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Royal python care

Although most royal pythons in the UK are bred in captivity, their needs are still the same as in the wild.


For help looking after your royal python, download our care sheet (PDF 352KB).

 

 

How long do royal pythons live?

Royal pythons can live longer than 20 years in captivity. If you’re adopting or buying a royal python, make sure you’re ready to provide the care they’ll need for their entire life.


The size of royal pythons

They grow to around 150cm, but size can differ between males and females. Bear in mind, your snake’s vivarium must allow them to stretch out fully.

 

Royal pythons lifespan, size and vivarium temperature and humidity © RSPCA 

Royal python vivarium setup

Vivariums should be secure, made from a solid material, easy to clean and free from hazards.


Temperature

Royal pythons need a ‘thermogradient’, created by fitting a guarded heat lamp at one end to create a ‘basking zone’ and leaving the opposite end cool.


The basking zone should range from 30 to 32 degrees C, and the cool end 22 to 26 degrees C. Monitor temperatures daily using digital thermometers at each end.


Read more about temperature in our care sheet (PDF 352KB)
.


Lighting

At the hot end, fit a 2 to 7 per cent UV tube at the top of the vivarium. This will create a ‘photogradient’ in the vivarium. Remember to turn off the lamp at night.


Humidity

A hygrometer will measure humidity, which should be 50 to 60 per cent normally. This level will help keep your royal python healthy.


Mist the vivarium once a day with clean water to boost humidity to around 80 per cent, allowing it to drop in-between.


Read more on vivariums, including substrate advice in our care sheet care sheet (PDF 352KB)


Handling

Royal pythons can become quite docile with careful handling. Gently scoop up the snake with one hand near the head and the other by their tail.


Safe handling is around 10 to 15 minutes to prevent their core temperature from dropping too low.


Do royal pythons bite?

All snakes may bite under stress or if they smell food. Hatchlings are more likely to bite as they’re shy but this usually resolves as they grow.


Always support the whole snake and never grab them as it can cause stress which may lead to biting.


Avoid handling until 48 hours after feeding, during shedding or after handling prey.


Feeding

What do royal pythons eat?

They’ll need a variety of defrosted mice and rats. You can also buy multimammate mice from reptile shops that resemble their wild prey.


Royal pythons have a reputation for going off their food, which can be stress related. If your snake stops eating for longer than a month, speak to your specialist reptile vet.


Read more about royal python health including essential supplements for royal pythons and how to feed them in our care sheet (PDF 352KB).