Ball Python Care Sheet

Ball Pythons are not very active so a small enclosure is fine.  Use a 10-20 gallon tank for younger snakes, a 30 or 40 gallon tank for an adult.  Just remember to make it secure because if there is a way to escape, they will.

  • Substrate: Shredded bark, Aspen Pine, Newspaper, Paper Towels, or AstroTurf which can be cleaned (the soiled pieces can be soaked in a solution of one gallon of water with 2 tablespoons of bleach, rinsed well, dried and then used again).
  • Furnishings: provide sturdy branches and a dark hiding place (they like to feel securely enclosed, so it should be just large enough to accommodate the snake).
  • Temperature: 80- 85 F (27 - 29 C) during the day, with a heat spot of around 90 F (32 C). Night time temperatures can fall to around 75 F (23 -24 C) as long as an area of 80 F is maintained. An under the tank heating pad designed for reptiles works well for providing the cage heat.  Never use hot rocks.   Use multiple thermometers to monitor the temperatures in the cage near the bottom of the cage.
  • Lighting: Ball Pythons are nocturnal, so have no special lighting requirements. However, they are nocturnal, so incandescent bulbs should not be used at night (to preserve the light/dark cycle the snake needs) - instead use red, blue or black bulbs if you want them lit at night.
  • Water and Humidity: provide a dish large enough for the snake to soak in. Soaking is especially important during sheds. We find ceramic dog dishes works best.  Plus they cannot tip it over.

Feeding: Ball pythons can be fed rats or mice.  Some use frozen/thawed or live.  Be careful with larger live prey that they do not harm your snake.  You can feed your snake every 5 days out to once every other week.  Some ball pythons go months without eating.  You can move your snake to a separate enclosure for eating to continue the taming process. As long as body weight and condition are maintained, this is not problematic. If your snake stops eating, carefully examine the handling, health, and environment of the snake to make sure stress isn't the culprit. Consult a knowledgeable vet or experienced keeper for help if the fast is prolonged or causing weight loss. If necessary, some tricks to entice a python to eat include dipping the prey in chicken broth, trying different colors of mice or rats, exposing the brain of the prey before feeding it, feeding at night, covering the cage with towels after offering a mouse. You may even want to try feeding a hamster or gerbil, although this may make your snake more likely to refuse mice if it develops a preference for hamsters and gerbils.

*Gerbils cannot be used in the state of California

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