Ball Pythons are native to Africa. If they were in the wild, they would spend their days slithering through grass, woodlands, farms, and exploring areas to burrow. Their average lifespan is between 20-40 years and are a long commitment. They are one of the most common breeds bred to be pets. They are known for having such a large variety of colors and patterns. Did you know there are about 6500 known morphs?
The absolute minimum enclosure size recommended for an adult ball python would be a 4x2x2 enclosure. Baby snakes can be housed in 40 gallon tanks and increase their tank size as they grow. Female ball pythons tend to be larger than males. Snakes can stress themselves in enclosures that are too large but they also need enough space to sprawl out. There are many different items sold at pet stores marketed for reptiles that are actually not safe. We are fans of doing what you can to replicate your snake's natural environment. Your enclosure should also have areas to hide as well as branches and leaves for your snake to be able to climb over.
Because snakes are cold-blooded, they need to have an enclosure that will assist in helping them regulate their body temperature. Their enclosure should have a warm side and a cool side. The warm side should be between 90-95 degrees F and the cool side should be between 75-80 degrees F. The best way to check the temperature of their home is by using a temp gun. Their enclosure also needs to be kept at a humidity of 55-65% (but as long as it is kept between 40-80% it is okay).
Ball pythons are crepuscular which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. It is best to provide lightning that would be natural to reflecting the day/night cycle. Snakes also benefit from having a UVB light. UVBs not only help reptiles absorb calcium but they also kill bacteria. We highly encourage them.
They must eat whole animals and there is nothing that can replace that. Based on the weight of your snake, the size of prey will vary as well as how often you must feed them. The larger the snake, the longer it takes for their body to digest therefore they eat less oft. Typically for an adult ball python, they eat every 8-16 days. It is best to feed your snake inside their enclosure. We recommend feeding frozen thawed and never feeding live prey (as it can cause injuries to both the prey and the snake). A water dish large enough for your snake to soak in, should be available in their enclosure at all times.
Do not handle your snake after 48 hours of feeding as this can cause regurgitation. It is also very stressful to them and can lead to death. Do not handle your snake if their eyes start to become cloudy as they are preparing to shed and cannot see well. This can make them more jumpy than usual and more likely to bite out of self-defense.
Ball pythons shed between 4-12 times a year (not a very helpful estimate). The younger they are, the more they are likely to shed. If your snake is struggling to shed, you can help them by increasing their humidity, let them soak in a warm bath, or use a warm damp paper towel to let them slither against to help them shed.