Guide to Ball Python Snakes
So you’ve finally decided to own your first ball python and need some tips to be ready for your snake. Ball pythons snakes are great for beginner reptile owners. They reach adulthood by 3 years of age. They generally have a gentle temperament and are docile snakes. They are also reluctant to bite, which makes them a good snake to handle. There are always exceptions, and they should always be handled gently and with care and caution. They can be very friendly snakes. They need to be handled at least once or twice a day, though, so they are used to being held and moved. These are some helpful tips on ball python snakes.
Diet for Your Ball Python
Your ball python is a carnivore and will eat various rodent species. A baby ball python will start out with small mice and may eventually eat a rat. You can buy frozen rodents for your snake but will need to prepare them before feeding them to your ball python. To unthaw/warm a frozen rodent, you will place it in a bag and start by thawing it in a refrigerator or bowl full of cool water. Before feeding it to your snake, you will place the rodent in a bowl of warm water. Do NOT use a microwave to thaw/heat the frozen rodent. If feeding your snake live rodents, do not leave them unattended. Live rodents can injure the snake, sometimes even fatally.
Feeding the Snake
Here are some things to remember when feeding your ball python:
- Baby/juvenile ball pythons will eat once a week.
- Adult ball pythons will eat every one to two weeks.
- Feed in a separate tank.
- Provide clean, chlorine-free water in a large bowl for your python to soak in.
Habitat and Maintenance
A baby ball python will need at least a 20L tank for its habitat. As it reaches adulthood, it will require a 30-40 gallon sometimes larger tank. You will need to get substrate, mulch-like bedding such as coconut fibers, or reptile bark for the bottom of the habitat. Maintain a humidity of 40-60% and only raise that a little when your snake is shedding. Provide your ball python with a basking spot temperature of 88 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit and an ambient temperature of 78 to 80 degrees. They only need light 8 to 12 hours a day, using infrared/nocturnal light at night. You will need to clean the habitat once a week thoroughly. Move your ball python to a separate tank. Cleaning the tank and furnishings with a 3% bleach solution, rinse, and let dry thoroughly before replacing the new substrate and the furnishings.
Grooming and Hygiene
Your ball python will regularly shed its skin. Ensure the humidity in its habitat is at the appropriate level to ensure your snake is comfortable while shedding. Never remove eye caps by yourself.
To seek more information on owning ball python snakes or to seek veterinary care, please feel free to contact us here at Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital to set up an appointment today.