Spider Ball Python

Python regius

Last updated: February 28, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit fivespots/Shutterstock.com

The spider ball python is known for having a head wobble.

Spider Ball Python Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Reptilia
Order
Squamata
Family
Pythonidae
Genus
Python
Scientific Name
Python regius

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Spider Ball Python Conservation Status

Spider Ball Python Locations

Spider Ball Python Locations

Spider Ball Python Facts

Fun Fact
The spider ball python is known for having a head wobble.
Litter Size
1-11 eggs
Diet
Carnivore
Common Name
Ball python

Spider Ball Python Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Black
Lifespan
20-50 years
Length
3-4.5 feet

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View all of the Spider Ball Python images!



“The spider ball python is known for having a head wobble.”

Adult spider ball pythons are between two and four and a half feet in length. Though they are ball pythons these snakes are known as morphs. They are morphs because their scale patterns vary from the typical ball python. These snakes have neurological problems that take the form of a head wobble. These snakes can have a lifespan of up to 50 years if they are cared for in captivity.

4 Spider Ball Python Amazing Facts

  • Its name comes from the spider web pattern on its scales
  • All of these morphs have a head wobble or tremble due to genetic neurological problems
  • The price of this snake can go up depending on the intricacy of its pattern
  • They are friendly pets if handled in a gentle way

Where to Find a Spider Ball Python

Ball pythons are native to western and central Africa. They live in grasslands, forests, and scrublands. The spider is a type of ball python bred in captivity since 1999.

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These snakes are kept as pets need an enclosure that maintains a temperature around 80-degrees Fahrenheit. Also, a 50% to 60% level of humidity is necessary to keep this snake healthy.

In the wild, ball pythons hide beneath leaf debris and inside hollow logs. So, putting cypress mulch or aspen shavings in the enclosure of a spider ball python gives it the material it needs to burrow, hide or both.

Pet pythons don’t brumate in the winter like snakes in the wild. Brumation is the reptile equivalent of hibernation in mammals. However, they may become less active during the winter season. These snakes are active in the spring and summer months.



Types of Ball Python Morphs

The spider is not the only morph of a ball python. Far from it! In fact, there are thousands of ball python morphs that belong to the Pythonidae family.

All ball python morphs have a head wobble or tremble to a greater or lesser degree. The spider ball python has the strongest head wobble of all the morphs. Sometimes their head wobble is so pronounced it prevents them from eating and resting. This can lead to malnutrition or illness.

These morphs share the scientific name (Python regius) of the ball python.

  • Banana ball python-A very popular morph of the ball python due to its bright yellow blotch pattern atop a tan background. They were first bred in 2003. Their original price back then was $25,000.
  • Pied ball python-Originally bred in 1997, this morph has dark brown and tan scales along with a blotchy pattern of brilliant white scales. The price for these morphs is between $300 and $400.
  • Bumblebee ball python-These morphs have yellow scales featuring black spots or stripes. They are available at a price of around $200.

Spider Ball Python Scientific Name

Python regius is the scientific name of the ball python and its morphs including the spider ball python. The Latin word regius means regal. The word regal relates to the legend that Queen Cleopatra used to wear ball pythons as bracelets because they were such docile snakes.

This snake belongs to the Pythonidae family and class Reptilia.

Population & Conservation Status

The population size of these snakes is unknown. The continued breeding of this snake has become controversial because of its genetic neurological problems. Furthermore, these morphs are no longer permitted at various yearly reptile expositions. But there are still breeders and snake owners interested in this snake with its intricate patterns.

How to Identify a Spider Ball Python: Appearance and Description

These ball python morphs have dark brown or tan scales with a pattern featuring narrow black lines that look similar to spider webs. They have dark greenish eyes with a yellow or tan belly sprinkled with dark spots.

Male spider ball pythons measure three to four feet long. Females are larger in size at up to four and a half feet. Occasionally, a female spider ball python reaches five feet in size. An adult spider ball python weighs five to six pounds.

This snake’s head wobble or head tremble is an (involuntary) behavior that lets you know it’s a ball python morph. Out of all of the thousands of ball python morphs with these neurological issues, the spider ball python is the snake with the most pronounced wobble.

How to identify this type of python:

  • Tan or dark brown scales with a pattern of black lines similar to spider webs
  • Dark, greenish eyes
  • Wobble or tremble of its head

Spider Ball Python Pictures

spider ball python in the grass
Spider ball pythons are known for having a head “wobble.”

Charles B. Cardell/Shutterstock.com

Spider ball python on plant
This type of snake feeds on rodents.

SusImage/Shutterstock.com

Spider ball python on black background
Spider ball pythons can live up to 50 years.

Sanne Romijn Fotografie/Shutterstock.com

Spider Ball Python: How Dangerous Are They?

This is a non-venomous snake. Plus, since they kill their prey by wrapping around it and squeezing it, these snakes don’t have fangs like a rattlesnake. But these ball python morphs do have teeth and they can bite.

These are timid snakes and unlikely to bite unless they feel cornered or are stressed out. For instance, a female that is molting or shedding her skin may bite someone who tries to pick her up. This is because a snake feels particularly vulnerable when molting. In addition, this snake may become stressed out and bite if someone is holding it in a way that makes the snake feel it is going to fall. Snakes can be seriously hurt if dropped onto the floor.

Most of the time, when a spider ball python feels threatened or frightened it will curl its body into a shape that looks like a ball. That’s the second reason behind this snake’s name.

Washing the injured area with soap and warm water is the best course of action if someone is bitten. Also, be sure to use first-aid cream to lessen the possibility of infection. See a doctor is the skin begins to look red or irritated.

Behavior and Humans

These snakes are bred and kept as pets, so they are fairly popular in the community of reptile owners. They are docile and curious snakes, so they can make good pets if treated with care. Remember the lifespan of this snake can go up to 50 years, so this pet requires a long-term commitment.

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About the Author

Ashley Haugen is a lifelong animal lover and professional writer and editor. When she's not immersed in A-Z-Animals.com, she can be found hanging out with her dogs and birds.

Spider Ball Python FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are spider ball pythons venomous?

Spider ball pythons are not venomous snakes.

How do spider ball pythons hunt?

If an owner puts a live mouse in this snake’s enclosure, it will stalk the rodent, wrap its body around it and suffocate it. Once the mouse is dead, the spider ball python swallows it whole.

Are spider ball pythons aggressive?

No, these snakes are docile and timid.

Where do spider ball pythons live?

Spider ball pythons are kept as pets. They can live in an aquarium or plastic enclosure as long as there is ample space, adequate humidity and a temperature maintained at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

What do spider ball pythons eat?

Mice, rats, and other rodents. Some pet owners feed their snakes live rodents while others buy frozen ones to feed this reptile. Sometimes it depends on how much the snake eats.

Why do spider ball pythons have neurological problems?

This snake’s head wobble or tremble are a result of neurological issues. These neurological issues are due to a particular gene they carry. This same gene gives them the spider web pattern. In short, these morphs are born with neurological problems.

Do spider ball pythons like to be held?

They like to be held if the person supports all of their weight in a secure and even way. If the snake feels it’s not being supported, it will become stressed and possibly bite. This is true with any type of snake regardless of its size.

Why can’t you breed spider ball pythons?

It is possible to breed them, but their head wobble is genetic. So, breeding a spider ball python means the babies will have the same issue. This is why some in the reptile community consider it irresponsible to breed spider ball pythons. They don’t want to continue a population of snakes with these inborn neurological issues.

What makes a spider ball python wobble?

They have this issue due to neurological problems they carry in their genes.

How long do spider ball pythons live?

They have a lifespan from 20 to 50 years.

Sources
  1. , Available here: https://www.monaconatureencyclopedia.com/python-regius/?lang=en
  2. , Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_python
  3. , Available here: https://reptilepetsrock.com/snakes/spider-ball-pythons-controversy
  4. , Available here: https://pethaver.com/spider-ball-python/
  5. , Available here: https://emborapets.com/spider-ball-pythons-15-cool-facts/
  6. , Available here: https://www.allthingsnature.org/what-is-a-spider-ball-python.htm

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