So, you have found Ball Pythons intriguing. And you want to keep one as a pet. Either as a beginner reptile keeper or a seasoned one, you might be wondering, are ball pythons good pets? How should someone keep and take care of one? Well, no need to worry as today I will be explaining to you just that in this article.
The answer is yes, Ball Pythons are amazing pets. They are very easy to keep and maintain, even for beginner reptile owners. They are not venomous and are very calm, so taking care of them and petting them will be a pleasant experience for anyone interested.
In this article, I will try to give you a detailed description of Ball Pythons and layout some general rules for keeping and taking care of them. Keeping such things in mind will be vital if you decide to keep them as pets. These details will help you prepare appropriately, so I urge you to read it thoroughly.
What Makes Ball Pythons Good Pets?
Ball Pythons are the smallest kind of African pythons. In some regions, they are also known as Royals. This name originated from the fact that Egyptian royalties used to keep these snakes as pets for decorative reasons. Sometimes they were also worn around their wrists.
The name “Ball Python” originates from a habit of these snakes. Ball pythons are very shy creatures. They roll themselves into a ball when they are frightened and tuck their heads in the middle. This action of rolling into a ball caused people to call them Ball Pythons.
Ball Pythons are generally very calm. They are nocturnal, so they prefer to hunt at night. They are usually resting during the day. Ball Pythons are docile and very friendly snakes. If handled with care, they will develop a fondness for you. Sometimes they like to wrap themselves around your arm, but you can easily unwrap them if you want to.
Their friendly and calm nature makes them an amazing pet for any beginner reptile keeper. Even if you do not plan to acquire more snakes in the future a Ball Python can be an amazing reptilian companion to you and bring you a lot of joy.
Some Biological Facts About Ball Pythons
The scientific name for Ball Pythons is Python regius. They are the smallest of African Pythons. Their natural habitat is savannah, grassland, and sparsely wooded areas. As I have mentioned before they are nocturnal and hunt at night. They are non-venomous constrictors; they like to kill their prey by squeezing.
Originating in Africa, these snakes usually grow up to 3 to 4 feet. However, on rare occasions, they can exceed 5 feet. A fully grown adult Ball Python usually weighs around 3 to 4 pounds but can easily exceed 7 pounds. They are a relatively smaller breed of pythons and are smaller than a lot of other breeds.
The average lifespan of a Ball Python is usually around 30 years. In the wilderness, that lifespan is cut short due to predators. Larger snakes, birds, animals, and even some insects and frogs are among these predators. In captivity, however, Ball Pythons can live up to 50 years. You can expect your pet to live for around 40 years with proper care.
5 Best Ball Python Morphs as Pet
Choosing your first ball python could be a daunting task. There are so many morphs out there with their various patterns and differing price points. Well, here I will be talking about some of the most popular ones so that you can choose the one that best suits your taste.
1. Spider Ball Python
With a unique dominant gene, spider morphs came into the markets in 1999. They possess a dominating gene and have a tan-brown base that lightens down the spine. In the sides of their belly, the color pales and is patterned with specks.
Additionally, they also possess slender, dark spots and bands on their body and distinct black marks on their head and faces. The Spider ball python is the most well-known morph that has a high demand and is very affordable.
Click Here to check the the photos and latest price of Spider Ball Pythons.
2. Banana Ball Python
The Banana ball python is characterized by its strong yellow-colored blotches and spots on a tan base. In 2003, they were first revealed in a clutch possessing a codominant gene. Snake enthusiasts love this morph as they have a unique pattern and are relatively affordable.
Sometimes, you’ll see dark freckles against their mild yellow bodies. Their price depends on their gender and pattern.
Click Here to check the the photos and latest price of Banana Ball Pythons.
3. Albino Ball Python
The first-ever recessive morph was the Albino ball python. The snake is amelanistic, meaning that it can’t create black, red, or orange pigmented scales. It’s also why these snakes typically have a bright glow pattern and glowing red eyes.
Enthusiasts and breeders love the Albino ball pythons for their vibrant pattern that displays various shades of yellow. Their price depends on their age and contrast, but they’re typically very affordable. You can purchase them for $200-$300.
Click Here to check the the photos and latest price of Albino Ball Pythons.
4. Pied Ball Python
One of the most easily recognizable morphs is the Pied ball python with variable patterns. They possess a recessive gene, always have a white base, and erratic patterns fill their color patches.
Their price depends on the amount of white they have on their body. You can purchase these ball pythons for $300-$500.
Click Here to check the the photos and latest price of Pied Ball Pythons.
5. Axanthic Ball Python
The Axanthic ball pythons are not easy to find. A recessive gene is responsible for its pattern and varying shades of gray, white, black, and silver colors.
They don’t have red or yellow pigments on their scales, and their vibrant pattern turns brown as they age. These snakes are also relatively affordable.
Click Here to check the the photos and latest price of Axanthic Ball Pythons.
Keeping A Ball Python
You will need to keep your Ball Python in a terrarium that is 40 gallons or larger. Such as the Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosure. Your pet will be more comfortable in a spacious tank. You will need to set up the bedding with softer materials. Do not use harsher materials just for better cosmetics. Something like moss or newspaper shredding work best.
You will need to set up two sides in the tank. One hot side and one cool side. Buy a heat lamp and set it up on one side for the hot side and the other side can be the cool side. You will have to set up two thermometers to regulate the temperature of both sides. The cool end should be around 80-85ºF and the hot side should be about 90-95ºF.
The Ball Python will also need hiding spots. One on both sides of the tank. You can buy readymade hiding boxes or opt-in for terracotta pots. Keep in mind that the hiding spot needs to as such so that you can easily get the python out of there if you need to.
You will need to keep the humidity of the tank around 50-60%. It can be done by regular misting of the cage, covering a portion of the top, and placing an aquarium air stone in the water bowl. Using a heat and humidity monitoring device like the ThermoPro TP50.
For more information on keeping ball pythons, I’d like you to check out my ball python guide where I explain every aspect of keeping ball pythons like housing, feeding and more.
Feeding Ball Pythons
Ball Pythons generally eat every 7 to 14 days. Young Ball Pythons need to eat almost every week while adults can go up to a month without eating. Based on age the amount and frequency of your ball python feeding can change. So, stay aware of that. You should not handle your Ball Python for at least a day after eating. Handling them so soon after eating can cause them to vomit.
Do not attempt to feed your ball python live prey as they can get hurt very easily from scratches and bites. Frozen rodents are the best options, you can even pre-kill a live prey for your python. The feed should not be wider than the widest part of your snake.
Simply place the rodent in the habitat and leave it be. If your Ball Python does not seem interested in the feed then take it out after an hour or so. Try again the next day. In the winter they often skip feeding so try after a few days at that time.
Handling Ball Pythons
Holding your ball python for the first time can be unsettling. Be patient while trying to hold your snake. They might be scared of you at first so let them be familiar with you first. They might try to bite and, in that case, try after a few days. When picking them up use both hands to support their entire body.
Sit down and relax when holding your snake. When you are relaxed and calm it will help the snake to feel calm too. Sitting down will reduce movement and help with balance. That will help the python feel calm and secure.
Do not handle your snake the day you intend to do the feeding. Many snakes feel a bit stressed after handling and will not eat. Also do not handle at least a day after the feeding as that would cause them to vomit as I have already mentioned earlier.
Taking Care of Ball Pythons
To properly care for your Ball Python, you will first need to keep its habitat clean. Clean any wet spots and feces every day. You will need to clean up the tank a bit every day to keep them comfortable. Also, change the water of the soaking tub every day with fresh water.
Remove any dead skins they might shed at shedding time. Do not leave them be. Also, disinfecting the whole tank once every month is necessary to help keep the python healthy.
You will sometimes need to put your ball python in a tub full of water so it can clean itself. In the shedding period putting something like a pinecone or a branch so the python can rub off the dead skin is also necessary.
Pay attention to your ball pythons health. If the skin looks odd or there is a breathing problem you might need to contact the vet. A healthy snake will have a gentle yet firm grip. Notice how your Ball Python grips around your wrist. If the gripping is odd or the snake seems fidgety then there might be a problem.
So, are ball pythons good pets? They sure are. They are calm, easy to keep and beautiful to look at. All they require is just a little bit of care and attention from your part which is basically nothing compared to what a dog, cat or hamster might need.
I hope this article was of help to you in deciding whether ball pythons would be the best choice for you. Have a great day and farewell.