Because of the relative ease of maintaining a Ball Python, their docile temperament and reluctance to bite as well as their excellent track record as pets, they are quickly becoming one of the most popular and sought after exotic pets. If you are reading this, you are probably weighing the option of buying a Ball Python for a pet so let me say that making one of these snakes your pet is a great choice and one you won’t regret.
So now that you have decided to purchase a Ball Python, you will need to know how to care for your newly or soon to be acquired pet snake. When you keep one as a pet, there are a few things you will need in order to make the process of ownership as easy as possible. You will need a cage that meets the snakes size requirements, a water dish, a substrate, a regulated heat source, a hiding place and an appropriate food source.
When choosing the enclosure for your pet Ball Python, there are a handful of things to take into consideration. Firstly, the cage needs to be large enough so that the snake can stretch out completely in the cage without overlapping itself. This doesn’t mean your cage definitely has to be 5 feet in length but as long as the snake can hug the walls of the cage without laying on itself it should be fine. The rule of thumb is a cage that is 2/3 as long as the snake’s length.
Furthermore, your enclosure needs to have an adequately locking top as the Ball Python is infamous for escaping and can be very strong when pushing off a cage top. As a side note, when choosing where to situate your snake’s enclosure, opt for an area that isn’t highly trafficked as Ball Pythons are easily stressed out and very timid and won’t appreciate or respond well to areas that receive a lot of traffic.
When it comes to a substrate or bedding for your pet snake, there are a lot of choices out there but some work a lot better than others. Most owners of Ball Pythons recommend ReptiTurf as it is built specially for easily maintaining a snake. Indoor/outdoor carpet, Astro-Turf or something similar also works well. A hiding place is necessary as well as Ball Pythons like their privacy from time to time. A cardboard box with a hole cut out is a cheap form of a hide and will only need to be tossed out if soiled. Many owners make rock caves or use hollow log replicas for esthetic purposes.
Ball Pythons are indigenous to Africa so they love their warmth. The perfect temperature to keep your pet’s new habitat is roughly 80 degrees with a one to two degree variance. Humidity levels are important as well and the relative humidity in the cage should be kept around 60%. Because Ball Pythons are nocturnal by nature, you shouldn’t provide additional lighting as it will only make them hide more frequently.
Ball Pythons need to eat just like any other animal so it’s important to know how to feed them. In regards to water, you must provide fresh water daily as snakes will refuse to drink stagnating water and will opt for dehydration instead. In terms of eating, you should only feed your Ball Python once or twice a month at the most. Whether your snake will eat live or thawed feeders is up to the preference of the snake so experiment with both to see what works best. After you feed your pet Ball Python you shouldn’t handle it for at least two days so that it can properly digest its meal. One of the most important things to remember about Ball Pythons is that they are notorious for refusing to eat. They will intentionally go without eating for months at a time so do not be alarmed if your new pet refuses to eat for a month or two. Just watch their weight and you shouldn’t have any issues. There are several methods that can be used to get them to eat such as covering their cage, dipping the food in chicken broth, different color mice, etc.
If you have decided you would like to have a pet snake you would be wise to consider a Ball Python. They are almost always named as one of the top 5 snakes for being the best choice for beginning collectors. They have all the attributes that makes a snake a good pet. They are easy to care for when properly maintained. They are docile, don’t mind being handled and are very interesting. Although you can’t play with them like a cat or dog you can still interact with them in many ways. Just keep the above mentioned tips in mind and you will be on your way to enjoying your new pet Ball Python!