If you are in search for a ball python care sheet, you are probably considering purchasing your first pet ball python or you have just purchased your first pet ball python. In either situation, I am sure that you want to keep your pet ball python in the best conditions possible. To help you with taking proper care of your ball python, we have put together a complete ball python care sheet to help you get introduced into the world of herpetoculture with the captive care of ball pythons!!
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Ball Pythons As Pets
When I was considering purchasing my first pet ball python, the decision was not easy. I was nervous. This ball python was going to be my first “exotic” pet and I didn’t know what to expect. Turns out much of the worry wasn’t needed. Ball pythons are very simple and docile pet snakes to care for in captivity. If you are on-the-fence about getting a pet ball python or just want some ease of mind with your new pet, here is some information for you.
Why Ball Pythons Make Good Pet Snakes?
Unlike high maintenance pets like cats and dogs, ball pythons (like most pet snakes) generally do not require a large amount of time, money and space. Ball pythons feed once a week which means you can go out of town for a weekend without worrying about boarding your pet snake or having someone pet sit. Ball pythons are an exotic and interesting pet to keep that usually start some sort of conversation. While ball pythons can be seclusive and shy, they still have the potential to exhibit interesting natural behaviors to observe under your care.
Some Things To Expect With Your First Pet Ball Python
Before you commit to purchasing your first pet snake, you need to consider several important items:
1. Ball pythons can have a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years. With this considered, caring for a ball python can be a significant commitment. Few people consider that pet snakes have the potential to have a lifespan twice as long as a cat or dog. If you are buying a pet ball python for your 10 year old child, remember that the ball python has the potential to still be around when your child turns 40 years old.
2. Ball pythons have the potential to grow between 4 and 5 feet. Most of the size depends on the sex of the snake. For example, male ball pythons are generally smaller with a typical length of 3 to 4 feet. Female ball pythons do generally reach at least 4 feet and can even approach 6 feet in extreme cases.
3. Ball pythons eat rodents. Ball pythons eat rodents as their sole source of nutrition. When getting a ball python, you must be prepared to defrost frozen rodents or feed your snake live rodents if necessary.
5. Ball pythons only needs to be fed once every one or two weeks. Unlike dogs or cats that you have to board when you go out of town for a week, you can wait to get back in town to feed your snake as long as their home is setup properly and they have access to clean water.
6. Ball pythons can be seclusive. Most snakes tend to be somewhat seclusive and skittish. For example, young ball pythons typically like to earn their name and curl into a tight ball when scared. Sometimes you may not see your snake moving around its enclosure for days while other times it may be very active.
7. Ball pythons are not dogs or cats. They don’t like to cuddle and typically will only tolerate handling in small amounts. These animals are not designed to be taken out of their enclosures for extended periods of time and can suffer health problems if handled for prolonged amounts of time. Snakes can bite just like cats or dogs, but should not warrant the fear that they are often given. Cat or dog bites are generally much worse than a bite from a small pet snake.
8 Ball pythons can come in a variety of color and pattern variations. You may see ball pythons labeled as fancy at some pet stores. Other people may identify them as morphs.
Housing Ball Pythons
Ball python care, as with the care of so many other reptiles is simple once you get the housing right.
Set up a vivarium in the right way and anyone can successfully keep one of these beautiful, docile, reasonably-sized snakes.In this basic guide to ball python care we’re going to take a look briefly as feeding and then more onto the key ingrediant of housing ball pythons.
Ball pythons are not overly active snakes but will move around after dark and explore their cage so it should be a reasonable size to be kind.
Your python should ideally be able to stretch out fully in their cage so a 60cm long cage is the absolute minimum that should be considered for a growing youngster, to a 120cm cage for a midsize snake and 2m or more for one or two adults.
Line the base of the cage with a dry substrate that will absorb any spilled water etc. – something like corn cob granules sold specially for reptiles is ideal. The cage should be kept dry so that the substrate doesn’t start to develop mould and your snake doesn’t start to suffer from skin conditions so dry to provde some kind of ventilation to allow air to circulate.
Ball pythons can be sky creatures at the best of times so a light is not needed unless you want it to see your snake better. Ball pythons are typically nocturnal though and are unlikely to move around much until the evening. Furthermore, due to the potential stress of being in sight of humans, try to provide some sort of hiding place under or into which the entire snake can hide. Some curved bark, a dardboard box or one of the specially-made reptile hides are all suitable if they are the right size.
Temperature And Humidity In A Ball Python Enclosure
You will also need to add heating so that the cage has a hot end and a cooler end and can therefore regulate it’s own temperature. The temperature at the warm end should ideally be in the range of 28-32′C though a drop of a few degrees at night is perfectly acceptable.
In the wild, ball pythons have access to a large range of temperature and humidity conditions. For example, a ball python may travel to the entrance of a burrow to get a warmer temperature or travel deeper into a burrow to escape the heat underground. This range of temperatures allows the cold-blooded ball python to self-regulate it’s body temperate to suit.
Feeding Ball Pythons
Assuming you opt for a captive-bred python they will be reasonably easy to feed on dead creatures of a suitable size with frozen chicks and rodents generally being the most common food items and can be sourced from any number of reptile stores or good quality websites.
In general, ball pythons will take any item that is equal to or smaller than the widest part of their body. In this way a newborn hatchling may eat fuzzies (young mice just starting to get their fur) while an adult python may eat adult rats.
The frequency of feeding depends on the snake itself. For example, when a snake is happily taking an adult mouse once a week, it is normal to start offering him two a week with a few days between them. Once he is taking both of them each week, the next stage to try is one small rat each week whose volume is just larger than the two adult mice added together and so you go on, slowly increasing either the number of food items or the frequency of feeding as your snake grows.
It goes without saying that freshwater should be available at all times, ideally in a bowl large enough that your snake can bathe if it so chooses (though it is not common in ball pythons) and this water should be changed daily, or even more often if it becomes messy sooner.