Ball pythons make great beginner snakes. They are typically very docile and don't mind being handled. Ball pythons got their name for their tendency to curl up into tight balls when threatened. They have also been called royal pythons, because Queen Cleopatra used to wear live ball pythons as jewelry. (Catch one of our live programs to see Biologist Brown wear one as a necklace the whole time!) They are native to the grasslands and shrublands of West and Central Africa. While they spend a fair amount of their time on the ground hunting, these snakes are very fond of climbing up into trees and should be provided enough space in their enclosures to stretch full length and move vertically as well as horizontally. Ball pythons can be quite shy and appreciate having places to hide. There should be a hide on both the warm and cool side of the enclosure so it does not have to choose between security or temperature. Enclosures with screen tops can be difficult to maintain humidity, so moist sphagnum moss can be added to hides to provide moisture.
Ball pythons are carnivores and eat either live or frozen thawed rodents - no bigger than the width of the snake. To properly hydrate and shed they must be provided a water dish that is large enough to soak in. This should be refreshed daily. Like many other snakes, ball pythons shed their skin as they grow. Before shedding their eyes turn a milky blue as their eyecap forms - which will be left behind along with the rest of their shed. For difficult or incomplete sheds use Reptanicals Shed Support. Is your snake consistently having trouble shedding? Try applying Reptanicals Healthy Scales once a month to supply essential vitamins and minerals that may be lacking, it can also be used to keep healthy snakes in prime condition. Enclosures should be kept clean of any feces or urates. Reptanicals Isopod Cleaner Crews can be added to tanks with coconut coir or soil substrate to clean up any wastes not removed with manual cleaning.
(Typical Ball Python)
Size: 3-5 feet
Lifespan: 20-30 years
Food Preferences: Mice, rats
Temperature Requirements: daytime temps 75-95*F with a warm and cool side to enclosure - nighttime low 70s
Lighting: 8-12 hours of daylight
Substrate: coconut coir or aspen shavings
Suggested Products: Reptanicals Healthy Scales, Reptanicals Shed Support, Isopod cleaner crews