African rock python

Python sebae

Pythons are the largest species of snake in Africa. They live in grasslands and savanna near water and occasionally in forest edges in sub-Saharan Africa. They are carnivores. In Greek mythology, the Python was a serpent that was the guardian of the cult at Delphi.

Rock python behavior and facts

  • Pythons are nonvenomous; they kill prey by suffocating it, squeezing it between their coils.
  • This python species is highly dependent on water. It often submerges itself near the banks of a stream and waits for prey.
  • Rock pythons are dormant during the dry season.
  • When they are young, African rock pythons prey on small rodents and birds. As they grow to adult size, they prey on larger animals, including small antelope, warthogs, dogs, monkeys, waterfowl, goats and crocodiles.

From birth to death

  • Females lay up to 100 eggs and defend them aggressively.
  • Incubation: 2 to 3 months
  • Hatchlings: 18 to 24 inches long
  • Lifespan: up to 30 years in captivity

Vital statistics

  • Length: 20 to 30 feet
  • Weight: up to 250 pounds


"Vulnerable" in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. (CITES is an international treaty controlling the trade of threatened and endangered plants and animals.) Agriculture and urban development have reduced its range.

Pythons, the Oregon Zoo and you

Bob is the zoo's African rock python. He lives in the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit. He is fed a rabbit twice a month.

African rock python at the Oregon Zoo

  • Bob – male
  • Born 1989
  • Arrived at the Oregon Zoo on Sept. 18, 1996