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Do ball pythons make good pets? The ball python is the best snake for first – time exotic pet keepers. It measures around 3 to 4 feet on average, and can only get as big as 5 or 6 feet. Do ball pythons make good pets? Compare to other constricting snakes that can also be kept as pets, ball pythons stand out because of their small size, docile temperament, and how easy they are to handle. In this article, you’ll learn the answer to the question, do ball pythons make good pets?

Do Ball Pythons Make Good Pets: Behavior of Ball Pythons

The scientific name of ball pythons is Python regius. The life expectancy of ball pythons especially in captivity is around 20 to 30 years.

Do ball pythons make good pets? As mentioned earlier, ball pythons are generally docile pets. In fact, the reason why they got the name “ball python” is because when they are threatened, they will just roll themselves up into a tight ball. They just tuck their heads inside the coils that they make. For juvenile ball pythons, they grow one foot every year. These pets can live for quite a long time if you provide them with proper care and a stress – free environment.

Wild Caught vs. Captive Bred

Do ball pythons make good pets? We highly recommend that you only buy bally pythons that are raised in captivity. This is because wild – caught snakes that possibly came from illegal pet trade. Usually, illegally caught snakes in the wild tend to be more aggressive. In addition to that, these wild snakes are stressed out from being captured and transfer. Most likely, these snakes also have harbored a large load of parasite. The only advantage of buying a wild – caught ball python is that they are way cheaper at the on – set. But in the long – run, you’ll see that this is not the best way to invest in this exotic pet. On the other hand, captive – bred ball pythons are more expensive but there’s a guarantee that they are healthy, docile and readily available.  

Housing Ball Pythons

Do ball pythons make good pets? What makes them good pets is the fact that they are not active. You won’t see them moving around all the time. This is actually an advantage if you prefer to house them in a small type of enclosure (a 10 to 20 gallon tank for young or juvenile snakes). Eventually, once you reach adulthood, you need to transfer them to a larger tank (30 to 40 gallon tank). What you need to watch out for is that ball pythons are clever and sneaky. They are sort of escape artists, so you need to make sure that the enclosure has a secure and fitted top.   

Bedding

Do ball pythons make good pets? When it comes to providing a bedding, you have various choices for a substrate. This can include newsprint, shredded barks, or Astroturf. Most keepers use Astroturf because it’s the easiest because you can easily cut a few pieces to fit the enclosure. You can also easily replace the dirty pieces as need be. In fact, the soiled pieces can be soaked in a solution of 1 gallon of water with two tablespoons of bleach. Just rinse it well, dry it up and you can easily use it again.

In addition to a bedding, you also need to provide a suitable hiding place as well as sturdy branches. Sometimes ball python snakes feel stressed if the enclosure is too large for them. The function of a hideout is for them to feel safe and have the chance for a “me” time. 

Heating 101

Do ball pythons make good pets? Ball pythons are cold – blooded animals. They can’t produce their own body heat. This is why their cage needs to be heated up and the humidity levels need to be maintained. The temperature should be around 80 and 85 Fahrenheit during the day. The basking spot should be slightly higher (around 90 Fahrenheit). When nighttime comes, the temperature should be maintained at around 75 to 80 Fahrenheit.

Most keepers use a heating pad that goes under the tank. This type of equipment is designed for reptiles though it can be hard to monitor the temperature. You may also use a ceramic heating or a heat bulb. This is best if you want to achieve and also maintain the right temperature especially in the basking area.

You should not use hot rocks because this can burn your ball python’s skin. Whenever you’re using a heat bulb, make sure that it is screened off so that your pet won’t also burn themselves. You can use multiple thermometers to accurately measure all sides of the cage. Make sure to place one at the bottom of the enclosure and also one at the warm area.

Soaking Dish

Do ball pythons make good pets? You also need to provide a dish where your ball python can soak in. This should be place in the cooler side of the cage, though some place it on the basking side as well. Soaking is very important for snakes especially when they need to shed. Some people provide a covered dish with a hole as this can prevent the snake from drowning. At the same time, it will enable them to soak as long as they want.

Another alternative is through giving them a humidity retreat. This is similar to a covered container with an access hole that you can line up with moss. This will also help provide moisture.

Food and Water

Do ball pythons make good pets? Ball pythons love eating rodents (small to medium – sized rats). The size of the food and the amount/ frequency will depend on the size and age of your pet snake. On average, you need to feed your pet just once a week, or every two weeks. For young ball pythons, since they are growing, you need to feed them fuzzy mice every 5 to 7 days. For older ball pythons, you need to feed them a larger mouse or rat. This could last them for up to two weeks. Make sure to only feed pre – killed prey in order to avoid your pet from being injured. 

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