The stunning African Rock Python is an absolutely huge snake! These animals often reach lengths of 15 feet, and thus may make difficult to keep, although impressive, captives.
Usually, African Rock Pythons can become tame with regular handling, although this species seems to vary in temperaments of individual snakes to a great degree. Because of their large size, African Rock Pythons with bad tempers are not desirable as pets, and have earned the species as a whole a rather bad reputation. In order to have a better chance of a tame snake, you should buy a captive bred animal. Many times, captive bred African Rock Pythons can become quite calm. Even captive bred snakes are not appropriate for beginning snake keepers. In the wild, African Rock Pythons remain hidden until prey passes by, when they snatch it. They are usually found near water and prefer to hunt submerged near streams. In the wild, African Rock Pythons prey on mammals, and may take animals as large as antelopes!
By maturity, African Rock Pythons can reach lengths between 18 and 20 feet, and some may grow more than 20 feet long. Lengths of up to 28 feet have been recorded. They are usually tan in color, and are blotched with dark brown patches outlined in black. Usually there is a prominent row of such markings over the back of the African Rock Python, and smaller lines of markings over its sides. The heads of African Rock Pythons are rather broad.
African Rock Pythons are native to Africa, where they are found in central and southern regions of the continent. They are listed in CITES class II, due to the loss of their habitats. African Rock Pythons are also used in the skin trade and hunted for meat, and sadly, they are not often bred in captivity. It is important to conserve the African Rock Python, the largest snake in Africa, in order to prevent it from becoming extinct.