Python regius is a nonvenomous python species found in Africa. This is the smallest of the African pythons and is popular in the pet trade. No subspecies are currently recognized. They are also known as royal pythons or ball pythons. The name ball python refers to the animal's tendency to curl into a ball when stressed or frightened. The name royal python (from the Latin "regius") is based in part on the story that Cleopatra supposedly wore the snake around her wrist.
Prefers grasslands, savannas and sparsely wooded areas.
This species is particularly revered in the traditional religion of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. It is considered symbolic of the earth, being an animal that travels so close to the ground. Even among many Christian Igbos, these pythons are treated with great care whenever they happen to wander into a village or onto someone's property; they are allowed to roam freely or are very gently picked up and placed out in a forest or field away from any homes. If one is accidentally killed, many communities in Igboland will still build a coffin for the snake's remains and give it a short funeral.