Most ball pythons purchased at pet stores and from good breeders in the U.S. are bred and hatched in captivity. To help reduce the number of snakes poached from the wild; do make sure your pet is indeed captive bred. The “ball python” name comes from the manner in which they curl up into a ball when they are nervous. They will carefully place their heads in the middle of this tight ball for protection. The ball python species is originally from the forests of Central and Western Africa, and they enjoy both the ground and trees (semi-arboreal). In Europe they are known as “Royal Pythons”
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Ball pythons are relatively docile and like to be handled in small doses; a few minutes a day at most. If you just brought your new pet ball python home, give it at least one week to adjust to its new environment before handling it. Over-handling a ball python will stress it out and cause it to stop eating. Ball pythons also hate having their heads petted and touched, so resist the urge.
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Yes, you most certainly can pet your ball python. Snake scales go in one direction, and you should always pet with and not against the grain of their scales. This means that you should be petting in a downward motion from the direction of their head to the direction of their tail.
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The pattern of the ball python is very complex. The most common captive bred ball python has a dark back and a dark upper surface of the head. It has 15-25 large pale rounded blotches that are connected by dark interspaces branching from the dark back. The pattern easily disguises the ball python from predators. No two ball pythons are exactly alike.The ball python, also called the royal python, is the smallest of the python family. It takes its name from its defensive behavior of curling itself into a ball, head in the center when frightened or stressed. The snake becomes so spherical that it could actually be rolled like a ball. Presumably this behavior makes it more difficult, and therefore less desirable, for a would-be predator to swallow.