Nowadays, there are all kinds of exciting morphs that you can get when you adopt a reptile. When it comes to the Ball Python, many colorful mixes and morphs are available to engage new Ball Python owners. However, there is always something to be said for the classic, older morphs.
The Spider Ball Python morph is one of the earlier morphs of the famous Ball Python snake. They are one of the most common and play a heavy hand in many new mixes. If you want to own this snake or already have one of them, you are probably interested in the unique factors that went into this snake.
15 Interesting Facts About the Spider Ball Python
1. The Spider morph was one of the first morphs of the Ball Python.
There is a long history of morphology when it comes to the different reptilian species. It has been popular to own animals like snakes and lizards, and it has also been a widespread practice to breed them for their unique colors and patterns.
Nowadays, you can get so many different colors and patterns, it is a little mind-boggling. However, before these thousands of other morphs hit the scene, there was the Spider Ball Python. The Spider morph is one of the oldest and most common morphs for the Ball Python.
Spider Ball Pythons have a pattern that mainly affects their heads and tails. They have ropey patterns that almost droop across their bodies, making them look like they have more lines and webbing. Since many other morphs are spotted instead of lined, these are instantly recognizable. That is why they are so popular and well-loved.
2. Spider Ball Pythons have a head wobble.
Spider Ball Pythons have a fascinating genetic disorder. Although it doesn’t affect their daily lives or hurt them in any way, it is still something unique to this Python morph. A few other morphs have this wobbly head genetic trait, but not that many.
In the Spider Ball Python, this trait is dominant because almost all Spider Ball Pythons have it. The gene is complex, though, because when a Spider Ball Python is used with another morph to create something new, the gene rarely passes to their progeny.
The head wobble on the Spider Ball Python can either be a side-to-side movement, where it looks like they tell you “no” all the time. This one is not great for them to have because it often causes them to become more disoriented.
The other form of head wobble is the corkscrew. It looks similar to them moving their heads in a round pattern mixed with a figure-eight symbol.
3. The history and origination of the Spider Ball Python are heavily debated.
The Spider Ball Python has been bred widely for such a long time. However, there is still quite a bit of question over how they came about and whether they are a natural morph. Since they have the genetic head wobble, quite a few people argue that this specific morph’s breeding is cruel.
4. Another name for the Ball Python is the Royal Python.
They get this name from their history in Africa, as the skin from these snakes used to adorn the royalty of certain African tribes. They would capture the snakes and use them to make jewelry.
That information is why many believe that there is some credence to the myth that Cleopatra wore royal snakes. The myth gained even more traction after she was said to have killed herself using snake venom.
5. Ball Pythons are among the few snakes with motherly instincts.
The vast majority of snakes are not caring mothers. Instead, they find a warm place to lay their eggs, and once they are done, they leave.
Ball Pythons have motherly instincts, though. A mother snake finds an area that seems warm and safe and lays her eggs. Then, she wraps her body around them and incubates them, not moving until they are hatched.
This process can take up to 2 months, and it means she goes without food or water the entire time. They only reproduce about once a year to 2 years, so they don’t have to do this that often.
6. Ball Pythons are crepuscular snakes instead of nocturnal.
Ball Pythons are, in general, quite an exciting and unique snake species. Besides having motherly instincts that set them apart from most snakes, they also go about their daily lives differently.
The majority of snakes are nocturnal, meaning they spend most of their waking hours during the night. Ball Pythons can be nocturnal, but their active hours classify them as crepuscular more often than not.
Crepuscular means that they are most active during dawn and dusk. They spend most of their time underground and come to the surface during these twilight hours to hunt.
7. Ball Pythons are typically smaller than other Pythons.
Ball Pythons are not incredibly large snakes. Often, when we think of Pythons and snakes that use their physical strength to hunt and choke things, we imagine massive bodies swinging down from trees.
In the case of Ball Pythons, this isn’t true. Ball Pythons are about 3 to 5 feet long as females and only 2 to 3 feet long as males. That makes them quite a bit smaller in the spectrum of snake sizes.
8. Frogs are one of the Ball Python’s predators.
Because of the somewhat unique way that a Ball Python lives compared to other snakes, they have unique predators. Their predator selection also has to do with their size difference. Since they are smaller than many other snakes, they tend to get preyed on by larger snakes.
Their predators also include typical animals like birds and an assortment of omnivorous and carnivorous mammals. However, the strangest of them all are the frogs and spiders that are large enough to eat baby Ball Pythons if they can find them.
9. These snakes make excellent pets.
Ball Pythons have many factors that make them great pets for people who love snakes. Their size is one of them. You don’t have to worry about this snake steadily becoming so big that they outgrow a good-sized terrarium.
The most significant factor that makes these snakes perfect for humans that want a pet that slithers is how easy it is to handle them. They are incredibly docile and gentle. When they have grown up being held, you are even more likely to get an animal that enjoys human interaction and feels comfortable with you.
10. Ball Pythons can still injure humans.
It is essential to remember that even though these snakes are quite gentle and docile, they are still wild creatures. Just as you might do something to make a sweet dog angry enough to nip at you, these snakes will lash out if heavily provoked.
Always remember to respect the creatures that you keep as pets. These exotic animals have been bred over many years to be docile, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them the peaceful life and handling that they deserve.
The bite of a Ball Python is not venomous and won’t kill you. It will, however, be irritating and hurt quite a bit. That said, this is not a Python that can quickly wrap so quickly around you that they do a significant amount of damage.
These snakes do enjoy wrapping around your arms or waist as you handle them, but you can always quickly unwrap them.
11. Ball Python’s population is threatened by being hunted for sale.
Ball Pythons are among the many exotic creatures that suffer from humans’ interest in owning them as a household pet. Ball Pythons are often hunted in the wild to be sold to various pet stores throughout North America.
They are not currently listed as a threatened species, but their populations throughout their native habitats have seen distinct declines through trapping and climate change.
Because of this, it is good to do your research on where the Ball Python that you want to adopt comes from. If you get them from a breeder, you can know more about where they come from and how they have been treated. It is almost always better to get a captive-bred animal because it guarantees you aren’t encouraging illegal hunting in other continents.
12. Ball Pythons have spurs.
Ball Pythons have an attractive physical build. They are aesthetically beautiful for many people interested in snakes. One of their visually pleasing aspects is the spurs that run along their underbellies.
The spurs on these animals are claw-like and found in greater quantity toward the lower end of the snake. The female’s spurs are often smaller than the male’s because the males need to use them for reproductive purposes.
There is a myth that the spurs on these Pythons are the remnants of the snake’s back legs lost throughout the process that is evolution. This idea has not been proven true but can be fun (or terrifying) to imagine.
13. The Spider Ball Python is one of about 6,555 different morphs.
The Spider Ball Python might have been one of the earlier morphs, but they are now no longer one of the most interesting in appearance or characteristics. There are currently an estimated 6,555 different kinds of recorded morphs of the Ball Python.
14. They are originally from Africa, making their home in grasslands.
Unlike most exotic snakes that make their home in tropical areas in South America and Asia, these snakes originate from Africa.
Throughout Africa, the Ball Python lives in the savannahs, edges of woodlands, and grasslands. They find abandoned burrows and holes previously dug by mammals and make their homes inside them.
15. Ball Pythons get their name from their defense mechanism.
Our interesting fact has to do with the etymology of the common name for this snake. The Ball Python gets their name from their number-one defense mechanism: Whenever they feel frightened, they will curl up into a tight ball to make them less of a target. From that tightly coiled position, they wait for the predator to get close, and then they attack. Their bite isn’t venomous, but it does hurt, especially for smaller mammals and reptiles.
Featured Image Credit: Natnaphat, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.