African rock python coming towards camera

African rock python

The rock python is Africa’s largest snake with a particularly aggressive reputation. Reaching lengths up to 7m and weights of 90kg they have a devastating power to constrict. Their incredible size means large prey can be tackled such as monkeys, warthogs, antelopes and even crocodiles.

A rock python is nonvenomous but still uses its curved teeth on unfortunate victims to anchor itself, before coiling around and suffocating, then swallowing it whole. Prey is located by odour using well-developed Jacobson’s organs and heat-sensing pits. Yet these formidable carnivores are themselves preyed upon by hyenas and wild dogs. Despite this ferocity there is a gentle side to the rock python: females coil around their eggs to protect them; hatchlings are up to 50cm long and independent.

Scientific name: Python sebae

Rank: Species

Watch video clips from past programmes (3 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


The African rock python can be found in a number of locations including: Africa. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the African rock python distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web