There are 26 species of pythons; the ball python is one of those species. Pythons are constrictors, which means they wrap their bodies around their prey and squeeze them until they suffocate. Ball pythons are one of the smallest of all pythons, and they only grow to about three or four feet long. Known as the royal python in Europe, the United States named the python after their tendency to coil up into a ball with their head in the middle when they are feeling shy or threatened. This snake is a favorite in the pet trade due to its docile, gentle behavior. They are not particularly nippy and they are relatively low maintenance. Unfortunately, their numbers are dwindling due to poaching for meat and leather in Africa; however, their biggest threat to these animals in the wild is the exotic pet trade. They come in a variety of colors that can be manipulated through selective breeding to produce some very striking animals.