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Essentials To Ball Python Care

Ball Pythons are scientifically known as python regius. They come from western Africa, hence they thrive in warm, tropical locations. They are called ball pythons in the US for their habit of curling themselves up into a tight ball when they are nervous or upset. However, in Europe and many other parts of the world, they are referred to as the royal pythons. This is because many believed that Cleopatra used to keep these ball pythons coiled around her wrists.

Ball Pythons

These docile reptiles are even esteemed in many parts of Africa. They are one among the 27 python species around the world. This python breed is one of the smallest of all pythons. They grow to only about three to four feet long.

Although ball pythons are constrictors, they are simply the most popular pet python in the world as they are docile and gentle. They are also generally shy. Perhaps these are the reasons which draw them to more hobbyists and reptile keepers. They do make for ideal captives because of their small size, friendly nature, the interesting array of colors and patterns. On top of all these, they are one of the easiest reptiles to maintain.

Ball pythons will be a great quality pet for novice keepers as well as for those already experienced herpetoculturists. It is interesting to note that a wide variety of never-before-seen patterns are color variations are made available each year through the efforts of breeders.

If you are wondering where you can find one of these interesting breed of pythons, you don’t need to look any further. These docile pythons are commonly available from pet stores, reptile expos, reptile breeders, and even through online vendors and breeders. Your best option for a python from this breed will be a captive born and bred snake as they are normally healthier and are parasite free. Opt for one that is already well-started and eating to keep as a pet or to breed.

Size

Hatchlings of this breed are about 10 inches in length. Adult female ball pythons grows to an average size of 3 to 5 feet long, while adult male ball pythons grow to an average length of about 2 to 3 feet. Generally, mature females are much larger than the males. A 5-foot long python is already considered huge, but there pythons that can grow to up to 6 feet or more as reported.

Life Span

Ball pythons can live to up to 30 years or more with proper care. The oldest ball python reached 48 years old in captivity.

Enclosure

The housing that you can for your ball python can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like to care for it. Note, however, that the more items that you include in your pet’s enclosure, the more you will have to clean and disinfect everything in it on a regular basis.

There are various enclosures that have worked well for ball pythons. These include plastic sweater boxes, melamine racks, as well as the any of the commercially available reptile cages. Glass terrariums and tanks can also be used as appropriate enclosures for ball pythons. However, if you want to use an aquarium, you may need to check on the lid that will best provide and maintain proper humidity levels within the enclosure. Choose a Best Reptile Humidifier to make this job easier

If you have a juvenile ball python, you may consider housing it in a small enclosure as that can make them feel secure. A bigger cage for a small snake can be quite overwhelming  and create a lot of stress for the ball python. Adult ball pythons likewise do not require too large or elaborate enclosures. A 36-inch by 18-inch by 12-inch housing will be more than enough to house an adult ball python.

Once you have set up the best Ball Python enclosure, you have to remember that regular cleaning and sanitizing of the enclosure is necessary to ensure your ball python’s health and safety. Spot-clean your pet’s enclosure as needed. Also, make sure to remove feces, urates, and any leftovers as soon as possible. Every 30 days, you will need to replace the substrate and remove all accessories from the enclosure and have them completely disinfected. Rinse everything thoroughly with water, and allow them to dry completely before placing them back in the cage.

Hide

You may also need to place a couple of hides inside your ball python’s housing. Your pet will love to curl themselves up inside these hides. Place one on each end so they may transfer from one hide to another when they need to regulate their body temperatures.

Lighting and Temperature

Enclosures must provide a proper thermal gradient that will help your pet self-regulate its body temp. You will have to set it up to have a hotspot on one end of the enclosure and a cool spot on the other end.

A basking spot temperature of about 88 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit and an ambient temperature of 78 to 80 degrees will make your ball python most comfortable while inside its enclosure. Remember to monitor changes in the temperature. Note also that the ambient temperature should not be under 75 degrees. A digital indoor/outdoor thermometer with a probe will help you monitor the temperature gradient in the enclosure.

To provide adequate heating to your ball python’s enclosure, you may use any of the following: an under-cage heating pads and tapes, ceramic heat emitters, basking bulbs, and other available heat sources online or at your local pet store. Just make sure that you keep an eye on the humidity within the enclosure. Thermostats, rheostats and/or timers can help you monitor and control your heat source.

One thing to remember when thinking of heat sources, however: hot rocks should not be used for your snakes. They can heat unevenly and can cause serious burns to your pet.

Day/Night Cycle

Like most reptiles and amphibians, ball pythons have day/night cycle. Continuous bright light, overhead lights can create a lot of stress to your pet. You need to make sure to run a 12/12 cycle inside your pet’s enclosure.

Bedding

Newspapers and paper towels seem to be the most preferred substrates for most reptiles as they are the cheapest and easiest to clean and disinfect. When looking for the best bedding for Ball Python, consider one that will provide enough (not too much humidity) and will not cause unnecessary health conditions to your pet, such as cedar, sand, shavings as well as peat bedding.

Water

Your pet will need fresh water always, so have clean water available any time for your ball python. Just make sure that the water bowl is just the right size (not too deep for juvenile ball pythons) and have the water bowl cleaned/sanitized daily as your pet may urinate or defecate in it.

Follow this guideline and you will be assured that your ball python will be provided with the best care that it needs to stay happy and healthy.