While out on a beautiful African safari bush walk at South Africa’s Kapama Reserve one morning looking for the smaller things that nature has to offer, the bush offered an amazing surprise! We had spotted a few zebras, impala and giraffes and other general game enjoying the mid-morning sun and light breeze. While I was explaining a few facts about fauna and flora in the area, we came across a beautiful specimen that surprised myself as well as our guests. We found an African Rock Python.
A few interesting facts about the rock python
- The African rock Python is a non-venomous snake and kills by constriction
- Weighing in at around 50 kilograms with a length of approximately 4 metres, it can come across as very intimidating
- The African rock python is Africa’s largest snake
- It is one of the six largest snake species in the world (this includes the green anaconda, reticulated python, Burmese python, Indian python, and amethystine python)
- The head is triangular and marked on top with a dark brown “spear-head” outlined in buffy yellow
These are ambush-hunters and rely on stealth and cryptic coloration as camouflage. They will lie and wait for their prey and as soon as they come across it they will bite into them and wrap their bodies around the prey and slowly slowly constrict.
So why was the snake out in the open today. Well the reason is most probably because we are going into summer. The African rock python comes out of a semi-hibernation period. During the colder months they actively slow down their metabolism and consume as little energy as possible. But by this time they must be very thirsty and very hungry. This particular python was on the move and it seems it had been travelled quite a distance in search of the nearest water source.
A thrilling encounter for guests and it was great to share this with them.
Story and images by Ian de Weerd