Ball pythons in the wild
Ball pythons are native to West-Africa. In 2016 I had the chance to visit The Gambia and Senegal, where ball pythons can be found in the wild. West-Africa has a dry season ranging from the end of october to early june. During this period there is little to no precipitation. During the wet season, ranging from july to september, humidity rises and chances of rain increase significant. It is during the summer period when it is hot and humid that reptiles can be seen. It appears that humidity is very important for ball pythons as well. Reptiles and ball pythons seem to be more active just after rain. This is not surprising since insects become active as well. These attract other animals that can serve as a food source for reptiles.
The wet season is also called 'the green season' because everything starts to grow and flourish. Food is plentiful for small mammals and they reproduce during this season, making it an ideal time to start reproduction for ball python as well. It has been observed by many that chances of a lock in captivity increase when the male is introduced during a summer storm. This fits in perfectly. Similar to the green season in Africa it will be hot and humid during a summer storm. Ball pythons are also known to be stubborn feeders, often refusing food for weeks or even months. A reason can be that the room or the tank is to dry, mimicking the dry season. It is during this dry season that ball pythons aestivate, some sort of hibernation where they stop feeding.
Ball pythons are mainly found inside termite mounds, where rock pythons can also be found. These termite mound appear to be almost anywhere in the country, except for coastal dunes. I Have been on snake hunt on two occasions but the conditions where not optimal. I did not find any ball pythons but was lucky enough to observe many other reptiles. Among them where nile monitors and as crown jewel a juvenile black spitting cobra!
If you ever plan to visit the Gambia don't hesitate to contact me as I would be happy to share my experience!
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