Are Ball Pythons Colubrids?

Ball pythons are a popular choice for pet owners due to their docile nature and manageable size. However, there is often confusion surrounding their classification as a colubrid or not. To clear up any misconceptions, it’s important to understand the characteristics of colubrids and how they relate to ball pythons.

The term colubrid refers to a family of snakes that includes over two-thirds of all known species. While ball pythons share some similarities with colubrids, they actually belong to a separate family known as Pythonidae. Understanding the differences between these two families can help owners better care for their ball pythons and appreciate their unique qualities.

Yes, ball pythons are colubrids. They belong to the family Colubridae, which is the largest family of snakes. Colubrids are known for their diversity in size, behavior, and habitat. Ball pythons are also popular pets due to their docile nature and manageable size.

Are Ball Pythons Colubrids?

Are Ball Pythons Colubrids? An In-Depth Look

Ball pythons are a popular pet snake due to their gentle nature and manageable size. However, there is often confusion about their classification. Are ball pythons colubrids? In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and provide a comprehensive understanding of these fascinating creatures.

What are Colubrids?

Colubrids are a family of snakes that make up the largest group of snakes worldwide, with over 2,000 species. They are found in almost every habitat on Earth and range in size from small, harmless species to large, deadly snakes. Colubrids have a wide variety of physical characteristics, but they all share certain traits, including:

  • A flexible jaw that allows them to swallow prey whole
  • Keel scales that help them move efficiently on the ground
  • A venomous or non-venomous bite
  • A diverse diet that includes insects, rodents, fish, and other snakes

What are Ball Pythons?

Ball pythons, also known as royal pythons, are a species of snake native to central and western Africa. They are one of the smallest pythons, growing to an average length of 3-5 feet. Ball pythons are popular pets due to their docile nature and manageable size. They are also easy to care for, making them a great choice for first-time snake owners.

Ball Python Characteristics
Scientific NamePython regius
Size3-5 feet
Lifespan20-30 years
Natural HabitatCentral and Western Africa

Are Ball Pythons Colubrids?

The short answer is no, ball pythons are not colubrids. They belong to a different family of snakes called Pythonidae, which includes all pythons and boas. Unlike colubrids, which have a wide range of physical characteristics, pythons and boas share certain traits, including:

  • A large size, with some species growing up to 30 feet long
  • A muscular body and strong jaws that allow them to kill prey by constriction
  • A lack of venom, relying instead on their size and strength to overpower prey
  • A diet that consists mostly of mammals and birds

Benefits of Keeping a Ball Python

Ball pythons make great pets for a number of reasons. They are docile and easy to handle, making them a good choice for first-time snake owners. They also have a relatively small size, making them easy to keep in a terrarium or other enclosure. Additionally, ball pythons are relatively low maintenance, requiring only a few feedings per week and minimal cleaning.

  • Docile and easy to handle
  • Relatively small size
  • Low maintenance

Ball Pythons vs Colubrids

While ball pythons and colubrids may look similar, there are several key differences between the two. Colubrids are generally more active and require more space than ball pythons. They also have a wider variety of physical characteristics and can be more difficult to care for. Ball pythons, on the other hand, are docile and easy to handle, making them a great choice for first-time snake owners.

  • Colubrids are more active and require more space
  • Colubrids can be more difficult to care for
  • Ball pythons are docile and easy to handle


While ball pythons may share some physical characteristics with colubrids, they are not part of the same family of snakes. Ball pythons belong to the Pythonidae family, which includes all pythons and boas. Understanding the differences between these two groups can help you make an informed decision when choosing a pet snake. Whether you decide on a ball python or a colubrid, both can make fascinating and rewarding pets when cared for properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a colubrid?

A colubrid is a type of snake that belongs to the family Colubridae. This family is one of the largest and most diverse groups of snakes, with over 2,000 species worldwide. Colubrids can be found in a wide range of habitats, from deserts to rainforests, and they vary greatly in size, shape, and behavior.

Some common colubrids include kingsnakes, garter snakes, and rat snakes. These snakes are often kept as pets due to their ease of care and docile nature.

What are the characteristics of a colubrid?

Colubrids are generally non-venomous and have a wide range of feeding habits. Some species are active hunters while others are ambush predators, and some even feed on other snakes. Colubrids have a single lung and a flexible jaw that allows them to swallow prey whole.

Most colubrids are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs, although some are viviparous and give birth to live young. They also have a wide range of reproductive strategies, from laying a few large eggs to laying dozens of small eggs.

Do ball pythons belong to the family Colubridae?

Yes, ball pythons (Python regius) are a species of snake that belong to the family Colubridae. Despite their common name, they are not actually pythons, which belong to the family Pythonidae. Ball pythons are native to sub-Saharan Africa and are popular pets due to their small size and docile nature.

While they are technically colubrids, they are often grouped separately from other members of the family due to their unique characteristics, such as their small size and nocturnal habits.

What is the difference between ball pythons and other colubrids?

Compared to other colubrids, ball pythons are relatively small, with adults typically reaching 3-5 feet in length. They are also nocturnal, which means they are more active at night than during the day. Ball pythons are also known for their docile nature, making them popular pets.

Other colubrids, such as kingsnakes and rat snakes, are often larger and more active during the day. While they can still make good pets, they may require more space and attention than ball pythons.

Are ball pythons easy to care for?

Yes, ball pythons are generally considered to be easy to care for and make good pets for beginner snake owners. They require a relatively small enclosure, a heat source, and a hiding spot. They also only need to be fed once every 1-2 weeks, depending on their size and age.

However, it’s important to remember that all snakes require proper care and attention to stay healthy. Owners should do their research and make sure they are prepared to provide for their snake’s needs before bringing one home as a pet.

DO NOT Get A Pet Ball Python Until You Watch This!

In conclusion, the question of whether ball pythons are colubrids is a complicated one that has been the subject of much debate and discussion among herpetologists and reptile enthusiasts. While there are similarities between ball pythons and colubrids, such as their elongated bodies and lack of limbs, there are also key differences that set them apart.

One of the main differences is that colubrids have a specialized tooth structure that allows them to grab and hold onto their prey, while ball pythons lack this feature. Additionally, ball pythons have a unique heat-sensing organ that allows them to detect prey in the dark, a trait that is not found in colubrids.

Despite these differences, some experts still classify ball pythons as colubrids due to their shared ancestry and other similarities in their genetic makeup. Ultimately, however, the classification of ball pythons as colubrids is a matter of interpretation and may vary depending on who you ask.

Regardless of their classification, ball pythons are fascinating and beautiful creatures that make great pets for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to care for them properly. Whether you consider them colubrids or not, there is no denying the unique qualities and characteristics that make ball pythons such a beloved species among reptile enthusiasts.