Ball Python is very popular nowadays as a pet for beginners. Today we’ll talk about the Ball Python, its life, and its characteristics. Also today we’ll tell you how to take care of Ball Python and a lot more interesting information about it.
The Ball Python, also known as the Royal Python, is found mainly in West and Central Africa. It is very calm and usually reluctant to bite. The beauty of Ball Python fascinates people. When the ball pythons feel threatened, they prefer to curl up in a ball. This is why they are named so.
Although many people are interested in petting a Ball python, very few people have detailed knowledge about this snake. If you want to pet a snake, there is no alternative to knowing about that.
In today’s article, you will find a lot of useful information about this snake, you’ll know the reasons to choose this snake as a pet and also how to take care of Ball Pythons.
The scientific name of Ball Python is Python regius. They are native to west and central Africa. They like to live in grasslands, shrublands, and open forests. This snake is not venomous. It is listed as ‘Least Concerning’ on the IUCN red list, a list of threatened and dangerous species.
The ball python is black or dark brown with light brown blotches on the back and sides. Its white or cream belly is scattered with black markings. Captive-bred Ball Pythons come in a variety of colors. It is a stocky snake with a relatively small head and smooth scales.
Adult Ball pythons are usually about 3.5-5 feet in length and female snakes generally grow larger than males. It is the smallest African python. They can live usually 20 to 30 years, but 50 years or more is possible. They have 100-150 teeth that curve inward, which allow them to hold onto their prey.
They are active at night and like to stay hidden during the day. In general, Ball Pythons are a very common beginner snake, as said before. As it is calm and reluctant to bite, people can easily tame this snake as a pet animal.
First of all, keeping a snake as a pet is not a task for all. It is an uncommon hobby and a unique experience. But nowadays reptiles are becoming popular as pets. If you are interested in petting a snake, you can choose Ball Python. Moreover, you have to gain detailed knowledge to keep it as a pet snake.
As said before, Ball pythons are so named, because they roll themselves into a tight ball when threatened or stressed. This is their popular defense strategy. These snakes are considered good pets in their captive habitat. with their relatively small size and placid nature making them easy to handle.
Ball pythons are naturally shy and quiet creatures. But after some time and effort, they learn to trust their owner. After a while, they get used to the new environment and can make exciting pets!
Calm Ball pythons usually move about slowly but purposefully. They often flick their tongues while moving about to understand their surroundings.
Though Ball pythons are reluctant to bite, they can do so if frightened very much but it is a rare case. A Ball python’s bite is a superficial wound. These creatures are nocturnal and prefer to hunt their prey usually at night. They like to spend much of the day staying in their hide box.
When Ball pythons get ready to shed, their eyes will turn a milky blue/grey color over a few days, their body color will start to dull and develop a whitish sheen. At this time, handling should be avoided.
Ball pythons are not active snakes. So, you can use a smaller enclosure and it is fine for them. You can use a habitat for a baby ball python to accommodate normal behavior and exercise, at least a 20- gallon tank. A 30 – 40 gallon tank is recommended for an adult ball python.
Ball pythons are also expert escape artists like other snakes. So, make sure the cage has an escape-proof metal mesh top. It should fit snugly onto the tank and have strong clips locking it on. As you will place the heat lamp directly on top of this cover, the top must be METAL mesh.
Snakes are cold-blooded, which means they are dependent on the temperature of their immediate environment to regulate their body temperature. Therefore, we must create an environment with several heat gradients – warm on one end and cool on the other. With this set-up, your pet can go to either end depending on whether he needs to be warmer or cooler.
You should provide sturdy branches and a dark hiding house for your pet snake. They like to feel securely enclosed in hiding. So, the hiding area should be just large enough to accommodate the snake.
You should provide a dish large enough for your snake to soak in. Soaking is particularly helpful during sheds. A large bowl of clean fresh chlorine-free water must always be available. You can place it on the cool side of the snake’s cage. Change it regularly, as your pet will most likely soak in it as well.
Snakes often defecate in the water dish, as the warm water seems to have a purgative effect on reptiles. All water is given to reptiles for drinking, as well as for misting, soaking or bathing must be 100% free of chlorine and heavy metals.
It is recommended to use unflavored bottled drinking water or bottled natural spring water; never use untreated tap water. If tap water is used, you should go through a de-chlorination process.
If you are not willing to chemically de-chlorinate the water, you can leave an open bowl of tap water out for at least 24 hours. The chlorine will naturally dissipate. But don’t use distilled water as it can cause many health problems for your snake.
The temperature in their cage should range from 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool side with a basking spot maintained at 88 – 92 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures can fall to around 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night. A luminous heat bulb can be used to get the basking temperatures.
You should provide 8 to 12 hours of light daily in their cage. A nocturnal or infrared light should be used at night. Moreover, this light can balance the temperature of the cage at night when the room temperature is decreased naturally.
You should never use hot rocks with pet reptiles. Make sure that the heating element is screened off to prevent contact with the snake. Otherwise, your pet snake’s skin may be burnt. Use multiple thermometers to monitor & observe the temperatures in the cage. Because controlling temperature is very important for reptiles.
If you can’t provide the proper heat, your pet snake may become sick with issues such as respiratory disease and will probably stop eating. Snakes cannot digest their food without proper heat. So, you must be careful about controlling the temperature of your pet snake’s cage.
Though Ball pythons are called one of the easiest beginner snakes, they also need proper temperature and humidity like other reptiles. Most beginners find it hard to balance all these requirements. But these problems are gone after some time.
Humidity is a relative measure of the amount of water vapor in the air. The higher the humidity level, the wetter the air will feel. This is a very significant index for a snake’s health. Improper humidity levels can make your Ball python sick or cause a stuck shed.
Ball pythons are used to high heat and humidity levels. Humidity in their native range is between 55% to 70%. But this level can spike to over 80% in the morning. The humidity level should never drop below 45% and it should never rise above 85%.
Proper humidity level allows Ball pythons to keep their skin moist enough to shed properly and avoid respiratory problems. By maintaining a humidity level of around 60% in the Ball pythons’ cage, you can extend their lifespan well beyond their natural lifespan.
There are many options for a substrate for your pet Ball Python. You can use shredded bark, newspaper, paper towel, and Astroturf. In the case of using Astroturf, you can cut a few pieces to fit the cage and simply replace the dirty pieces.
If you use “reptile carpeting”, you must keep it clean. The carpeting can foster the growth of bacteria and fungus, which can cause various health problems to your pet. If you insist on using the carpet, purchase two. As a result, you can interchange them regularly.
Diet And Feeding
In captivity, Ball pythons eat mice or small to medium-sized rats. In the wild, they like to eat birds, other small snakes, lizards, frogs, etc. They usually need to be fed once a week. In each feeding, an adult Ball python can eat 3 adult mice to 2 medium rats, depending on the snake’s size.
You can use pre-killed prey as live mice can cause serious injury to your pet while eating. It is always better for a reptile to eat several smaller prey items rather than a large one. You can dangle the prey in front of your pet to make it interested in it.
It is good practice to use a separate enclosure for feeding your snake. This cage should be free of bedding and furniture. In this process, you can be sure if it eats all its food properly or if it mistakenly picks up any bedding as its food.
Handling your pet snake gives you immense pleasure. Before handling, you should wash your hands. This process removes potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, etc. from your hands.
Then you can handle your pet for some time. During handling, continue to support the snake’s body & use a loose grip to enable to move freely.
But you should always be careful about safety issues. Normally Ball pythons’ brains are not developed to show aggressive behavior. But they don’t know their strength. So, anything can happen if somehow they are not in normal mode. So, always ensure safety issues.
Don’t handle your snake for 24 hours after eating to prevent regurgitation.
Sometimes your pet may stop eating for a long time or face minor health problems. It’s normal. If you ensure its proper housing, temperature, humidity, and foods, these are not problems. These health issues should go away very soon.
Some of their common problems are respiratory illness, skin infections, mouth rot, external and internal parasites, prey-induced trauma, thermal burns, retained shedding, etc.
If your snake stops eating or you see any kind of abnormal behavior, carefully examine the husbandry, handling, health, and environment of the snake. Consult a knowledgeable vet or experienced keeper for help.
Choosing The Right Ball Python
Choosing the right ball python may not be a difficult decision for a dedicated ball python enthusiast, but a novice may not be quite as knowledgeable. Ball pythons come in a number of different colors and patterns, and knowing which one to buy will depend on the natural environment of your home.
When you are ready to keep the ball python as a pet, you should buy it from a breeder. You shouldn’t directly collect the snake from forests or jungles. Because you will face a lot of problems while taming those wild snakes.
Look for a young, captive-bred snake that has a well-rounded body, clean eyes, and there is no sign of any health problem. Look for one that is calm & quiet, and gently grips your arms when handled.
It is often said that petting snakes is thrilling & adventurous but not everyone’s task. If you want to keep a Ball python or any other snake as a pet, you need to gain proper knowledge about it. Because other animals are mammals like us, we can easily understand their needs. But, it is a completely different case for snakes or reptiles.
Though Ball Python is an easy and comfortable pet for beginners, it should not be bought without knowing about it. Many people do so and as a result, deadly incidents occur.
Today we have discussed how to take care of Ball Python, what is required to acquire knowledge to take care of it. We hope you will keep a snake or a reptile as a pet after knowing them well.
If you like our article on the Ball pythons, please share this to spread the idea to others. Don’t forget to leave your feedback in the comments. Stay tuned with us.