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What Is a Mojave Ball Python?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 23 June 2014
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A Mojave ball python is a color morph of a ball python, a type of constrictor snake native to Africa. Popular in the pet trade, these snakes are purposefully bred for their distinctive pattern and may be crossed with other color morphs in order to produce designer, or uniquely colored, snakes. Also called a royal python, the scientific name for the ball python is Python regius.

Named for their tendency to curl into a ball when nervous, ball pythons are known for their distinctive mottled pattern of lines, blotches, and spots. A ball python's coloring is generally black outlining brown and gold. A Mojave ball python, on the other hand, swaps the black outlining for a more subtle brown which highlights its yellow-green and gray patterning.

Dan and Colette Sutherland were the first commercial breeders to successfully produce captive Mojave ball pythons in the year 2000. Since then, Mojave balls have been extremely popular in the pet trade and have been crossed with other color morphs to produce more color variations. Super Mojaves also exist. These are white snakes, called leucistic, which have blue eyes. A super Mojave ball python may be produced from two pure Mojaves or from a cross between a Mojave and another color morph.

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Ball pythons have round, muscular bodies. They usually reach lengths of 4 feet (1.2 m) long. These snakes also have small bumps near their back end that are vestigial legs, called anal spurs. Males' spurs are larger and their heads smaller than females. In captivity, ball pythons are relatively longed lived, the oldest reaching 48 years.

A pet Mojave ball python requires a 20–30 gallon (75–114 liter) tank that can be tightly covered. Hiding places, like hollow logs, need to be provided. Shredded fir bark or cypress may be used for ground covering. These snakes are naturally nocturnal and wild snakes spend their days hiding.

Both a basking area, kept at approximately 90°F (32.5°C) and a cooler area, heated between 80 and 85°F (27–29°C) are also necessary. At night, the cooler area may be allow to dip as low as 73°F (23°C), but the basking area should remain at 80°F (27°C). These areas allow the snakes to regulate their own body temperatures. Although they are used to heat, Mojave ball pythons are native to arid regions, so do not do well in high humidity. An dry tank with a water bowl large enough for the snake to lay in should be sufficient for its moisture needs.

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