Having a ball python as a pet may be intimidating, but the truth is they are manageable. If you are planning to own a ball python, you should know more about them before getting one.
Ball pythons, also known as royal pythons, are in the same family as Boas. Boas are known as constrictor snakes as they wrap their body around their prey to kill it and swallow it whole.
Typically, ball pythons would grow up to 36 to 48 inches long and weigh up to 5 pounds, depending on their length.
If you are planning to get a ball python as a pet, here are a few things to consider:
#1: Setting up its cage
Unlike furry pets, pythons require a decent habitat. You can’t just let it loose all the time.
Caring for ball pythons, you need at least a 30-gallon glass terrarium with a secure lid and proper ventilation. Cover the bottom of the terrarium with substrate material such as newspaper, orchid bark or moss, and or AstroTurf. Here are a few things to include inside the cage:
- Water bowl
- Soaking tub
- Heat map or lamp
- Box to hide
- Object to rub to remove the skin
You can check Reptile Pets Rock for additional advice in setting up the cage.
#2: Feeding with the right food
Snakes eat either live small rats or mice. However, you can also train a young pet snake to eat thawed-out, frozen mice.
How to feed the snake?
Firstly, you need a separate cage or feeding container for your python. And if you are going to feed your python with live mice, you need to place the mice first inside the feeding area before the python. Then, cover the container and let the snake sense that his meal has been served.
Stay and observe if your pet snake eats. However, if the snake is not hungry, you should remove the snake or the mouse out of the container to avoid the mouse scratching the snake. Then, try feeding the snake the next day.
How often do you feed a ball python?
Generally, a small or a young ball python eats twice a week. Meanwhile, a larger or adult ball python eats once a week.
Here’s something to take note of. Ball pythons are finicky when it comes to their diet; they even fast a minimum of 6 months, especially during colder months. So, don’t panic when your pet python wouldn’t budge eating their meal for days.
#3: Ball python hygiene and care
The snake usually sheds their skin regularly, so getting an object to scrub their skin is a must. Provide enough lighting inside the terrarium with two sides of the different ideal temperatures of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool side and 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit on the warm side. Also, do not forget to provide a basking area on the warm side with 88-92 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do not forget to provide your ball python with a shallow and open water bowl, where your snake can soak.
#4: Bring your python pet to the vet
Within 48 hours from your purchase, you should bring your new pet python to a vet to have him examined. And as a responsible ball python parent or owner, you should bring your pet python to the vet once a year.