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What are the basic needs of ball pythons? Ball Pythons are gentle creatures, and their defense mechanism involves curling up into a tight ball of stress – rather surprising to some, really; in light of the usual surrounding snakes. What are the basic needs of ball pythons? Ball Pythons also respond fairly well to human touch especially if it is constant; so you would have to make sure that you do not neglect them. What are the basic needs of ball pythons? They are known to be picky eaters and are sensitive to temperature, for which you will have to watch out. You will also have to check them constantly for ticks and mites, their primary parasites.

Basic Need #1: Tank Essentials

What are the basic needs of ball pythons? A Ball Python requires an enclosure that should not exceed one and a half times its length and should not be less than two thirds its lengths.  Any decent enclosure hoping to keep its charge in should have a tight-fitting lid or door, preferably with a lock. The snake enclosure you choose should be one made especially to keep snakes; animals which are known to be quite skilled in the art of escape, and Ball pythons are especially clever and sneaky when it comes to breaking out.

Glass Tanks

There are glass tanks with the combination of fixed screen and hinged glass top. A good starter tank for a hatchling is a 10-gallon tank. A young adult requires a 20-gallon tank, and full adult may require a 30-gallon tank. Such sizes will help accommodate a Ball Python’s normal behavior and exercise. The lid or other panels should be made of wire mesh to allow for good ventilation.

What are the basic needs of ball pythons? After you have bought your snake enclosure, the next step is to furnish it appropriately. Since Ball Pythons like to burrow, there must be a hide box in the cage; into which the snake can comfortably retreat, like a hollow log. This could be made from a wide terra cotta flowerpot. Enlarge the drain hole with a chisel and file it to remove any sharp edges, and place the pot in the cage, with the drain hole side up. The Ball Python will most likely spend most of the daylight hours in the hide box.

Substrate

Shredded cypress or fir bark, paper towels, and newspapers provide a good substrate. Do not use pine or aspen as they can become lodged in your snake’s mouth during feeding. Additionally, your Ball Python should have a water bowl in the enclosure. Your snake will drink in it and soak itself in it, and sometimes, it may even defecate in it. Be sure to always check if it has been soiled and clean it up.

Basic Need #2: Heating and Lighting

Temperatures in savannahs range from 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.  To be able to replicate this in a cage means providing supplemental heating sources – either baseline or hot spot, or both.  An example of the former are under tank heater, and an example of the latter are basic light bulbs, ceramic heat emitters, or heat panels. All pythons, especially Ball Pythons, are very susceptible to thermal burns. Due to this reason, it is not recommended that you use a hot rock. 

Enclosures must allow for a proper thermal gradient that the Ball Python can use, with a hotspot on one end of the enclosure and a cool spot on the other. You should provide a basking spot temperature of 88 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit and an ambient temperature of 78 to 80 degrees. The ambient temperature should not fall below 75 degrees.

Be careful when you select regular incandescent bulbs as one of your heat sources as this will also impact the lighting and day and night control cycles.  You might want to pick out a ceramic heater to substitute occasionally for the bulbs; rotating them as needed, which would also keep down the risks of electrical overheating or malfunctions. 

Artificial Heating Sources

All artificial heating sources should be kept outside of the cage so as to protect the Ball Python from being burned.  Invest in a good thermostat that would measure your temperature while also regulating the actual temperature inside the cage by automatically turning your heat source on and off as needed.  You might also want to double check this manually; checking the cage with a regular thermometer to confirm the readings on your thermostat – which can certainly sometimes fail.  Even with a thermostat, it is always a good idea to use a gauge.

Lighting Requirements

During a 24-hour period, snakes need at least 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness.  A simple timer can help you regulate the lighting cycle. Full-spectrum fluorescent lights will provide good lighting during the day. Unlike some reptiles, full spectrum lighting is not required for your Ball Python, though it still is recommended.  The light can be slowly increased by 2 hours during summertime and decreased by 2 hours during wintertime.

Remember that you shouldn’t use regular light bulbs that you can buy from your hardware store.  There are specialized lights for reptiles that you can purchase from pet stores.  These are intended to provide your pet with UV light that will supply your pet with the proper amount of UVA and UVB rays that your Ball Python will use in regulating their metabolism; to synthesize vitamins and minerals, and to metabolize calcium and help keep their bones strong.  These types of lightning sources are intended to mimic natural sunlight as much as possible.

The 12 Hour Cycle

This photoperiod of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness is important for snakes – particularly for nocturnal ones like the Ball Python.  While you may be turning off the lights for your terrarium or snake cage for 12 hours; don’t forget that room lighting can have a significant impact on the python.  Once you have established your 12-12 hour cycle; try not to “shock” your pet by turning on the lights inside the room where they are kept during the 12 hours when it is supposed to be dark for them.  This can lead to sleep deprivation; which can also lead to a number of other problems – whether it pertains to their health or temperament. Be careful when choosing incandescent bulbs and the wattage they will consume. Higher wattage produces more heat, and this can significantly raise the temperatures within the enclosure.

Humidity Levels

A Ball Python’s enclosure should be kept at 50 percent humidity. If the humidity is extremely low, a daily misting will provide the higher humidity that aids in proper shedding. Ball Pythons should not be kept in a damp environment since this can lead to skin infections and other problems in your pet.

Basic Need #3: Ball Python Prey Items

What are the basic needs of ball pythons? With a snake like the Ball Python, you will have to deal with the fact that you will have to purchase, store, and feed rodents of various sizes to your pet.  This is not a field for the squeamish.  You and the rest of your family will have to accept that there will need to be frozen little mice stored in a freezer in your home.  Frozen packages of dead mice and rats of various sizes or ages can usually be bought from pet supply stores.  For sanitary and health reasons, you should store these separately from your own food items.  

 It is always a good idea to sit down with your family and discuss this with them to make sure they are all on board.  This would also minimize unwanted surprises should one of your family members one day rummage through the freezer for food items.

Prey items come in various sizes: pinkies, fuzzies, hoppers, weans, smalls, and adults. A Ball Python can eat prey larger than its heads, as the skin around its mouth is elastic in nature and allows it to engulf a large food item. However, just because your Ball Python can eat it doesn’t mean you should feed it thus. It is recommended that you feed your Ball Python a frozen rodent that is no larger than the largest portion of its body. After being ingested, the swallowed prey item should just be large enough that your Ball Python gets a slight bump - never a bulge - after having been consumed.  It is always better to err on the side of caution and feed them smaller food items than to feed them rodent sizes that seem too large.

Basic Need #4: Ball Python Shedding

Snakes have specialized belly scales which can grip surfaces and which they use to travel or climb.  Snake scales are extensions of their epidermis – so shedding removes the complete outer layer as a single unit, rather than separately.  This is called shedding, molting, or sloughing, and is useful in replacing old and worn skin while also getting rid of external parasites such as mites and ticks.

Prior to shedding, the snake stops eating and retreats or hides in a safe place.  The inner surface of the skin liquefies at this point, which separates the old skin from the new skin.  When the snake is ready – typically after a few days – the eyes clear again and the snake crawls out of its old skin.  The new skin is typically larger and brighter than the old one.

Their skin becomes dull and dry looking, and their eyes turn cloudy or blue-colored.  Akin to a sock being turned inside out, the old skin breaks near the mouth, and through wriggling and rubbing against rough surfaces, the snake comes out of its old skin – which is peeled back over the body in one piece, from head to tail.  While adult snakes may shed its skin only once or twice a year, younger or juvenile and growing snakes can shed up to four times a year.  

Some recommend placing your snake in a holding cage immediately after a bath as some snakes can defecate immediately after a bath, and you don’t want him doing this too soon within the newly cleaned cage.  Give your python sufficient time in the holding cage to do his business before moving him back to his home.

Basic Need #5: Ball Python Care

What are the basic needs of ball pythons? They have a passive nature. Instead of facing aggression head on, they merely curl their long bodies into tight balls – the very same instinct that earned them their moniker. They are also a lot more tolerant of human handling and care. This makes Ball Python an ideal pet choice for beginners in pet-keeping and for children.

Pay attention to the snake’s responses - often enough, your pet’s reaction will vary – based on the stress they may feel or how you approach them.  Remember to always to keep calm and to make your actions slow and deliberate.  Other influencing factors could be individual and varying temperaments between individual snakes – not all will react the same way, and this is mostly due to their individual experiences of being handled.

They can be very tame as time goes on and they get more used to touching and handling. Though snakes are generally not tactile creatures in general, Ball Pythons in particular are relatively tolerant of human touch. Juvenile Baby Pythons, though, are a bit more secretive and are easy to stress. As they grow, their timidity lessens and they begin to crawl around and explore their habitat. They spend most of their time all balled up or hiding in their shelters. They even sometimes initiate contact by trying to climb their owner’s arms. Do be careful about leaving them unattended, though, because Ball Pythons are notorious escape artists.

Gentle Touch

Almost all snakes tend to thoroughly dislike being petted on their head, as it makes them feel like you are a predator exerting dominance. This will stress them out and may cause them to bite you – a rare occurrence in their species, but may be a result of instinct. Just as well, never pick up your snake by the tail alone either. Doing so may cause it to thrash around in your grip and may end up injuring itself. Support and lift your Ball Python from the mid-body area. It will relax better in your grip.

What are the basic needs of ball pythons? Be extra careful in handling your juvenile Ball Python, as it is also extra shy and extra nervous. Be prepared for the possibilities that it may crawl away from you – juveniles tend to pick the “flight” instinct in “fight or flight,” and this is especially true of as passive a species as a Ball Python. Let the Ball Python become accustomed to your handling. Be gentle and slow in your touch. Be sensitive and gauge how they react to your touch. Pay attention to how your Ball Python responds to your movements.  After all, it isn’t a dog or a cat that can whine, purr, or bark to let its feelings be known.

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