Python regius 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Pythonidae

Scientific Name: Python regius (Shaw, 1802)
Common Name(s):
English Ball Python, Royal Python
French Python Royal
Boa regia Shaw, 1802
Python belii Gray, 1842

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Auliya, M. & Schmitz, A.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Python regius is exploited for the pet trade, but has been assessed as Least Concern as the suspected population decline is not large enough to warrant threatened status. This species has a large range and can be found in a variety of natural and altered habitats. However, the trade of this species should still be carefully monitored and the numbers exploited should be reduced.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a wide distribution from Sudan and Uganda across central Africa and throughout west Africa to Senegal.
Countries occurrence:
Benin; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Mali; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Togo; Uganda
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no population data available for this species.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits dry areas, from grassland to open forests. It can also be found in agricultural land. This species is an important species for rodent pest control.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In western Africa, this species is locally killed for meat and leather. It is also an extremely popular snake in the international pet trade. Current trends include the breeding of various colour morphs, of which some can fetch 10,000 Euros (M. Auliya pers. comm.). This species is successfully ranched in some West African countries.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Locally, this species is poached for meat and leather. However, their biggest threat is the international pet trade. In West Africa, many thousands are captured annually and exported. In 1998, Walls states in some areas of western Africa it is likely that repeated loss of clutches to the pet trade may be leading to local extirpation of the species (Walls 1998). Captive breeding activities were thought to provide a degree of protection for this species, however, it was found that captive breeding does not confer any significant conservation benefit on the species (Jenkins 1998).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on CITES Appendix II. Further research into the harvest levels of this species is suggested. Improved captive breeding strategies may help in reducing the pressure from the pet trade.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

Bibliography [top]

Auliya, M. 2007. pers. Comm. Red List Assessment.

Cimatti, E. 2001. Python anchietae: Anchieta's Dwarf Python. Reptilia 18: 62-66.

Gray, J.E. 1842. Synopsis of the species of prehensile-tailed snakes, or family Boidae. The Zoological Miscellany 2: 41-46.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: (Accessed: 27 October 2010).

Jenkins, R.W.G. 1998. Management and use of Python regius in Benin and Togo. Report prepared for Directorate General XI The Commission of the European Union.

Rangel, E. 1999. Python regius, Animal Diversity Web.

Raxworthy, C.J, and Attuquayefio, D.K. 2000. Herptetofaunal Communities at Muni Lagoon in Ghana. Biodiversity and Conservation 9(4): 501-510.

Spawls, S., Howell, K.M., Drewes, R.C. and Ashe, J. 2002. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, Elsevier Science, San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Boston, London.

University of Michigan. 2006. Animal Diversity Web. Available at:

Walls, J.G. 1998. The Living Pythons – A Complete Guide to the Pythons of the World. T.F.H Public. Inc.

Citation: Auliya, M. & Schmitz, A. 2010. Python regius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T177562A7457411. . Downloaded on 25 June 2018.
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