Ball Python (python regius) snakes are prolific throughout the pet trade and for good reason. These beautiful snakes are easy to care for and have a very docile temperament. If you are looking for a beginner reptile for either a child, teenager, or adult this is a good species to start with.
This species’ natural range is in Central Africa from Mali in the northwest to Sudan in the northeast, and southwest to Cameroon and east to Uganda. This species prefers the tropical Savannah and sparse forests. Snake owners should keep this in mind when attending to its husbandry needs. In today’s markets most of the pythons you will find are usually captive bred (c.b) and because of this many snakes you will find will usually be healthier and well cared for prior to purchase. They also now come in a plethora of different morphs for the buyer who wants something different. These morphs usually cost a bit more but are still great for the value if you don’t mind spending extra.
This species of snake does grows to a medium length and has a stock build. Most males will grow to from 3 to 3.5 ft. Females are larger and grow to 4 to 5 ft. long regularly but can reach up to 6 ft. Because of their size, they are easily handled and housed. Babies can easily be housed in a 20 gallon tank but adult you will need a 36x18x12 inch enclosure. This will give the snake ample enough room to thermo-regulate.
A Ball Python needs a good ambient temperature between 78°-80° F (~25.5°-26.7° C) with a basking spot of 88°-94° F (~31°-34.4° C). To do this, you can use an over the top heating lamp with ceramic heat emitters or lights or under the tank heat mats. I prefer under the tank heating because it helps with keeping humidity which needs to be 50-60%.
They also need a good substrate. Reptibark, cypress mulch, and aspen shavings are all good substrates however they are plenty of other good options out there. Completely avoid cedar and pine.
A Ball Python also needs a water bowl deep enough to submerge itself and two or more hides (one on hotter and one on colder side) for optimal snake comfort. These snakes are nocturnal and like a dark place to crawl into to either cool down or just hide from the bright light when they need to. They also like to go into warmer hides for digestion.
For their diet, they should be fed a frozen thawed rodent (no wider than the thickest width of the snake’s body) usually once a week. After feeding, avoid holding the snake for 24 hours. If your snake doesn’t eat for a week don’t worry. Ball Pythons are known for fasting a couple of weeks every once in a while. Usually, this will happen during the winter months.
You will need to change out and clean the enclosure every month as well as spot clean to remove feces and urine anytime you see them. Make sure to check regularly under hides for this! You also will need to change out the water daily and provide them fresh water. Do not use distilled water as it removes important minerals that they get out of the water. Tap water is ok but if you are paranoid about chlorine and other additives there are products you can add that will neutralize that.
If you take proper care of these reptiles they will live a long life up to 30 years or more and be a great addition to your household!
These snakes are docile by nature and prefer to coil on itself with its head in the center as a primary defensive measure. Because of this, they rarely bite. Their lack of propensity to bite makes them ideal for children or those first-time keepers who are worried about getting bitten. After regular handling, they should break out of their shells and begin to interact more with someone.
Required items for Ball Python care (Click links for our reviews of recommendations):
- Water Bowl deep enough to soak
- Hide (preferably 2)
- Heat Source such as heating lamp or pad (do not use a heat rock to avoid burns)