Royal python require a wooden vivarium as their enclosure. This is because wood is an excellent insulator of heat and so a wooden vivarium will make it easier to control the crucial temperatures required inside the habitat. Other enclosures such as glass terrariums are far too efficient at releasing heat. The wooden vivarium should have good ventilation to allow air flow in and out of the enclosure.
The royal python's vivarium should be at least 860mm (34") in length. There are 2 main reasons for this; firstly royal pythons are not small reptiles and can easily grow to 1500mm in length. They require a proportionate amount of space to live happily. Secondly, the vivarium needs to have a sufficient length to allow for the creation of a temperature gradient. The enclosure needs to be warm at one end, but have enough distance for the temperature to drop at the cool end.
Royal pythons require a warm basking area but a near constant air temperature. A basking area of 88of and cool end of around 85of is created using a ceramic heat emitter. These radiate heat but produce no light. This bulb should be protected with a bulb guard and controlled by a good quality thermostat. This temperature can remain constant day and night so there is no need to turn off your heating equipment. Temperatures should be monitored daily using a thermometer.
To light the enclosure we would use LED bulbs.. These can be on for 10-12 hours a day but should be turned off at night to ensure the snake gets a good day/night cycle.
Royal pythons should always be kept on a dry substrate so not to increase the humidity inside the vivarium. Whilst any loose substrate has the potential to be accidentally swallowed, we have found this to not be a problem with coarse beech woodchips and that is what we keep our royal pythons on. It is also very easy to clean.
Whilst royal pythons are not an arboreal snakes, they do like to climb on top of things to survey their surroundings. The vivarium should be decorated with various pieces of wood to enable them to do this.
The royal python vivarium can be decorated with artificial plants for a more natural look. A hiding spot at each end of the enclosure will allow the snake to move freely and thermoregulate without feeling insecure.
As hatchlings, royal pythons should be fed weekly on defrosted pinky mice, as the snake grows the food size should be increased until the snake is taking either extra large mice or small rats. Adult royal pythons can be fed once every two weeks as they can become overweight if fed weekly.
A water bowl large enough for the snake to get in to should be provided on the cool end of the enclosure.
If you keep a male and female together, they may breed. You do not need to do anything to encourage this, providing they are healthy and the conditions are good, it will happen naturally. You need to consider whether you want this to happen. What will you do with the babies if you incubate the eggs?
A gravid female should have access to a nesting box to lay her eggs. The box should be large enough that she can fully turn-around inside it. We use moss to keep the box moist and humid.
The eggs should be incubated in an incubator at 84oF. We incubate our eggs in sealed boxes on a moisture rich substrate (such as Hatchrite) to trap the humidity around the eggs. After approximately 60 days the eggs will start to hatch, the first babies to emerge will encourage the rest of the eggs to hatch.