Ball pythons (Python regius) are popular and docile snakes, making them excellent pets for reptile enthusiasts. Proper care is essential to ensure their health and well-being. Here's a care sheet to guide you in providing the best possible care for your ball python:
Enclosure: A PVC enclosure is recommended to hold heat and humidity. For an adult ball python, a 40-gallon enclosure (36" x 18" x 18") is suitable. Younger snakes can start in smaller enclosures and then transition to larger ones as they grow. However, a bigger enclosures is always better in this case.
Substrate: Use appropriate substrate options such as aspen shavings, cypress mulch, or coconut husk. Avoid using substrates that could cause impaction, like sand or gravel.
Hides: Provide at least two hiding spots—one on the warm side and one on the cool side of the enclosure. These hiding spots make the snake feel secure.
Temperature: Maintain a temperature gradient in the enclosure. The warm side should be around 88-92°F (31-33°C), while the cool side should be around 78-80°F (25-27°C). Use Radiant Heat Panels or heat lamps, along with thermostats to regulate the temperature.
Humidity: Ball pythons require a humidity level of 50-60%. Provide a large water dish to help maintain humidity levels. Regularly check humidity with a hygrometer.
Lighting - An LED is all that is needed for your ball python. Some people like to add the UVB for added benefit. They are hiding most of the day so they may or may not utilize the UVB. This is personal preference.
Diet: Ball pythons are carnivorous and primarily eat rodents. Offer appropriately sized frozen-thawed prey items, such as mice or rats. Hatchlings can eat pinky mice, while adults will eat larger prey items like adult mice or rats.
Feeding Schedule: Young ball pythons may eat once every 5-7 days, while adults can be fed every 7-10 days. Adjust the frequency based on the individual snake's appetite and body condition.
Water: Provide a clean water dish large enough for the snake to soak in. Change the water regularly to ensure freshness.
Handling and Enrichment:
Handling: Handle your ball python gently and avoid excessive handling, especially after feeding. Allow them time to acclimate to their new environment before handling extensively.
Enrichment: Provide branches, climbing opportunities, and other items to create an enriched environment. Although they are not as active as some other species, environmental enrichment is essential for their well-being.
Health and Maintenance:
Health Checks: Regularly monitor your snake for signs of health issues, such as changes in appetite, weight loss, or unusual behaviors. If you notice anything concerning, consult a reptile veterinarian.
Cleaning: Clean and disinfect the enclosure regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and parasites. Remove soiled substrate promptly and sanitize the enclosure, hides, and water dish.
Shedding: Ball pythons shed their skin periodically. Ensure they have access to a humidity hide to aid in shedding.
BlackBox XT3, XT4 BIO18 or BlackBox XT4 BIO24?
The choice between the BlackBox XT3 and XT4 depends on the size and age of your ball python and your budget.
The XT3 is perfect for a juvenile and can live it's full life in that size enclosure however, it's best to give them the most space as possible. If you are not on a tight budget or have any space constraints, we would recommend the bigger enclosures.
If your ball python is on the larger size the following two would be a better choice. They offer more space for the snake to move around and explore.
BlackBox XT4 BIO18: 48" x 24" x 18" Tall
BlackBox XT4 BIO24: 48" x 24" x 24" Tall
Ultimately, providing enough space for your ball python to feel secure and comfortable is crucial. If your budget allows for the larger enclosure, the XT4 would be a great long-term investment for an adult ball python.
We also recommend adding a permanent or removable shelf since the Ball Pythons are active at night and love to climb. Most people don't know this because they are usually asleep when their snake is awake.
We have durable dark hides that Ball Pythons love. We recommend one for the cool side and one for the warm side. Most will fit in a BlackBox Medium Hide.
Remember, every snake is unique, so always observe your ball python's behavior and adjust its care accordingly. Seeking advice from experienced reptile owners or veterinarians is also valuable.