Ball pythons are one of the most popular nonnative snakes in the pet trade. While they can be confused with Burmese pythons, adult ball pythons rarely grow longer than 4 feet. Although ball pythons have been found in the wild, there are no known reproducing populations.

Ball Python
Ball python
Photo credit Adam Stern

Typical ball pythons are dark brownish black in color and have lighter tan blotches along the back and sides.

The following characteristics help distinguish ball pythons from other snakes.

  1. Blotches are rounded
  2. Blotches sometimes have dark spots within the lighter tan color
  3. Blotches resemble dumbbells or alien head

Ball Python Head
Ball pythons, like Burmese pythons, have a dark wedge on the back of the head
Photo credit Pat Lynch/SFWMD

Compare the images above of a ball python to this image of a Burmese python, and note the differences.

Burmese PythonBurmese python
Photo credit Pat Lynch/SFWMD

  1. Ball pythons have light tan markings on a dark background but Burmese have dark brown markings on a lighter tan background.
  2. Ball python blotches are rounded but Burmese python blotches are angular.

Other nonnative snakes that have been reported in Florida


Native snakes that Burmese pythons are often misidentified as


Additional resources

Learn more about pythons in Florida


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