Snake Profile Ball Python

Ball Python Information

The ball python, perhaps the most common pet snake, is a docile, even-tempered snake. They only reach a length of around 3-5 feet but can survive for decades. When they are attacked, they curl up into a tight ball, which gives them their name. These snakes are excellent first snake pets because they don’t need anything in the way of heating or illumination.

Pythons are found in Africa, Australia, and Asia under conditions that range from rain forest to desert. Some species are primarily ground dwellers, but most can be found in bushes and trees. The larger species are often found near water and are strong swimmers. Pet pythons may be farm-bred, captive-born, or wild-caught imports. Captive-bred ball pythons are much preferred over wild-caught specimens since the latter can fast for long periods and can be stubborn feeders.

Ball python

Care Requirement

Since ball pythons are not particularly active reptiles, a smaller cage is adequate (use a 10- to 20-gallon tank for younger snakes and a 30-gallon tank for an adult). They are, however, skilled escape artists, so a well-fitting top is essential. Provide the snake with strong branches and a dark hiding spot (they like to feel securely enclosed so it should be just large enough to accommodate the snake).

Heat

Provide the snake with strong branches and a dark hiding spot (they like to feel securely enclosed so it should be just large enough to accommodate the snake). The temperature in your ball python’s cage should be between 82 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit, with a basking spot between 88 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit. 1 As long as an area of 80 degrees Fahrenheit is preserved, nighttime temperatures will drop to about 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 24 degrees Celsius).

Humidity

Provide a humidity retreat, which uses a sealed jar with an entry hole lined with damp sphagnum moss or paper towels to provide moisture in a similar way (a water dish is still provided outside the retreat).

Make sure you have a good enough dish for your snake to soak in. During sheds, soaking is particularly necessary. Some owners choose to have a covered dish with a hole in the lid to provide protection for the snake and allow it to soak for longer if needed.

Substrate

Shredded bark, newsprint, and Astroturf are only a few of the substrate choices for your snake.

Astroturf is probably the easiest because you can cut a few pieces to fit the cage and simply replace the dirty pieces as necessary.

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Appearance

The popular ball python rarely exceeds 5 ft (1.5 m) and is usually about 4 ft (1 m) in length. The ball python is black or dark brown with light brown blotches on the back and sides. Its white or cream belly is scattered with black markings. It is a stocky snake with a relatively small head and smooth scales

Ball python

Behaviors

Ball pythons get their name from the fact that when attacked, they curl up into a tight ball and tuck their heads inside their coils. Ball pythons grow about a foot every year over the first three years of their lives. With good treatment, they will survive for 20-30 years. Snakes captured in the wild are often exhausted from catch and transport and have a high parasite load.

Snakes should be fed every 1-4 weeks depending on the size of the individual.  Smaller snakes should be fed more frequently, and larger snakes less frequently.  Pre-killed food is preferable since live prey can inflict serious bites and scratches.

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Health Treatment

And captive-bred ball pythons have been known to fail to feed for up to two months. This is not a challenge as long as body weight and condition are preserved. If your snake suddenly stops feeding, check its husbandry, treatment, fitness, and climate to make sure stress isn’t the cause. Consult a knowledgeable vet or experienced keeper for help if the fast is prolonged.

Dip the prey in chicken broth, try various colors of mice, expose the prey’s brain before feeding it, feed at night, and cover the cage with towels after offering a mouse are several tricks to entice a python to eat if possible. You may even consider feeding a hamster or gerbil to your snake, but this may cause it to reject mice if it establishes a preference.

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