OK, a bit about Monty and his particular species of snake , sorry if its a bit long winded
'Monty' maybe a bit obvious a name to use for a python. There was a lot going on when he came to live with me and it kind of stuck. He has never officially been sexed, which can be done, the easiest method is comparison with others in a group of snakes, the other methods would seem uncomfortable, so unless the need arises....
He is a captive bred Royal Python and is about 3 ½ years old and about 4 ½ foot long. I took him on at about 6 months and we have grown together and hopefully each of us has a familiarity with the other. One of the reasons these are ‘Royal’ pythons Crystal Dragon, is their colour and markings as you noticed from the picture. There are various colouration and patterns availiable, some costing substantial sums of money in the pet market. As with other pythons and boa’s he is a constrictor. They are quite chunky bodied snakes with slender ‘necks’ and short tails native to Africa. Adults grow to between 4 – 6 foot (often the females are slightly longer than the males) which makes for a manageable size, being one of the smaller species of python. Above its mouth around its snout it has distinctive heat sensing pits which assist the snake when hunting food as being nocturnal they will hunt during the night, often hiding during the day. Although they are strike feeders, Monty is content with his meal being left in his vivarium without dangling with tongs etc. They are a fairly docile species of snake and have acquired the term ‘ball’ python as when frightened they will coil up into a ball. Not being particularly aggressive they will only strike if feeling the need to be defensive or mistaking a handler for food. I have hand fed cornsnakes, but do not confuse Monty in this manner as it is likely he will strike where he senses the body heat of my hands, whilst smelling food.
Unlike us, snakes are unable to regulate their own body heat, therefore when keeping snakes it is important to set up the correct environment for the wellbeing of the snake. This will provide an enclosure where the heat source is placed one end creating a gradient with one end slightly cooler - the warmer end being between 80-90 degrees ideal for this species, it is also important to provide somewhere the snake can hide and feel safe and secure. Usually with animals it is important to ensure you provide enough space and people tend to feel the more the better, but in the case of snakes this can be wrong, providing too much space can be harmful for snakes so it is important to get it right. Royal Pythons can be particularly fussy eaters sometimes, although most captive bred will eat regularly on items it has been reared on. There are various 'tricks' keepers will use to encourage them to eat. The snake may discriminate on colour, size, type of prey, even the sex of the prey. A lot of the calories we use up during the day are spent regulating our body heat, for this reason snakes need less food intake than we do and can remain healthy through fasting for several months. Monty currently hasnt eaten for a couple of months, but is offered food every week.
He has never complained about being handled, but as with all life, I try and treat him with respect and try to ensure he has plenty of care and appropiate attention. My partner used to 'worry' that I would forget him wrapped round my wrist and nip to the shop sometimes, although he's too big and heavy for that now. I have attached another picture from last year.