Banana Ball Python: Care, Size, Lifespan and More

Banana Ball Pythons are a color morph of the standard ball python. They’re called “bananas” because of their bright yellow color and dark brown or black speckling, which is weirdly similar to an aging banana!

This morph was first found in the late 1990s or early 2000s. The original animals were imported wild-caught. Captive-bred banana ball pythons used to sell for well over $10,000 each! But a lot has changed in the past 21 years!

Continue reading to find out more about this intriguing ball python morph!

What Is A Banana Ball Python?

Banana Ball Python is well known for its yellow spots on a brown body, it evolved naturally in the wild – but it’s extremely rare.

Will Slough bred a banana morph for the first time in 2003 and sold it for more than $20,000 at the time. However, as their population increased throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, the price fell to $150.

There are over 20 different types of banana morphs that are popular due to their bright colors and gentle nature. Some of the most well-known are:

  • Banana pied.
  • Banana cinnamon.
  • Banana pied.
  • Banana spider.
  • Black pastel banana.

Ball pythons are non-venomous snakes that live as constrictor snakes. They hunt by suffocating their prey rather than poisoning it with a bite.

The Banana ball python is from West Africa, where they area used to hot temperatures and short rainy seasons. Their enclosure should be large (at least 30 gallons), with warm temperatures, high humidity, and plenty of hiding places.

Many West African tribes regard the Ball Python as a symbol of the Earth. A ball python is given an honorary funeral if it is killed.

Any sudden movement can frighten banana ball pythons. But they can learn to enjoy handling if you ease them into it and take your time. They can become stressed if they are handled excessively.

The ‘ball’ in their name refers to the shape this snake takes in defense. When they are threatened or stressed, they curl up into a small ball with their head in the center.

They are considered a good choice for beginners because they are easier to handle than other snakes.

Natural Habitats of the Ball Python Snake

Like every other kind of Ball Python, banana ball pythons originate from West Africa. They can also be found in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Uganda.

The weather in these places is typically very hot, ranging from 60 Fahrenheit and up to 103 Fahrenheit. These regions don’t get much rain because they’re located in between the southern and northern hemispheres of the continent. And even when they do get some rain, it’s usually very little.

The habitats banana ball pythons usually tend to find appealing are grassland, sparsely wooded areas, and savannas. Although they like these environments the most, they can still adapt to many kinds of habitats.

Its adaptability is what made the banana ball python such a popular pet snake. Keeping a ball python in an enclosure that resembles its natural environment is good for its health and will help it feel more comfortable.

How Banana Ball Pythons Hunt

In their natural environment, banana ball pythons, like all other animal species, must keep an eye out for predators. For adult-sized snakes, these predators include humans, wild pigs, warthogs, and leopards.

Baby or adolescent banana ball pythons also need to deal with predators such as birds and hedgehogs, in addition to the other predators that this species of snake faces. All of these predators share the same habitat and ecosystem as the banana ball python.

On the other hand, the banana ball python has its prey, which it must eat to survive. When the banana ball python is young, it feeds on large crickets, pinkies, and fuzzies, and when it is fully grown, it feeds on adult mice.

The banana ball python doesn’t have to worry about physical predators when it is kept in captivity. They only have to worry about maintaining proper living conditions and getting enough food.

Do Banana Ball pythons make good pets?

Yes, Banana Ball Pythons are one of the BEST options for new snake owners who want to keep tropical reptiles and are willing to do the research. The truth is that they are not as easy to care for as standard North American colubrids like king snakes and corn snakes, and may be considered a step up in difficulty.

Aside from their higher heat and humidity requirements, Banana Ball Pythons are more picky eaters, which may cause some newbie reptile keepers to panic when hunger strikes. However, don’t be too concerned because this species can go months without eating.

Once they’re used to their new surroundings and the sight and scent of their handler, they tolerate and even seem to enjoy being handled and having the freedom to explore outside of their normal environment. Banana Ball Pythons rarely bite, even when they are scared or shy. They usually coil into a tight ball instead.

Banana Ball Pythons are a great choice for children. Their beefy, compact bodies make them a breeze to control. They are too large to injure accidentally with tight-gripping hands and too small to cause serious harm to humans. This species is also fairly inactive and slow-moving, which can be reassuring for beginner owners.

Male-Maker and Female-Maker Banana Ball pythons

Male banana ball python cost $12,000-$20,000, meanwhile, male banana ball pythons were going for over $60,000! This is because the breeders of the first captive-bred generation found that they were producing disproportion in the population of the snakes, gender-wise, with there being more females than male snakes.

While many ball python breeders have strong theories on the subject, we still don’t know exactly how the Banana mutation works. However, We can be certain that this disparity in sexual distribution exists after years of breeding Banana balls.

If you are purchasing a male Banana Ball python for your breeding collection, ask the seller which parent was a Banana Ball python. If his mother was a Banana python, your new snake will probably be a female maker; if his father was a Banana python, he will most likely be a male maker.

You may have specific plans for future breedings if you are working on designer morphs. Knowing ahead of time that your Bananas will be heavily skewed toward one gender may be beneficial.

The male-maker/female-maker debate is just intriguing for most Banana ball owners. There is no evidence that male- or female-maker Bananas or their offspring have any genetic problems.

Banana Snake Appearance

The banana ball python, as the name implies, has bright yellow patches on a tan background. They may have “freckles” all over their body. A female banana ball python can reach lengths of 3 to 5 feet. Male banana ball pythons can grow to be 2 – 3 feet long.

Super banana ball pythons are the same size as regular ball pythons. A super ball python is essentially a python that inherited the banana mutation gene from both parents rather than one.

The simplest way to determine whether you have a regular or super banana ball python is to color it.  Super banana ball pythons have a duller, washed-out look. Their base is gray or brown rather than tan, and their patches are tan instead of true yellow.

Ball python genetics

Many well-known ball python morphs are recessive. When a Piebald ball python mates with a normal ball python, the offspring will appear normal but will carry one copy of the Piebald mutation. If those “het Piebald” snakes are later bred to a Piebald, they will produce a 50/50 mix of Piebalds and het Piebalds.

When a Banana ball mates with a non-Banana ball, half of the offspring are Banana balls. The other half will be regular balls without the Banana gene. When one banana ball mates with another, one-quarter of the offspring will inherit the normal gene from both parents. The other half will be banana balls. One-quarter of the bananas will be Super Bananas.

A Super Banana has a lighter color and less defined patterns. While Super Bananas are not as visually appealing as Bananas, they do have two Banana mutations. As a result, all of their children will be Banana balls.

This can be very useful if you want to create morph combinations. When a Super Banana is bred with a Spider, half a clutch of Bananas and half a clutch of Banana Spiders are produced. When a Super Banana is bred to a Piebald, a clutch of Bananas het Piebald is produced. When they mate with Piebalds, 25 percent of their offspring will be Banana Piebalds.

Popular Banana Ball Python Combinations

The Banana morph, like other co-dominant mutations, makes breeding easier. And because the Banana morph is so lovely, it complements almost any other morph. Among the most impressive combinations are:

  • Banana x Enchi: Enchi balls are more orange-tinted and have a lighter brown pattern. The lilac patterns are replaced by a mellow burnt orange in Banana Enchis.
  • Banana x Pastel: If you breed a Pastel and a Banana they will produce roughly equal amounts of normal, Banana, Pastel, and Banana Pastel offspring. The oranges and yellows in a Cinnamon Pastel Banana will be brighter, while the purples in a Black Pastel Banana will be darker.
  • Banana x Piebald: The Banana Piebald is distinguished by white patches set against a lilac and orange background.
  • Banana x Pinstripe: The thin lines of this pattern on a Banana ball look like bare purple branches against a sunset. Because pinstripes are so prevalent, you’re likely to get a Banana Pinstripe on your first or second try.
  • Banana x Spider: The Banana coloration combined with the Spider’s reduced pattern can result in a stunning snake. However, Banana Spider balls are susceptible to “Spider Wobble,” a neurological issue that affects many Spider balls.

Banana Ball Python Size

The only distinction between males and females is size. Both snakes are medium in size, but females are larger. Males can grow to be two or three feet long, while females can grow to be three to five feet long.

Baby and juvenile ball pythons are roughly the same size and weight regardless of gender. For the first three years, the average growth rate is one foot per year.

A baby Banana python will reach up to 1ft and 45 to 70 grams. Once they become juveniles they’ll be around 1-2 feet tall and 200-700 grams. Finally, as adults, they’ll reach 2-3 feet, but if your banana ball python is a female then it could be around 4-5 feet, and 1000 to 1750 grams. More in detail about ball python sizes.

Banana Ball Python Care

Caring for any exotic wild animal, particularly ectothermic reptiles involves careful thought and consideration – as well as extensive research. Fortunately, we’ve compiled all of the necessary care information into this handy ball python care sheet.

When preparing the habitat for your Banana Ball Python, your primary goals should be:

  • Heat
  • Humidity
  • Appropriate sized enclosure

Keep in mind that snakes are confined to their enclosures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Provide as much enrichment and exercise as possible, and try to mimic their natural habitat as much as you can safely and affordably.

Tank Size:

Minimum Adult Enclosure Dimensions: 48″ x 12″ x 24″

Banana Ball Pythons are primarily terrestrial & also semi-arboreal, hence they’ll be needing plenty of floor space and height. We’ve listed the smallest acceptable enclosure size; if you have space and funds, it’s always better to provide a larger habitat.

Of course, hatchlings and juvenile animals can be housed in smaller enclosures for convenience.

Generally, any snake (including hatchling banana Ball Pythons) should be housed in an enclosure that allows them to stretch their bodies without any bends, kinks, or curves.

The best type of enclosure:

Because of their ability to maintain the high temperature and humidity levels required by this species, PVC enclosures are the gold standard for Banana Ball Pythons.

The majority of homemade and manufactured PVC enclosures have clear sliding glass doors in the front and solid sides, which will make your Banana Ball Python feel safe.

You can make a similar wooden enclosure if you’re handy. Because of the exposure to high humidity, urine, and spilled water bowls, make sure to thoroughly seal the inside surfaces.

Plastic tubs are also an excellent and cost-effective option. Unless you remove the lid, you won’t be able to see your little friend, but they will feel safe, secure, warm, and humid!

Humidity:

Banana Ball Pythons require additional humidity. While average household humidity ranges between 40 and 50 percent, the humidity in your Banana Ball Python’s habitat should never fall below 50 percent.

The ideal humidity level is 55-60%, and for hatchlings, it can be slightly higher. If your Banana Ball Python does not shed a single complete piece of skin, it is a sign that the humidity level needs to be increased.

Lighting and Temperature:

All snakes, including Banana Ball Pythons, require the proper temperature gradient.

For optimal health and digestion, these animals require access to a range of temperatures in order to thermoregulate. Make sure your snake has access to both warm and cool areas.

  • 84-89°F on the warm side
  • 90-94°F for the basking surface
  • 75-80°F on the cool side
  • Temperature Drop at Night (Optional): 72-78°F

Ball pythons need to raise the ambient air temperature. Continuous exposure to room-temperature air may eventually make them ill.

Heating pads and heat tape only raise the temperature of the surface. They can be used in racks that are small and insulated enough to allow the surface temperature to raise the ambient temperature, or as a supplemental or night-time heat source.

Ceramic heat emitters, radiant heating panels, and heat bulbs are excellent for increasing the ambient temperature of any habitat.

Light bulbs must only be used during the day and for no more than 12 hours in 24 hours. Blue and red “night” bulbs are NOT advised.

Diet:

Ball python diets usually include rodents and birds. In the wild they eat:

  • African giant rats
  • Black rats
  • Rufous-nosed rats
  • Shaggy rats
  • Grass mice
  • Natal multimammate mice, or African soft-furred rats
  • Shrews
  • Gerbils
  • Striped mice
  • Birds

Wild hatchling Ball Pythons eat almost entirely hatchling birds, whereas adult Ball Pythons eat mostly mammals.

The fancy rat, Rattus norvegicus Domestica, a subspecies of the brown rat, is the most common prey item available in captivity.

Because these still smell quite different from their natural prey, newly captured and hatchling Ball Pythons may struggle to adjust to a diet of fancy rats.

Because switching this species from mice to rats can be difficult, it is recommended that all hatchling Ball Pythons start out eating young rats rather than adult mice.

Once your Banana Ball Python has established itself as a regular eater, you may want to experiment with different feeder species, such as chicks and gerbils.

For banana pythons that are under 1 year old, feed them every 5-7 days, and for adults 10-14 days.

Health:

The lifespan of a healthy captive ball python: 30+ years

As with most snake species, problems are usually caused by poor husbandry or by outside influences. For many new snake keepers, identifying these issues can be difficult, so read carefully.

Snake mites:

Snake mites will cause your Banana Ball Python to shed frequently and spend extended periods in their water bowl. To get rid of mites, you can use over-the-counter products or visit your reptile veterinarian.

Mouth rot, scale rot, and respiratory infection:

These are all potentially fatal infections that must be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian. Keep an eye out for the following:

  • gaping mouth
  • Erratic breathing
  • Mucous from the nose or mouth
  • Scales that are brown or discolored, particularly on the belly

Internal parasites:

It’s a good idea to have your snake’s feces checked for parasites regularly by a veterinarian. They are usually curable with a few simple treatments.

Read more on ball python Habitat checklist.

Signs that your Banana Ball Python is in good health:

  • They are inactive, but when disturbed, they become alert and inquisitive.
  • Shedding in a single piece
  • Having difficulty losing weight
  • Balance and strength are excellent, with no shakiness or wobble.
  • Utilizes both the cool and warm sides of the enclosure
  • Breathing quietly
  • Belly scales that are light in color with no worsening brown or black discoloration

How to Clean their tank properly

You should clean their enclosure daily, removing any feces.

Urates that are healthy are white and pasty, and feces that are light brown to black with a medium consistency and some hairs. Feces that is runny or clumpy may indicate an infection.

Once a week, clean the water bowl with soap and water.

Twice a month, deep clean the enclosure and accessories with a 5% bleach solution. Bleach is toxic to snakes, so avoid exposing your snake to it. You should clean their enclosure daily, removing any feces.

Typical Behavior

Ball Pythons are shy and quiet snakes. A Ball that is healthy, happy, and at ease. Python will find the ideal hiding spot in their terrarium and will stay there for several days.

They enjoy exploring as well, especially when they are hungry. When you handle your Banana Ball Python or it explores its environment, it should move slowly and calmly, with no shakiness, wobbliness, or lack of balance.

It may also be content to sit quietly in your arms and relax for a while. Tongue-flicking is also an indication of a healthy, curious, and at ease, snake attempting to learn more about its surroundings.

When your Banana Ball Python is stressed or threatened, it will coil into a tight ball, with its head and neck safely tucked into the center. If the snake is harassed, it will begin hissing.

Ball Pythons only bite in self-defense or to respond to stress. Defensive bites are usually quick, and the snake lets go immediately. It could happen more than once.

But don’t worry, because banana ball python bites are usually harmless, just make sure that wash your hands properly with soap afterward.

How to handle a banana ball python

While this species is generally timid and solitary, most Banana Ball Pythons don’t mind being handled on occasion and in moderation.

If your Banana Ball Python balls up as soon as you remove it from the enclosure, give it 5-10 minutes in a calm and quiet environment to see if it un-balls and begins to explore. If it remains balled up, return it to the enclosure and try again tomorrow.

If your Banana Ball Python suddenly stops eating, it could be due to stress from over-handling. Avoid handling your Ball Python until it resumes regular eating. Read more about ball python stress.

Buyer’s guide

Basic Banana Ball pythons are very easy to come by.

Try to purchase your snake in person from a ball breeder. A healthy snake will have clear eyes and a rounded body with no visible bones.

Request to handle the snake to get a sense of its temperament. A calm snake will move with purpose and alertness, frequently flicking its tongue.

If it is stressed, it will curl up in a ball and hiss – an animal that is constantly stressed is a sign of a poor handler.

How Much Is A Banana Ball Python?

A baby banana ball python costs between $100 and $150. Adults are priced between $200 and $300. The most expensive morphs (e.g. scaleless bananas) can cost $3,000.

Conclusion

It’s easy to see why the banana ball python is so popular, with its stunning color pattern and near-perfect temperament. They’re great for both newbies and experts.

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