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Ball Python

Scientific Name: Python regius
Lifespan: Over 20 years
Size: Up to 4 feet
Diet:Carnivore
Handling Ease:Excellent

FOOD

  • A ball python’s diet should consist of a whole food item (feeder rodent), fed weekly.
  • The size of the whole food item should not be bigger in circumference than the circumference of the snake.
  • If using frozen feeders, it is important to thaw the feeder completely, using warm water (not hot), never microwaving (causes hot spots). Tongs may be used to entice the snake to strike.
  • When feeding larger live whole food items (small rats or larger), the feeder should not be left in the cage if the snake does not eat it within 15-20 minutes. Feeder rodents can severely injure and even kill a snake by chewing on them.
  • It is not necessary to feed the snake in a separate enclosure, but will not harm anything if you choose to do so.

Caging & Environment

  • A minimum of a 20 long tank with screen cover OR a medium reptile glass habitat.10 gallon tanks are not recommended because they do not provide the adequate thermal gradient.
  • Reptile Bark substrate
  • 75w Basking Light with fixture (or a light that will provide a basking temperature of 88°- 95°)
  • Hide cave
  • Large Water bowl (large enough to soak in)
  • Spray bottle for misting
  • Ball pythons should be misted at least twice weekly, but daily while shedding.

Behavior/Handling

  • Ball Pythons are the “bearded dragon” of the snake world.
  • They are popular among novices and hobbyists alike.
  • Growing to lengths of only 4 feet, the ball python is one of the most docile snake species.
  • They will often ball up tightly when threatened (that’s how they got their name) and rarely ever bite or strike.
  • The ball python is available in hundreds of color variations (called morphs) and price ranges (even in the $10,000 range!).
  • The regular ball python morph is the most common beginner snake on the market.
  • It is very common for adult ball pythons to “off-feed” (refuse food) for extended periods of time, most often occurring in fall/winter times. This period can last for several months. Provided that the animal is not losing weight, there is no need for concern.
  • It is recommended to house snakes individually, but if not, they need to be separated for feeding.
  • Important: do not handle snakes immediately after feeding. It is best to give them 24-48 hours to completely digest their meal before handling.