Royal Python Overview
Ease of Care: Beginner
Size: 4 to 5ft (120-150cm)
Life Span: 20+ year in Captivity
Diet: Carnivore – Rodents
Background Temp: 23-28°C (73.4-82.4°F)
HOT Spot: 30-31°C (86-88°F)
Male Royal Pythons are smaller than females when fully grown. Royal Pythons will normally feed in a certain way. Find out which way your python prefers to be offered food; this will help with future feeding. If your Python refuses to feed try offering a smaller or larger food item. A Royal Python will normally refuse food when it is about to shed so wait until the
python has fully shed before feeding. Monitor humidity closely using a Hygrometer to maintain correct levels.
Basic Equipment needed
Housing: Wooden Vivarium
Heating: Heat Mat (only for the Terrainium) /
Basking Bulb / Deep heat projector / Ceramic
Bulb (12 hours on/off cycle)
Lighting: UV Tube (12 hours on/off cycle)
Substrate: Snake Bedding such as Lignocel or
EarthMix Arid, moss for moist hide.
Water: Round Plastic Water Bowl
A relevant sized Terrainium or Vivarium is the perfect housing solution for a Royal Python (Python regius) throughout its whole life.
Terrainium, L46 x D29 x H15cm (18 x 11.5 x 6”)
Standard Vivarium, L46 x D38 x H38cm (18 x 15 x 15”)
Juvenile / Adult:
Standard Vivarium, L91 x D61 x H61cm (36 x 24 x 24”)
Standard Vivarium, L122 x D61 x H61cm (48 x 24 x 24”)
Royal Pythons are an ectothermic (cold-blooded) animal, meaning all of their heat requirements are taken from external sources. Royal Pythons originate from Africa where they are subjected to high temperatures. This allows them to function normally and aids the digestion of any prey item which they capture. Different heat sources are required depending on the age of the Royal and type of housing selected.
Heating a Vivarium: (Juvenile/Adult)
To provide an appropriate heat source in a Vivarium for a Juvenile/Adult, we recommend using a 100W Heat Bulb, Ceramic bulb or a Deep Heat Projector that is thermostatically controlled.The chosen heat bulb should always be used in conjunction with a dimming thermostat. Dimming thermostats are designed to regulate temperatures using a thermostat probe (also known as a sensor). Correct placement of the probe is critical to avoid overheating and injury to the python. The probe should be positioned on the floor in the basking area, and the probe cable should be taped to the floor 2-8cm (1-3”) back from the actual probe sensor. This will ensure an accurate temperature reading and prevent the probe becoming dislodged. Carefully place the substrate on top of the probe cable leaving just the probe above the surface. A Spotlight Guard should be used to surround the Ceramic heat bulb or Deep Heat Projector to prevent
the animal coming into direct contact with the heat source. The chosen heat bulb should be set up using a ceramic bulb holder, which can be hung from the roof of the vivarium, approximately 15-20cms from one side.
Heating a Terrainium (Hatchlings):
To replicate these conditions in a terrainium for the Hatchling, we recommend using a Heat Mat that is thermostatically controlled as a heat source. The heat mat should be inserted into the glass holder located in the base of the Terrainium to ensure that the Royal Python does not come directly into contact with it. The heat mat should always be used in conjunction with a Mat Thermostat. Heat mat thermostats are designed to regulate temperatures using a thermostat probe (also known as a sensor). Correct placement of the probe is critical to avoid overheating and injury to the python. Insert the probe through the back of the terrainium via the rubber grommet and tape directly onto the glass panel above the heat mat.
The probe cable should be taped 2-5cm (1-2”) back from the actual probe sensor to allow for a correct temperature reading and avoid it becoming dislodged. Carefully place the substrate on top.
Temperature & Monitoring
As a rough guide, daytime temperatures should have the hot end around 30-31°C (86-88°F), going down to 23-25°C (73.4-77°F) at the cooler end of the enclosure. Night-time temperatures should remain the same as the
daytime temperatures. Make sure temperatures are checked regularly with a 2x probed thermometers (one in both the hot and cooler ends) to ensure that there are no extreme fluctuations.
Substrates & Decoration
Personal choice will dictate how you decorate your terrainium or vivarium, but we recommend the following as a guide:
A substrate which is easy to spot clean, snake bedding such as Lignocel or Arcadia EarthMix Arid
Wood/Branches for hiding under and crawling on/over. This not only offers physical enrichment – but will aid with the shedding process.
Artificial or live plants: For decoration and to provide darker areas for the Royal Python to hide away.
Hide (multiple), to allow the python to hide away if it chooses and give an area for it to feel safe and secure.
UV lighting can be provided once the Royal Python is in a Vivarium, with the Pro T5 6%. Ensure that it is fitted correctly and securely to avoid any injuries to the snake. For extra protection, we recommend the Lamp Guard being placed over the UVB. This will protect the UV from inquisitive Snakes.
Royal Pythons do not require additional supplementation. The occasional light sprinkling (few times yearly) with a multivitamin on the chosen rodent can be beneficial.
Diet & Water
Hatchlings through to Adults should be offered appropriately sized defrosted rodents. As a rule, the feed size offered to your snake should be no larger in diameter than 1-1½ times the width of the snake at its widest point. A source of fresh water must always be available for these snakes to drink and soak in. The water source should be positioned at the cool end of
the enclosure to prevent the water from evaporating quickly and causing an unwanted humidity increase.The humidity should be kept at ‘around’ 50-60% to maintain the python’s optimum living conditions and wellbeing. This level of humidity will also aid the python to shed easily. It is important to monitor the humidity level: Too high, and the enclosure will become excessively moist encouraging bacteria to develop thus
increasing the risk of disease. Too low, and the python may have issues with shedding. To maintain the correct humidity level, a small amount of water should be added to the substrate via spraying which will raise the humidity level, repeat this process until the desired humidity level is reached. The use of moss around the setup will also aid this – and spraying the moss will help in achieving the humidity needed throughout the setup.
Health & Hygiene
We recommend the following cleaning routine to keep your Royal Python healthy and happy. Water should be changed daily with fresh water, whilst the enclosure is spot cleaned. The vents of the enclosure should also be checked ensuring that they are not blocked and allow air to pass through freely.
On a weekly basis you should disinfect the water bowls and dishes, agitate the substrate to prevent any bacterial build-up and remove any dirty bedding.. Wipe down the glass and walls with a reptile safe disinfectant.
Once a month the substrate should be either half cleaned out an replaced or fully replaced wiping down the inside of the enclosure and disinfect any decor. Always wash your hands, surfaces and equipment with warm water and disinfectant immediately before and after handling or feeding your Royal Python their food, enclosure and any other equipment.
A Royal Python’s size and growth will dictate how regularly the python sheds. As a rule, a young python will shed every 3 to 6 weeks, and an older python every 2 to 6 months. The best way to tell that your Royal Python is going to shed its skin is to look at its general colour and eyes. The Royal Python will appear duller than normal and may have a washed out look. This will become more obvious as the Royal Python nears shedding its skin. The python’s eyes will appear clouded at first and will eventually turn
a bluey/grey colour. Normal colouration will return once the Royal Python has shed its skin
The Five Animal Welfare Needs
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 means all pet owners have a legal duty of care to their pets. Anyone who is cruel to an animal or is found not to be providing the five animal welfare needs, as listed below, can be fined and sent to prison.
Environment: Pets should be given the correct housing according to its size, this includes shelter, space to exercise.
Diet: Pets should be offered the correct type and volume of food to cover all their nutritional needs alongside access to clean, fresh water and a secure, comfortable place to rest.
Behaviour: All pets should be allowed to exhibit normal behaviour patterns and should be provided with the facilities to do so.
Health: All animals should be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease, and given veterinary treatment if they become sick or injured.
Company: Some animals require the company of their own kind, whilst others should be kept on their own.