A Beginner’s Guide To Pet Ball Pythons

Posted on
November 5, 2020
A ball python snake looking up
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The ball python is docile and so adorable, of course you’ve chosen this fella to come join you at home. To fully prepare for this new member of the family, you’ll want to know what you need to do to make this snake feel right at home. It requires the right kind of food and a certain kind of enclosure. Beyond that though, find out the answers to “Do ball pythons like to climb?” and “How can I keep my pet ball python safe during playtime?” Once you have a basic understanding of what makes a ball python safe and happy, you’ll have an easy and memorable time with your new slithering friend. 

Fauna Care healing sprays are handy to keep around in case your pet finds themself with a minor injury like a cut or burn. This article covers:

  • Basic care of ball pythons
  • Playtime for ball pythons

Basic Care of a Ball Python

You should think carefully before taking on the responsibility of a ball python, as they require a lot of care and can live from 20 to 30 years. Read below on what you’ll need to provide a ball python to make them comfortable and consider if you’re able to give them the right kind of space and a comfortable amount of room. 

Food

If you’re getting a younger python, you need to feed them only every five to seven days. Adults on the other hand need to be fed every seven to ten days. When picking out the prey you’ll be feeding your snake, you should pick a prey animal whose body girth is equal to the thickest girth of your snake. This means that you may try different prey at different stages of life, which can include mice, rats, and gerbils. It’s best to feed your python already-dead prey to prevent prey trauma, however this may not be enticing to your python at first. 

Enclosure

The size of the aquarium will depend on the size and age of the snake. For young snakes it should be at least equivalent to the size of a 10-gal aquarium (20 x 10 in). For large adult snakes, get a tank of at least 30-gal (36 x 12 in). Ball pythons are notorious escape artists, so a simple screen top is not enough to keep your snake in. When first introducing your snake to the enclosure, put down newspaper so you can monitor for feces and mites. Once the python has acclimated to their new home, replace the newspaper with shredded cypress bark, fir bar chips, or Astroturf. Give your python a hide box to make them feel more secure. 

A ball snake under a hide box
Ball pythons love their hide boxes. Your enclosure isn’t complete without one!

The temperature inside the tank is the next more important thing. You can bring in heat with adhesive heating pads, a ceramic infrared heater, or an incandescent red light with a metal reflector hood. To make sure your snake isn’t burned, all lights and ceramic heaters should have screens and you should avoid hot rocks. Get the temperature in the daytime to about 80° to 85°, and in the night somewhere between 75° to 80°. The humidity should not be very high, which you can ensure with a medium-sized bowl inside the enclosure filled halfway with water. 

Playtime for a Ball Python

Handling your ball python too much can give them stress and cause unhealthy eating habits. Anorexia is a common concern for this snake. However, ball pythons can do with a bit of love. Here’s what you need to know to safely entertain your ball python.  

Do Ball Pythons Like to Climb?

There is a common misconception that ball pythons do not like to climb. These snakes are actually good climbers and do so frequently in the wild. Your ball python will likely love to climb if given the opportunity, so put some properly supported branches in their enclosure. Ball pythons are also capable of climbing glass and you may find them on the top of their tank (which is why you need a top that’s reptile proof). 

A ball python outside on a branch
Your ball python may love to climb. Put some branches in their enclosure to find out.

Activities to do With Your Ball Python

Don’t worry about doing activities with your ball python until you’ve become familiar with taking care of the snake and they’ve gotten comfortable with their home. Doing activities with your ball python can give them a more stimulating, happy life. When you’re feeling up for it, you can take your snake out for a backyard stroll. If you decide to do this, keep in mind that snakes are good at slipping away, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on them. Make sure they don’t get near any harmful pesticides or fertilizers and keep in consideration the temperature. It’s best only to take them out if the temperature is between 70° and 80°.

A ball python outside in the grass
Take your ball python out for a stroll in the backyard and see what’s there to explore at ground level.

You may consider letting your ball python go on a swim now and again. This type of snake is not aquatic, but they do know how to swim. Use room temperature water and keep an eye out for if your snake looks uncomfortable in the water. Some snakes may enjoy it more than others, so get ready to get your snake out if necessary. 

How to Keep Your Ball Python Safe During Playtime

Make sure not to handle your ball python too often, as it can stress them out. Besides that, it’s best to keep an eye on them if you allow them to explore your house. Make sure they don’t get into anything that could be dangerous. Be prepared for anything by keeping a pet first aid kit handy.


Ball pythons are like most other snakes. They enjoy a warm terrarium, eat small prey, and enjoy exploring outside their tank. With knowing these basics in mind, you’ll be a better caretaker and give your ball python a comfortable and stimulated life.

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Posted on
November 5, 2020
in
Advice
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