure the vivarium or aqua-terrarium is well-maintained and kept clean; this includes changing the substrate regularly, providing a suitable temperature and humidity level, and keeping the water bowls or bowls filled with fresh clean water. It is also important to note that African Rock Pythons are solitary animals and therefore should not be housed with other pythons or snakes.

The Pros and Cons of Keeping an African Rock Python As a Pet

Despite the commitment and dedication required to looking after an African Rock Python, it is still a fantastic pet that can offer plenty of enjoyment and joy. Furthermore, they are relatively docile snakes, which means they can easily be handled; however, they can become defensive when provoked and you must be mindful of this. With regular handling and proper care, African Rock Pythons can make excellent pets.

On the other hand, there are also many drawbacks associated with keeping an African Rock Python as a pet; primarily due to their large size and the amount of commitment and dedication that’s required in order to look after them. They require a large vivarium or aqua-terrarium, as well as a suitable diet containing freshly-killed prey items. Furthermore, they can become defensive when they’re disturbed or provoked and require experienced handling.


African Rock Pythons can make impressive and fascinating pets, particularly for experienced reptile keepers. However, it is important to be aware of the commitment and dedication that’s required in order to look after one of these impressive snakes. Furthermore, they should not be kept with other snakes and must be provided with a suitable home and diet in order for them to remain healthy and happy.

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