This gorgeous snake is a lovely adult male ROYAL PYTHON named Rafiki. I chose this name as royal pythons come from Africa where the Swahili language is spoken and Rafiki is the Swahili word for ‘friend’, which seems entirely suitable for such a calm, friendly snake!

Rafiki the royal python

Hatched in Sunderland in 1999, Rafiki is the oldest animal in my collection as well as being one of the longest-serving members of the Jungle Roadshow team! He is exceptionally popular with everyone he meets as he is fantastic in every way and so calm and docile when being handled.

Rafiki the royal python in the garden

In the picture directly below you can clearly see a series of pink holes or ‘pits’ between the eye and the front of Rafiki’s head. These are very special heat-sensing pits which the majority of pythons have, and which are used to literally detect the heat (or infrared thermal radiation) of their surroundings. If a rodent or other warm-blooded prey item comes close to them whilst they are hunting, a royal python can detect with incredible accuracy the warmest parts of the body to strike at!

Close up of a royal python

In September 2021 I acquired a second royal python – this one is a baby which hatched in Essex on June 15th 2021! He is a beautiful individual with a high contrast between his yellow and dark brown markings. 

Royal python
Royal python
Royal python