Ball pythons are great snakes for beginner snakes owner. They can grow to a max size of 3 to 5 feet, but they aren’t as big as other pet constrictors.
This makes the ball pythons easy to handle, which allows handlers to explore their docile nature easily.
Ball python profile
- Common name: Ball Python
- Scientific name: Python Regius
- Fully grown size: 3 to 4 feet
- Life expectancy: Can live for 20 to 30 years. Some even live up to 50 years.
Behavior and temperament
Ball pythons got their name from how they respond when threatened. They simply roll their body into a ball shape and tucking their head into their coils.
With proper care, ball pythons can live for a very long time, and young ball pythons can grow up to a foot every year for three years.
Snakes that are captured in the wild often become stressed when transported and may carry loads of parasites. However, parasite-free ball pythons are mostly captive-bred and are readily available, even though they are more expensive than snakes captured in the wild.
Housing a ball python
Ball pythons aren’t overly active snakes. They would remain comfortable even in smaller enclosures. For younger snakes, “10 to 20-gallon tank can be used”, while a 30-gallon tank is suitable for adult ball pythons.
Regardless of the space provided for your pet, ensure to properly secure the top or anywhere escape might be possible. This is because ball pythons are considered impressive escape artists.
You can create a comfortable environment for them by including newsprint, shredded bark, and AstroTurf. AstroTurf can easily be cut into few pieces till it fits the enclosure.
The used pieces can be washed and reused by soaking them into a solution of a gallon of water and two teaspoons of bleach. Then rinse and dry properly before using them again.
Sturdy branches and dark corners where they can hide should be provided. Snakes like to go into hiding sometimes that way they feel more secure.
The cage should maintain a temperature between 27 to 29 C (80 and 85 F) during the day, with a resting spot of around 32 C (90 F). Temperature can drop to about 23 to 24 C (75 F) at night, provided an area of 80 F is available.
A heating pad designed to work under the tank helps in heat regulation for reptiles but may be challenging to use monitoring temperature. A ceramic heating element or an incandescent heat bulb is a better option to use in getting a suitable temperature.
Ensure not to use hot rocks with your snakes, or any pet reptile. Burns may occur if your pet has direct contact with the direct heat source. Make sure to screen off the source of heat, so your pets don’t get hurt.
Multiple thermometers should be used to monitor cage temperature. Ensure the basking spot and the bottom of the enclosure is controlled by separate thermometers.
Soaking is essential, especially during shedding. A large dish big enough to accommodate and soak your snake should be provided.
Most snake owners place their snakes in a covered dish withholds in the lid. The helps to provide security for your ball python, and it helps it soak longer if needed.
Feeding ball pythons
Ball pythons would take mice or even small to medium-sized rats. Live preys can stress the snakes or also injure them. Dangling pre-killed prey in front of the ball pythons gets them interested.
You also don’t have to worry about feeding them all the time since young ball pythons eat once every week, while the adults feed on larger preys, and can go up to two weeks before each meal.
Feeding the snake outside its enclosure is ideal because it helps with the taming process. It helps the snake understand that feeding happens outside its enclosure, and would less likely attack when you put your hand inside the cage.
Common health problems of ball pythons
Immediate quarantine is required if you are introducing any new snake or snakes to your home when you already have constrictors beforehand. This is to help minimize the risk of likely infections.
You could consult with your vet to know long you should quarantine your pet for. Your vet may need to check your pet’s fecal matter for parasites or other condition that may be present.
Sometimes captive ball pythons may refuse to eat and could go on for months. You have nothing to worry about when this happens, as long as they don’t look sick and their weight is normal.
You could carefully examine the health, handling, husbandry, and snake’s environment to make sure these factors aren’t the reason why your ball python is refusing to eat.
You could consult with your vet for examination if your snake has been fasting for too long and the weight loss is unusual.
Picking a ball python
You can get ball pythons from snake breeder. A young ball python should be your primary target. Ensure the snake is healthy by checking to see if it’s well-rounded on the body, has no respiratory issues like bubbles around the nostril and wheezing, and it has clean eyes.
Make sure you pick a ball python that gently grips your hand or arm when handled. You have nothing to fear if it gets skittish, it should calm down after a while.
Look out for active and curious snakes and if you could, ask for a feeding demonstration so you can be sure that your snake has no problem with feeding.
So you have any snake pet? Is any of the pet a ball python? How have you been caring for them? Share with us in the comments.