Python constricting mouse
The ball python (Python regius) is a native of Africa and non-venomous. Rather than biting its prey and injecting venom, the snake coils itself tightly around its victim, suffocating it until it is dead. Once it stops moving, the snake gets in position to swallow its kill whole.
Image: Alexander Shenkar
Ball pythons are popular pets because they are the smallest of pythons, growing only up to 3 to 3.5 ft (males) or 4 to 4.5 ft (females). When scared or stressed, the pythons roll themselves around their head into a ball for protection, hence their name.
Considered fussy eaters, ball pythons can go for months without food, especially during the breeding season in winter. However, when ready to eat – usually small mammals like mice, rats and occasionally birds – the python has a sure-shot method that prey hardly escapes: spot, approach, corner, attack, constrict, swallow, rest. Ready to see this in pictures?