Ball pythons are one of the most popular types of pet snakes sold in the exotic pet industry—and it’s not hard to see why. There are thousands of beautiful ball python morph combinations to choose from with colors ranging from vivid oranges and reds to exotic purples, whites, and blacks and every color in between. Stunning looks aside, there are plenty of practical benefits to owning ball pythons too. They’re beloved in the herp community for being low-maintenance animals that are social and not prone to illness. But no matter which reasons you have for wanting a ball python as a pet, here are a few important things to remember about owning one:
Ball Pythons Are From Grassland Areas
Contrary to popular belief Ball Pythons are not from the desert. The number one mistake new pet owners make is keeping these animals in a desert setup like a bearded dragon. Ball Pythons are naturally sub terranean animals that live in abandoned rodent burrows. They like low heat and high humidity. Temperatures of high 70s to mid 80s are preferred with humidity levels of 75% and above. The best heat source is an undertank heat pad that is tucked into a corner of the terrarium to allow for the snake to move away from it if needed
They Have A Long Lifespan
On average, ball pythons can live up to 30 years in captivity. In fact, one of the oldest snakes on record is a 62-year-old ball python that currently lives in the St. Louis Zoo in Missouri. Aside from being a significant commitment, it’s important to remember that snakes are a rare type of organism called an indeterminate grower. They never stop growing! Be mindful not to overfeed your pet ball python which can cause them to grow well beyond their average 4-5 feet in length over the course of their several decades of life.
How To Feed Your Ball Python
Like most other snakes, ball pythons have a diet that primarily consists of rodents. Although live mice and rats are readily available in most pet stores, it’s widely recommended to avoid live prey, lest it causes harm to your snake. Instead, snake owners use frozen, pre-killed mice to safely feed their pets, though there can be an adjustment period. To train your snake to accept this kind of food, warm the dead rodents or cover them in broth. If you feel squeamish at the thought, it should help that adult ball pythons eat infrequently, only once every 10-14 days.
They’re Friendly, But Don’t Over Do It
Another reason for the ball python being a fan-favorite is their pleasant temperament. They’re known for being one of the most social snakes and the most tolerant to human handling. Naturally, this is an attractive quality to have in a pet and one that is rather rare in the reptile world. But just because ball pythons are some of the friendliest snake species, there can still be such thing as too much handling. Most ball pythons can tolerate daily handling, but try to cap it at 15 minutes a day, or even shorter depending on the snake’s body language. Learning to recognize your snake’s sign of agitation will go a long way towards building a meaningful bond.
Now that you’ve got the essentials down, you’re ready to get one for yourself! You can find ball pythons for sale almost anywhere that snakes are sold. For the greatest selection of ball python morphs, specialty online reptile shops will have the greatest variety for you to choose from. You’ll also find everything you need to care for your new pet from the tank to the substrate and more.
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