These 7 techniques on caring for a ball python cover the basic needs of a pet python. Pythons are fascinating creatures and fairly easy to care for. They also have very few requirements, which make them a somewhat inexpensive pet to maintain as well. Proper care of your ball python will help it to live a full and happy life. These beautiful snakes can live to be as old as 50 years, but the average tends to be closer to 30 years.
7. The Tank Should Be Large Enough for Your Snake to Grow into
Young ball pythons will fit perfectly in a 10 to 20 gallon tank, since they aren’t very active. Once they become full sized adults, this small tank should be changed to a 30 gallon one. Be sure to cover the top with a secure screen of some sort. These snakes are very good at finding ways to escape from their aquariums. Cages definitely aren’t as feasible as aquariums, due to the fact that they are often easier for young snakes to find their way out of.
6. Bedding Should Be Placed on the Bottom of the Aquarium
There are many different types of bedding suitable for snakes. You can purchase Astroturf, shredded newspaper, or bark. While Astroturf can be a bit more expensive, this type of bedding can be washed and reused. Newspaper and bark both have to be discarded once they become too soiled. Pieces of Astroturf can be washed in a mild soap solution and then sanitized with a mixture of bleach and water. 2 tablespoons of bleach can be added to a full gallon of water for sanitization purposes.
5. Give Your Python Something to Climb on and Hide in
Snakes don’t simply lay around in the grass or leaves all day long. Ball pythons enjoy climbing branches and having a dark place to hide. Large smooth branches can be purchased at a local pet store. Most of the time the sticks are wide and smooth, I’ve seen people use pieces of clean drift wood too. As for the hiding place, this should be large enough for the python to fit into, but small enough that the snake feels secure. They like to wind themselves up into a coil and wedge into small spaces.
4. Keep Them Warm
Being reptiles, snakes tend to prefer warm weather over cold. Daytime temps between 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit are preferred, while night time temperatures shouldn’t be allowed to get below 75 degrees. Basking rocks can be added to the aquarium to provide your ball python with an extra warm spot to lie. Heating pads made for going underneath the tank can also be used to add more warmth during the colder months.
3. Water is Necessary for More than Just Drinking
Ball pythons like to soak in their water, so placing some in a shallow dish will enable them to do so with ease. Some snakes don’t feel secure while soaking in their water dish and tend to retreat quickly to a more secure spot. Try using a water dish that has a lid with a hole large enough for the snake to go in and out of. This will allow your snake to feel safer and spend more time soaking. Instead of supplying a dish of plain water, you could soak some sphagnum moss in water for your snake to coil into.
2. Mice and Rats Work Well as a Food Source for Your Ball Python
Young pythons like to eat small mice once a week. As your snake becomes larger, the prey can be bigger and fed less often. For instance, a medium sized rat can be fed every couple of weeks for a full-sized older python. Most snake owners prefer to feed their pets mice that are already dead. Live mice are actually able to injure a pet snake, so dead mice eliminate the chance that your ball python will be harmed by its food source. All you have to do is wave the dead mouse in front of the snake and this is usually enough stimuli to get it interested in eating the mouse.
1. Supply Lighting That is Suitable for Nocturnal Animals
Being nocturnal reptiles, ball pythons don’t require bright lights. If you wish to view your snake, use bulbs that are black, red, or blue so as to not disturb the light/dark cycle of your python. If you do have an incandescent bulb in the aquarium, don’t turn this light on at night. The bright light will definitely mess up the day/night cycle for your snake.
Due to their small size, ball pythons are a great snake for the beginner. They can reach 5 feet long as an adult snake, but this is still smaller than other pythons. These snakes are also easy to handle and extremely docile. I hope these 7 techniques on caring for a ball python will prove to be useful to you. Feel free to pass them on to someone else who can use them too! Do you feel these tips will help you to successfully care for your new pet?