Ball Python Housing beginners

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As far as aquariums go, we do not endorse this type of enclosure due to its humidity retention issues and its inability in keeping reptiles from escaping. Regardless if you do not intend to breed your collection, if you have several reptiles a rack system is much more effective.   
Enclosure (beginners)

Enclosure: Contrary to popular belief, Ball Pythons (Python Regius) do not like large spacious enclosures. Ball Pythons prefer smaller secure enclosures. It makes them feel more secure and make for more consistent feeders. If you are just starting out or you just have a couple of snakes as a hobby, your best bet will be a glass aquarium.  A 10 gallon tank (approximately 20"L x 10"W [50 x 25 cm]). A young adult requires a 20 gallon tank, and full adult may require a 30 gallon tank (36" x 12"W [91 x 35 cm]). If you use a screen top make sure you cover at least 3/4 of the top with foil tape to maintain humidity. Again screen top can cause nose rub. A secure locking plastic top with a sliding lid may be better. Hide boxes are very useful and allow the Ball Python to feel safe and secure.

Heat: Do not guess the temperature, invest in the tools to help you maintain proper temperatures. When using a glass enclosure an under tank adhesive heating pad works well. They generally cover about 1/3 of the bottom. You do not want to buy an oversized heating pad due to the fact that the snake will need a cool spot around 78-80F. Again avoid using hot rocks! The surface temperature with the substrate should be about 88F. This is the surface that touches the reptile. The heating pad itself should reach approximately 95F. It’s better to use a thermostat or rheostat to control the temperature. You can use a thermometer or heat gun to measure temperature. 

Humidity: Remember humidity does not equal a wet cage. A wet cage can lead to fungus or respiratory problems. Humidity is preferably around 60%. You should mist the sides of the enclosure several times a week to keep the humidity up. Do not mist your snake directly; if the snake catches a draft of cold air it could cause a respiratory infection. If the cage is too dry (lack of humidity), it will hinder you snake when it comes time to shed. Again, screen tops do not hold humidity well.  

Substrate: Do not use cedar, it can be toxic to snakes. This will eventually boil down to preference. Aspen, news paper, and Cypress mulch can be used. When using a substrate like Aspen or Cypress mulch, usually 2-4 inches deep is fine. News paper is good and easy to clean. The minus to news paper is the ink, it rubs off on the snakes. If using news paper you can crumple up a few pages, this will give the Ball Python a place to hide.  

Lighting: Ball Pythons are primarily nocturnal (active at night) and no special lighting is required. In Africa, the Ball Python takes refuge in mammal burrows or other subterranean habitation during the day. They become active at night in search for rodents such as gerbils and hamsters that are also native to Africa. You can use a full-spectrum light or low wattage incandescent bulb in the enclosure during the day. Make sure the snake cannot get into direct contact with the light bulbs as ball pythons are very prone to getting seriously burned. 

Water: The water for your snake should be kept clean at all times. It’s best to check it daily. The bowl itself should be sterilized at least once a week or as needed. The bowl is very important to your snake due to the fact that they drink from it and occasionally will soak their bodies. Soaking may occur for shedding purposes. If your snake defecates in it and you are slack on you husbandry practices this can cause health problems. Ball Pythons are very strong and can tip over a water bowl if it is not heavy. This means your enclosure could get soaked, possibly causing a respiratory infection. Ceramic bowls work very well. Some snake keepers use plastic bowls, but they can be very light and easily tipped over. 

Accessories: A hide box is very important to your Ball Python. It’s better if you utilize two. Provide one on each end of your python's enclosure so that it doesn't have to choose between temperature & security. Clay flowerpots, plastic flowerpots, and commercially available hide boxes all work quite well.

These are some of the guidelines for beginners. I hope you find this information helpful. Happy Herping!
Best of luck,
Living Art Reptiles.
Source Information:
Living Art Reptiles, Philippe de Vosjili, published by Advanced vivarium Systems, Peter Kahl, and NERD Reptiles.

Ball Python care and maintenance

  • Disclaimer: please read before using this site. Any information posted on this web site is for general entertainment and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, medical opinion, diagnosis or treatment. Any information provided by this web site is not a substitute for actual medical attention. Always promptly consult your licensed veterinary health-care professional for your pet's medical advice and treatment. 

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