Ball Python Enclosure Ideas?

Ball python terrarium decorations are more than just furniture or accessories to make a reptiles terrarium look prettier. While they can serve an important aesthetic function, they enhance a reptiles quality of life by mimicking their natural environment and providing mental stimulation (or as zoos call it, enrichment). And since ball pythons like to hide, feel free to clutter it up! Contrary to popular belief, snakes are not stupid creatures that can be perfectly content living in a virtually empty box. They are complex animals that science is just beginning to understand. For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, I recommend reading Environmental Enrichment For Reptiles: What? Why? and How?

Coming from my background (snake biomechanics) NOTHING about the ball python morphology is consistent with an animal which spends all their time in a termite mound. Choose a heavy ceramic bowl or equivalent so the snake doesnt accidentally knock it over and soak their substrate.

Humans might get claustrophobia, but there is nothing that a ball python loves more than to be cramped in a space where its whole body is pressing against walls, because that means that a predator cant get in. It is a common misconception that ball pythons are strictly terrestrial, and simply too clumsy to risk offering them climbing opportunities. It was not until I was returning to my camp that I saw the royal python about ten feet high in the tree, an old mahagiya ( Celtis integrifolia ).

By this tedious process the snake investigated most of the tree, spending almost half an hour from the time that I came upon it, but without finding any supper. This habit is most often attributed to males, but many females have also been reported to be avid climbers, so provide climbing opportunities regardless of sex.

What do ball pythons like in their tank?

Like most pet snakes, Ball pythons need supplemental heating in their enclosure. Many shop-purchased plastic enclosures for snakes may already come with heating tape on the bottom. Heating tape or a heating mat is ideal as it heats from the snake’s underbelly and can be installed to heat a specific area of the tank.

How do I keep my ball python entertained?

Set Up a Natural Vivaria Rather than a Utilitarian Habitat. ….Take Your Ball Python for a Backyard Stroll. ….Turn Your Pet’s Habitat into a Multi-Level Enclosure. ….Provide Climbing Opportunities for Your Pet. ….Re-arrange the Enclosure Furniture Periodically. ….Take Your Snake for a Swim.

What is a good size cage for a ball python?

A small snake in a big cage can become overwhelmed and stressed. Adult ball pythons do not require exceptionally large or elaborate enclosures either. A 36-inch by 18-inch by 12-inch enclosure will more than comfortably house an adult ball python. Spot-clean your ball python’s enclosure as necessary.

Looking for a life-long pet reptile? Then look no further than a ball python! This snake is perfect for first-time owners as well as being great for enthusiasts looking to add to their collection.

Continue reading to learn more about their diet, housing, tank requirements, and the best places to buy one from. Ball pythons are popular pets due to their friendly nature, incredibly long lifespan and variety of appearances and colors.

Native to the grasslands of West and Central Africa , ball pythons are carnivores of small mammals, and in the wild, their diet includes shrews, rodents, and birds. Pet Ball Pythons are easy to feed , have a docile temperament towards humans, and are generally in great health. Summary TableCommon NamesBall or Royal PythonScientific NamePython regiusAdult SizeFemales between three to five feet and Males two to three feetAdult Weight2-4 poundsLifespan20 to 30 yearsDietMice & Rats (Pinky, Small and Medium)Tank SizePlastic, 30-40 gallon vivariumTemperatureHumidity between 50- 60%
Temperatures between 88-92F (daytime) and 82-83F (night-time)Popular AlternativesCorn snake, Boa constrictor

Ball pythons are native to West and Central Africa where they typically reside in grasslands and shrublands. Like other snakes , when not hunting for prey, these guys love to spend time in hidey-holes close to the ground. In the wild, it has been noted that males occasionally venture vertically into trees, while females tend to remain at ground level .

In captivity, ball pythons are low maintenance and dont have any special dietary requirements. Plastic vivariums (with a covered top, bottom and sides) are favored for pythons because of the privacy it affords them and security it provides them with. A plastic cage will also makes it ideal for maintaining correct temperatures and humidity levels with a secure top deterring any budding escape artists!

Decorate the enclosure with other fake fauna, rocks and places to hide to encourage exploration: Hatchlings should have at least one hide box and some fake fauna & rocks in their enclosure Include at least two hide boxes (half logs or cork bark tubes work great) for your adult ball pythons, one on the cool side and the other on the warmer side of the enclosure Heating and Lighting Ball pythons do not require any special-lighting (e.g. UVB) in their tank, however normal day-night cycles should be mimicked as well as possible.

Do not place the enclosure directly next to a window , you cannot control the intensity or duration of the suns rays! Providing both a cooler and warmer side in their tank is essential as it gives your ball python a choice and better replicates their natural environment. The best substrates for retaining moisture can help you in maintaining optimal humidity levels inside the enclosure.

Cypress mulch will help to retain moisture, is relatively inexpensive and allows your snake to burrow slightly! Tank TipsTank TypePlastic vivarium 30-40 gallon for adultsLightingNo special lightingHeatingHeating tapeBest SubstrateCypress mulch In their native habitat, the ball pythons diet consist of small mammals (e.g. shrews, rats) and birds.

Frozen mice and rats can be purchased from commercial providers and should be thawed warmed to room-temperature before feeding : Most captive ball pythons are fed with frozen-thawed rodents from the time they hatch and are usually acclimated to this type of meal. Diet SummaryFruits0% of dietInsects0% of dietMeat100% of diet small or medium sized ratsSupplements RequiredN/A Python regius in a ball.Most diseases and health problems can be avoided by taking proper care of your snake through appropriate feeding, correct enclosure-size, suitable temperature & humidity, and reducing stress.

Incomplete shedding can happen to any snake and can be easily prevented if you provide adequate humidity in their enclosure. It is important, before purchasing, to make sure your ball python is free of mites as they are tricky to eradicate. Mites look like small black specks on light-colored scales and will be harder to spot on darker parts of your snake.

If you notice your snake isnt eating, they are less active than normal or saliva or bubbles around their mouth and/or nose, this could be a sign. Providing proper veterinary care, husbandry and diet is essential to a long, happy life! Healthy ball python excrement consists of solid brown feces with a white urate cap and a small amount of urine.

Misting your ball python, or its enclosure daily, is typically not required, however, this may be necessary when your snake is shedding or if humidity levels are lower than optimal. Signs They Are HealthySickness SymptomsClear eyes and bright coloringLoss of appetite for an extended periodRegularly exploring and moving throughout their enclosureExcessive hidingTongue flickingLethargyStrike and constrict preyIncomplete shedding Wild ball pythons have a coloration of browns and yellows which helps them blend into their natural habitat.

They hunt by burrowing in a hiding spot (e.g. a below a tree stump or in a small mammals home) where they wait until striking and constricting their prey. Start by washing your hands with soap and water before and after handling; this prevents the spread of possible diseases. Normal balls have shades of brown, black, and yellow, but morphs, such as the blue-eyed leucistic and ivory, have no markings present and are one solid color.

In this species, females are bigger than their male counterparts, with some research suggesting different diets being the cause. Whilst very common in the reptile trade, you should make sure that you trust the breeder (or supplier) before purchasing. While most snakes are purchased as babies, other characteristics such as age, breeding status, and size, all factor into the price-tag.

Why We Love ThemWhat Makes Them DifficultCalm temperamentShould be housed individuallyEasy to feedLong lifespan of 20-30 yearsVariety of colorsUsually sedatoryThere are many reasons for why ball pythons are one of the most popular species of snake in captivity.

Ball pythons make fantastic pets, as they are relatively small, easy to maintain and typically have docile temperaments. Theyre also attractive animals, who are available in a number of beautiful color variations.

Ball Python Care Sheet

Ball pythons are popular pets due to theirNative to the grasslands of West and Central Africa, ball pythons are carnivores of small mammals, and in the wild, their diet includes shrews, rodents, and birds. They are nonvenomous, as they strike before constricting their prey, killing without the need for venom.Due to their popularity, this snake can easily be found, however, great care should be taken to ensure you aren’t supporting an illegal pet trade and only purchase captive-bred snakes. Pet Ball Pythons are easy to feed, have a docile temperament towards humans, and are generally in great health.

Substrate

Plastic vivariums (with a covered top, bottom and sides) are favored for pythons because of the privacy it affords them and security it provides them with. A plastic cage will also makes it ideal for maintaining correct temperatures and humidity levels with a secure top deterring any budding escape artists!The size of the cage will be based on the size of your reptile:Decorate the enclosure with other fake fauna, rocks and places to hide to encourage exploration:

How Long Do Ball Python Live?

In their native habitat, the ball python’s diet consist of small mammals (e.g. shrews, rats) and birds. They strike to catch their prey with their mouths and then quickly coil around and constrict them.It is recommended to feed your python rats as they range in size and medium-sized rats are sufficient for an adult. Mice can be used during the hatchling phase, butMost captive ball pythons are fed with frozen-thawed rodents from the time they hatch and are usually acclimated to this type of meal. Use tongs or a gloved hand to entice your snake to ‘catch’ their prey.

Is A Ball Python Dangerous?

Spot clean your snake’s enclosure daily, removing any soiled or wet substrate to prevent mold, foul smells and unwanted bacteria.Deep clean the enclosure every one to two months by removing all items and cleaning them as well as the enclosure itself. You should also replace all of the substrate during each deep clean too.

How Big Do Ball Pythons Get?

Start by washing your hands with soap and water before and after handling; this prevents the spread of possible diseases.Handling is easier than beginner’s might think. Most importantly, you should avoid startling your snake:After adopting your reptile, allow 1-2 weeks for them to adjust to their new environment before handling.When you are both ready, start with short sessions a couple of times each week, these can last 5-10 minutes. As your snake grows and gets more comfortable, you can lengthen these sessions to 30 minutes. Handling as a routine will help to maintain tameness.

Ball Python Buying Guide

Whilst very common in the reptile trade, you should make sure that you trust the breeder (or supplier) before purchasing. Speak with the breeder and ask: what do you feed them, how many meals has this snake received, how old are they, etc. The breeder should be able to answer these questions with no problem.You should be looking for a full-bodied snake with clear eyes, tongue flicking, and normal movement.

How Much Does A Ball Python Cost??

Due to the variety of Ball Python morphs,While most snakes are purchased as babies, other characteristics such as age, breeding status, and size, all factor into the price-tag. As captive breeding is ever-evolving, ‘rarer’ morphs become more common and new morphs are bred.

Young Ball Pythons

Babies hatch from eggs and are usually around 10 inches in length. Hatchlings will shed more frequently the younger they are and should shed for the first time within the first 14 days of hatching.Males court females by pressing their belly on the female, where the male’s tail is wrapped underneath the females. Only put snakes together to breed, in the wild this is also the only time ball pythons are not solitary.

Ball Python Natural Habitat

The ball python habitat is stretching from the West African coast to central Africa. Most imported ball pythons hail from the countries of Ghana, Benin or Togo.They primarily inhabit grasslands, scrublands, savannas and open forests. Ball pythons may also live in disturbed areas, around human habitations or farms. They do not typically inhabit rainforests (or other dense forests), nor do they live in deserts or extremely arid places. Ball pythons spend most of their time in rodent burrows, which provide them with shelter and moderate temperatures.

Glass aquaria

Glass aquaria are readily available and typically quite affordable. They also offer unparalleled visibility, which will make it easy to see your pet. However, aquaria are quite fragile, and they can be difficult to move around. Additionally, glass aquariums do not retain heat very well.

Commercially manufactured cages

Commercially manufactured reptile cages are usually the best option for ball python keepers. Commercial cages are typically made from lightweight plastic, feature front-opening doors and are designed to accommodate heating devices. They aren’t as widely available as aquaria, so you may need to purchase one online.

Plastic storage boxes

Plastic storage boxes can make suitable ball python habitats, and they are both affordable and lightweight. They’re also easy to find at big-box retailers and hardware stores. However, they don’t provide a good view of your pet, as they’re typically translucent (as opposed to transparent). You’ll also need to modify them by drilling air holes and making them escape-proof.

Custom-built enclosures

Custom-built enclosures are a great option for keepers who have the skill and desire to build them. However, they are usually best designed by keepers with a bit of experience, rather than beginners.No matter what type of enclosure you select, you must ensure that it provides your pet with enough room. Habitat size is a hotly debated topic among keepers, but generally speaking, adult ball pythons will require a habitat that provides between 3 and 6 square feet of space. Young ball pythons require only a fraction of this space.Ball pythons don’t climb very frequently, so enclosure height isn’t terribly important. Habitats that provide 12 to 18 inches of height are sufficient.

Ball Python Habitat Lighting

Ball pythons – like most other snakes – will remain healthy and happy without any specialized lighting. The ambient light entering their enclosure will provide all the light they need. In fact, ball pythons are primarily nocturnal, so extremely bright lighting will often cause them to hide.However, you can help your snake look his best by incorporating a full-spectrum fluorescent fixture over the habitat. You needn’t use a light that provides UV radiation; simply choose a light that provides a well-balanced color spectrum and a moderate light intensity.Be sure to plug the lights into a timer so you don’t have to worry about turning the lights on and off every day. This will also provide the snake with a consistent light-dark cycle, which is important for your pet’s health. A 12-hour cycle (12 hours of light, followed by 12 hours of darkness) works well, given the species’ equatorial distribution.

Suitable Humidity for a Ball Python Habitat

Ball pythons prefer relatively high temperatures, like those in their natural range. However, you should always provide snakes (and other reptiles) with a thermal gradient. This will allow them to access a range of temperatures at any given point in time.To create a thermal gradient, you’ll need to place all of the heating devices for the habitat at one end of the enclosure. This will create a basking spot, which provides the warmest temperatures in the habitat. Ideally, the temperatures at the basking spot should be about 95 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.The opposite end of the habitat should provide somewhat cooler temperatures. Temperatures in the low- to mid-70s Fahrenheit are ideal. Just be sure that they are below 80 degrees so that your snake can cool off if necessary. The temperatures between the basking spot and the cool side of the enclosure will decrease with increasing distance from the heat source.You can use heat lamps, heat tape, heat pads or radiant heat panels to supply the heat for your pet.However, other keepers prefer the convenience heat pads or heat tape provide. Just be sure to monitor the temperatures provided by these types of heat sources. It’s also important to follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions during installation.Unless the temperatures in the habitat fall below about 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night, you can simply turn off the heat sources overnight. If you need to provide supplemental heat at night, do so with heat sources that do not produce light.

Newspaper

Newspaper is probably the simplest, most hygienic and most affordable substrate you can use. It is easy to replace when soiled, and your snake can even crawl under the newspaper to hide if he wishes. Generally speaking, newspaper is the best choice for novice snake keepers.

Paper Towels

Paper towels provide most of the same benefits that newspaper does, and it is also a good choice for beginners. It can be difficult to use paper towels in adult-sized enclosures, but it works very well in the relatively small habitats used for hatchling and juvenile snakes.

Aspen Shavings

Aspen shavings are relatively affordable, and they absorb moisture rapidly, which will help reduce odors coming from the enclosure. They also allow snakes to burrow. However, aspen shavings can be a bit messy, and they must be replaced quickly if they become wet, as they’ll rot.

Cypress Mulch

Cypress mulch is another great choice, and it is the author’s favorite substrate for ball python maintenance. This mulch is very affordable (although the price varies by geographic region), permits burrowing and retains moisture well, which can make it easier to maintain the proper enclosure humidity. Cypress mulch also smells nice.

Orchid Bark

Orchid bark is somewhat similar to cypress mulch in that it is helpful for maintaining a high humidity level. It also looks great and allows snakes to burrow. However, orchid bark is often relatively expensive, so it isn’t commonly used in large enclosures.Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons of these substrates before making your choice. However, you can always decide to make a change later, if you determine that your first choice isn’t working well.