Owning a Ball Python

 In Andes-Straley Services, Exotic Pet

Congratulations on deciding to welcome a ball python into your life! These gentle giants are a popular choice for beginner reptile enthusiasts, thanks to their docile temperament and relatively low-maintenance care requirements.

Getting to Know Your Ball Python:

  • Adult Size: Ball pythons reach adulthood around 3 years old and can grow to 3-5 feet in length.
  • Temperament: Ball pythons are generally calm and unlikely to bite. However, proper handling is still crucial to ensure a positive experience for both you and your snake.

Creating a Happy Home:

  • Habitat Size: A 20-gallon tank is sufficient for a baby ball python, but adults will need a larger enclosure, ideally 30-40 gallons or even bigger depending on the snake’s size.
  • Substrate: Provide a comfortable and absorbent substrate like coconut fiber or reptile bark for your ball python to burrow and explore.
  • Temperature and Humidity: Maintain a warm basking spot of 88-96°F with a cooler ambient temperature of 78-80°F. The humidity level should be around 40-60%, increasing slightly during shedding periods.
  • Lighting: Ball pythons are nocturnal, so they only need 8-12 hours of light per day. Use an infrared bulb at night to provide heat without disrupting their sleep cycle.
  • Water and Hiding Spots: Ensure your python has constant access to a clean, chlorine-free water bowl large enough to soak in. Provide hides on both the warm and cool sides of the tank for your snake to feel secure.

Feeding Your Ball Python:

  • Diet: Ball pythons are carnivores and thrive on a diet of frozen rodents. Start with appropriately sized frozen mice for baby ball pythons, gradually transitioning to larger prey like rats as they mature.
  • Thawing Food: Never thaw frozen rodents in a microwave! Instead, place the sealed bag in a refrigerator for thawing overnight or in a bowl of cool water. Before feeding, warm the rodent in warm water to simulate a live prey’s temperature.
  • Feeding Schedule: Baby ball pythons typically eat once a week, while adults need feeding every 1-2 weeks.
  • Separate Tank Feeding: It’s best to feed your ball python in a separate tank to avoid the snake associating its enclosure with feeding, which could lead to feeding aggression.

Habitat Maintenance:

  • Cleaning: Thoroughly clean your ball python’s tank once a week. Remove the snake to a separate enclosure and clean all surfaces with a 3% bleach solution. Rinse everything thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before adding fresh substrate and furnishings.


Ball pythons shed their skin regularly. Ensure proper humidity levels to aid the shedding process. Avoid pulling on any retained skin; it will come off naturally when the time is right.

Veterinary Care:

For comprehensive information on ball python care and veterinary advice, contact Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital. We’re committed to helping your ball python thrive for many years to come! Schedule an appointment today and let our experienced team guide you on this exciting new journey.