Full Name: Southern African Python (Python natalensis)
Other Names: Suider-Afrika Luislang;
Previously known as: African Rock Python
Classification: CAN INFLICT A NASTY BITE
The Southern African Python is by far our largest snake, reaching a maximum length of around 5.5 m and weighing around 65 kg. It used to be a subspecies of the African Rock Python (Python sebae), but is now recognised as a full species.
It feeds largely on warm-blooded prey like small antelope, monkeys, game birds and dassies, but also takes leguaans and even crocodiles. Attacks on humans are rare and fatalities virtually unheard of.
This snake is largely active at night, but is fond of basking during the day. It is at home in water and can remain submerged for long periods.
Females produce 30 – 60 (but in exceptional cases more than 100) eggs, which are roughly the size of a tennis ball. The female remains with her eggs throughout incubation and the young measure 50 – 70 cm in length.
Though protected in most provinces, the Southern African Python is listed as “Least concerned” in the current Reptile Atlas.