Buying a Royal (Ball) Python
This guide is not intended to be a care sheet for the care of Royal Pythons, If you are looking for a good care sheet on Royal Pythons then have a look at our Royal Python care sheet provided by and reproduced with kind permission from Bob Clark http://www.livefoodsbypost.co.uk/royal-ball-python-care-sheet-445-c.asp
There is often a lot of discussion on the internet of Captive Farmed vs captive Bred stock when considering your Royal Python purchase, Virtually almost all of the Royal Pythons you will see for sale in pet shops will be captive farmed individuals. Captive farming is when eggs are harvested from wild populations and incubated in captivity, when the snakes hatch they are sent to the UK for sale, This trade is controlled and Royal Pythons are only imported during April to May. This is the best time in our opinion to purchase a Captive farmed Royal Python, Providing it is a hatchling it will usually have not had its neonatal shed (first) yet and will have yet to have fed for the first time, These snakes are in our experience in fantastic condition and free from mites, ticks or parasites, although treating for worms and parasites as part of a regular quarantine procedure wouldnt go a miss.
A problem with captive farmed royals can be non feeders, this is something you should bear mind if buying a captive farmed Royal Python outside the months of April - May, Now that the snake is a few months old has it started feeding yet? is it feeding regularly? strike feeding? is it gaining weight? This is where a pet shop worth its salt can help out - a good shop will keep feeding, shedding and weight records for each of its Royals. Ask to see the feeding record before purchasing and insist on having a copy when you buy one.
Be wary of unscrupulous sellers passing off captive farmed Royals as captive Bred outside of the import season, it has been known for people to pass off underweight non feeding captive farmed royals as hatchling captive bred stock!
If you are not experienced with snakes then it may be a good idea to buy a captive bred royal python, the best place to buy a captive bred Royal is obviously the breeders! there are many private breeders of Royal Pythons as well as specialist shops that breed their own stock, Most breeders will only sell their babies as established feeders and you should always insist on seeing the parents to ensure the above paragraph about unscrupulous sellers doesnt apply!