Ball pythons, the natives of the west and central Africa, make exotic reptile pets and companions for those who love to be around reptiles. The ball python, also named royal python, is mainly found in rainforests and grasslands, spending most of its time in burrowing. Bringing a ball python home is a huge responsibility, as you need to set up the enclosure similar to what the snake resided in when it was in the wild.
So, after you have decided to have a ball python as your pet, you need to select the most appropriate enclosure for the reptile. The best ball python cages are long instead of tall, so they can easily help the snake roam around.
So while you’re on the lookout for the best ball python enclosures, we have a few recommendations lined up, along with the size of cages according to the age of your reptile.
Table of Contents
Importance of enclosure
This is an essential step after choosing the pet that you’ll adopt, as your pet will be spending most of its time in the enclosure. Consider moving from your current home to a new one; you’ll be extra careful about everything you require in the new place and be very conscientious about the new house. Similarly, selecting an appropriate home is essential, as your snake will stay in it for a long time period.
Choosing a tank means setting up the first brick in creating the environment of the ball python, where it will be staying the majority of its life. You need to set up other necessary features in the tank to create a replication of nature. For a ball python, staying in the enclosure is essential to get the right amount of temperature and humidity as necessary; in cold weather conditions, the snake’s health will get affected.
As an owner, it’s now your responsibility to create an environment, select a safe enclosure for the ball python, and introduce elements in the cage that give it a natural look. Similarly, a ball python is from very humid areas with specific temperature levels, so you need to maintain these two factors in the cage according to your pet’s needs.
Types of tanks
There are four types of tanks that you can use for your ball python. Each one of those is listed below.
- Wooden Vivarium
- Plastic RUBs
- Exo Terras
As evident from the name, a Wooden vivarium is constructed out of wood, but it’s not as popular as the glass enclosure, as the wooden walls block your vision to see the snake activity inside the tank. However, it’s an excellent insulator and keeps the heat trapped in the tank, maintaining the temperature for your ball python.
While choosing a wooden vivarium, inquire about the wood that it’s constructed from, as pine and cedar are very toxic for the ball python.
A glass tank is famous for its view, where you can see everything that your reptile is doing inside the tank. This tank can retain the temperature, and at times, it comes with front opening doors from where you can clean the tank and handle your snake.
A plastic tank is more durable and lightweight as compared to a very fragile glass tank. The tanks are cheaper and come in a variety of sizes.
Exo Terra tanks are most famous in the category of tanks for reptiles. These tanks come with all the necessary elements including, thermometers, hygrometers, heaters, doors, and locks.
Size of tank
The size of the tank that you’re choosing for your ball python must be in accordance with the size of your reptile. As the python grows, you need to change the tank as well so that your python can move around easily. Getting a particular-sized gallon for each stage of your ball python’s life is a recommended approach.
You can get a 10 gallons tank for your baby python, giving it enough room to move around and stay active. As your snake hits the border of “Young adult” age, replace the tank with one size of 20 gallons or larger. Finally, for an adult python, a tank of size 30-40 gallons would just fit the reptile’s need.
Best tanks by size
Baby Ball Pythons — Exo Terra All Glass Terrarium
Exo Terra All Glass Terrarium is the best-recommended choice of tank for the baby ball python; it comes with a tank of size 18” X18” X12”. It comes with glass walls, where you can see the snake moving around in the tank, and front opening doors, where you can access your snake and handle it whenever you desire. The doors may also help you clean the tank at your convenience.
The bottom of the tank is waterproof, and it contains closeable inlets for wires and tubings. This is a great choice for baby ball python; however, a downside to this tank is that it’s a little too big for the baby snake that can get overwhelming for your reptile. You can adjust the space by adding plants, basking perch, and hiding spots in the enclosure.
- The glass walls provide an unobtrusive view of the ball python
- Waterproof bottom
- Dual opening doors for escape-free handling.
- Comes with inlets of wires and tubes.
- The space is too big for a baby python.
Young Adult Ball Python: Exo Terra Glass Terrarium Mayan
Exo Terra Glass Terrarium Mayan is perfect for pythons that have crossed the age of a baby. The tank provides enough space for the grown ball python, where it can enjoy the activities of burrowing, climbing, and slithering around the tank. This tank comes with a mesh top, which provides good airflow and ventilation, regulating the humidity inside the enclosure for your reptile.
The terrarium design supports adjusting heaters for the tank’s substrate and comes with dual doors, allowing you to easily access and hold the snake. However, you cannot use this tank for your fully grown ball python.
- Perfect for a juvenile python
- It comes with two sets of doors to handle the snake and clean the tank.
- It comes with a mesh top to allow airflow and maintain humidity.
- This tank is not suitable for adult or baby ball pythons.
Young Adult Ball Python: Hagen Exo Terra Snake Starter Kit
Another tank choice for the young ball python is Hagen Exo Terra Snake Starter Kit; it comes with a thermometer, snake bedding, substrate heater, water bowl, LED fixture, 20-gallon tank a hiding cave. The screen is made of metal on the top and is a great choice for ball python if you’re a beginner.
This kit is a good starting point for you; it doesn’t have a few elements such as hygrometer, hiding spots, and other snake products, but you can always add them up in this kit to make it perfect for your reptile’s needs. The tank is longer, making it suitable for the ball python, as the snake doesn’t always like to climb on the high points.
- It comes with a thermometer, snake bedding, substrate heater, water bowl, LED fixture, 20-gallon tank, a hiding cave.
- Metal screen to protect the ball python.
- Long enough for the python to roam around easily.
- Doesn’t contain all necessary elements such as a hygrometer, hiding caves, etc.
- It isn’t suitable for a baby or adult python.
Adult Ball Python — Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium
While considering a tank for the ball python, as mentioned earlier, be more focused on the length instead of the height. Carolina Custom Cage is a perfect choice of enclosure for your reptile, providing ample space for your python to move around and be happy. However, you need to buy all the other essentials of the cage for your ball python.
This enclosure is durable, easy to assemble, and comes with sliding doors and key-lock security to prevent the python from escaping.
- Durable and easy to assemble
- It comes with sliding doors
- Provides key-lock security.
- It isn’t suitable for young and baby pythons.
- It doesn’t contain all the required elements.
What To Look For In Enclosures For Ball Pythons?
As ball pythons come from the land of African rainforests and grasslands, they require a warm and humid environment in captivity too. So, while you’re choosing an enclosure for the ball python, ensure that it retains humidity and heat.
For this reason, you need to install heating lamps, thermometers, and hygrometers to keep everything in control. It’s essential that you know all the required parameters while looking for a cage for your ball python.
Following is a checklist that will help you select the appropriate enclosure for the ball python.
Best size tank for ball python
You need to decide the size of the tank according to the size of your ball python. As the ball python spends most of its time in the enclosure resting and hiding, you need to provide appropriate space to the python for his activities. The ball pythons do not grow in height, instead, they grow in length and hence their enclosure should be longer instead of being taller.
Recommended cage size for the ball python is 18” X36” X12” as the python can grow up to 5 feet long, which doesn’t require much space. You can go ahead with a cage that is slightly smaller or larger than the mentioned measurement; however, don’t overdo it. Large cages will stress your ball python, impacting its health and overall activities.
Baby and juvenile pythons can adjust in a small enclosure, but you need to get a tank of size about 30-40 gallons for an adult one.
Ball pythons aren’t tree climbers in the wild; they like to spend their time moving and slithering on the ground. For this reason, you must ensure to get a tank that is long instead of being tall.
The material that you’re using for the enclosure of your ball python should either be clear glass or plastic. This will allow you to see your ball python unobtrusively while maintaining a good temperature and humidity level inside the enclosure. Having Mesh or screen tops and cages is not recommended; they do provide you with good airflow, but do not retain the humidity in the environment which is essential for the ball python.
The tank that you’re purchasing for your python needs to be durable so that the enclosure can last for a few years. A good and durable material terrarium will last for the whole lifespan of the ball python. You can find the most durable one by taking opinions from those who have already used different products for their pet reptiles.
Your ball python isn’t a good climber but it can latch onto something if provided and surprise you by climbing to the top. In this case, the top design is important to be included in the cage of your pet python, which can be done by adding a solid piece top or something with a securing latch that can help the python to climb.
Easy to clean
Cleaning the ball python’s tank is essential for the reptile’s health, so you should get a tank that’s easy to clean and doesn’t absorb liquid.
Accessories and Add-ons
This is not an essential requirement; however, many tanks come with different accessories that make your life easy. Some of these are listed below.
- Light fixtures
- Thermometer and hygrometer
- A tray at the bottom of the enclosure for removing substrate.
- Places for fixing lights
- Different sizes
- Ports to thread cords
As you plan to buy a new tank for the ball python, make sure it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. So before you go out and buy any cheap enclosure for your ball python, bear in mind that the lifespan of the ball python is pretty long i.e. 30 years which means investing the amount in buying a cheap enclosure isn’t a wise option. The cheap enclosures will give a problem after every few years, leaving you to buy a new one every now and then.
To avoid this problem, use your money wisely. Instead of investing in a cheap enclosure, use your money to buy a durable and cost effective cage that would last throughout the life of the python.
Other best habitat for ball python basics
As you select the enclosure for the ball python, you must know all the basic requirements of the ball python’s enclosure. The ball pythons have originated in the lands of Africa and require high humidity and temperature for living. For this reason, you must know all the basic requirements of the tank. These best habitat basics are explained below in detail.
The reptiles need different temperatures throughout the tank, which is named as temperature gradient. This helps the reptile to regulate its body temperature and maintain the body functions as they can’t do it themselves because of being cold blooded.
The ball python needs a basking temperature of 88-96 F, overall cage temperature to be 78-80 F, the temperature of hiding spot to be 75F, and night time temperature to be less than 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can check the temperature of the tank with a thermometer, and spot-check the temperature in different corners of the tank using a laser thermometer.
The ball pythons need a very humid environment to live, so you need to maintain the humidity around 50-60% inside the enclosure and use a hygrometer to keep a check on the level of humidity. You can add live plants inside the enclosure to maintain the humidity of the enclosure, and mist the tank a few times each day.
Remember not to place the tank near a window, heater, vents, or a dehumidifier as it will dry out the air.
In the wild, ball pythons can get an unlimited amount of UVB to meet their needs; however, in captivity, they must be given enough UVB light. UVB radiation is essential for the ball python and other reptiles to absorb calcium and vitamin D inside their body. Having a UVB bulb inside the enclosure will provide enough vitamin D to absorb calcium in the body.
You can add furniture and other accessories for your ball python to interact with. One thing that must be added to all ball python cages is the hiding spot. This helps the python feel safe and secure and lets him enjoy his company while crumpled up in the dark space. Other accessories that you add to the enclosure are entirely up to your own taste.
Adding live plants in the enclosure will create an environment that is close to nature and make your python feel more secure. Plants refresh the air inside the tank and increase the humidity of the tank, which is very essential for the ball python.
Ball python likes to enjoy drinking water and soaking in water, so you must keep a 1-inch deep water dish inside the tank, in which the python can sink and absorb moisture through its skin to stay hydrated. Make sure to change the water of the dish every single day, as the reptiles are likely to poop in the water, which must be cleaned at the earliest.
Placing a dish of water in the enclosure not only helps the ball python to stay hydrated but also in keeping the environment inside the enclosure more humid.
A good substrate is essential for the ball python, as the python is directly in contact with the floor of the enclosure at all times. In addition to this, ball pythons have a natural habit of burrowing and digging in the soil, for this reason, you must provide a substrate that can support this activity of the ball python.
Some very common and recommended substrates for the ball python are, cypress, coco husks, aspens, coco fibers. A good substrate must retain moisture, allow the python to engage in burrowing, and is resistant to mites, mold, and bacteria.
Our Top Picks For The Best Enclosures For Ball Pythons
Now that you know what your ball python’s enclosure should look like. Here are some recommendations for enclosures for your reptile.
Exo Terra Glass Natural Terrarium Kit
The Exo Terra glass natural terrarium kit is a medium-sized enclosure for babies and juveniles, with glass walls to provide a perfect view of your ball python. It also has dual front opening doors that provide escape-free access to the snake.
The terrarium is extra long, with a waterproof base and ample space for the substrate.
- Glass walls enabling the view of the ball python.
- Dual front opening doors to provide escape-free access.
- Easy to clean.
- Waterproof base
- Not spacious for adult python.
- Mesh top will not be able to retain humidity.
Repti-Zoo Reptile Glass Tank Double Hinge Door
Repti Zoo reptile glass terrarium comes with glass walls and hinged doors to access the ball python and clean the tank easily. This tank retains humidity well as it doesn’t have extra ventilation. It also has a raised bottom, which enables the addition of a heater under the tank.
- Mesh top to allow ventilation.
- Durable glass walls.
- Retains humidity
- Raised bottom to add a heater under the tank.
- The screen top doesn’t retain heat well.
- An expensive option.
Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium, Extra-Long
Carolina custom cage extra-long terrarium with tank size 48 inches long and 24 inches taller. The tank walls are made of durable glass, with a mesh top and sliding front doors with key-locking security to prevent the snake from going out of the tank.
This tank is a perfect choice for adult ball pythons because of its size.
- Long enough to suit the needs of an adult ball python.
- Comes with durable glass walls and a mesh top.
- Key-locking security to avoid escape.
- Too big for baby and juvenile ball pythons.
- Very expensive.
Exo Terra Outback Terrarium
Exo Terra outback terrarium is an affordable option of terrarium suitable for juvenile or young adult ball pythons. This terrarium also comes with durable glass walls, a 3D background, hinged doors, and a Stainless steel mesh top.
- Glass walls with mesh top
- Dual hinged doors for cleaning and handling the snake.
- 3D background
- More ventilated than required.
- Doesn’t retain heat because of the mesh top.
Tetra Aquatic Turtle Deluxe Kit
Tetra Aquatic turtle deluxe kit is also an affordable option with tank size suitable for juvenile ball pythons. This tank also has glass construction and a mesh top. It also has two dome lamps for day and night lights.
- Mesh screen top
- Glass walls to provide an unobtrusive view of the ball python
- Affordable option
- It has two dome lamps
- Appropriate for juvenile ball pythons
- Not suitable for baby and adult python.
- Doesn’t retain heat because of the screen mesh top.
Tips For Caring For Ball Pythons
Ball pythons are easy to handle reptiles and make a great companion. Keeping this as a pet requires extra care, including the diet, environment parameters, and appropriate tank.
The ball python reaches adulthood at the age of three years, so you should purchase the enclosure according to the size of the python instead of buying a huge terrarium at once.
Following are some tips to care for the ball python
- As ball pythons do not tend to climb, select an enclosure that is longer and at least 3-6 square feet in size.
- Keep the tank with one side at the ambient temperature of 70 Fahrenheit and the other side to be in a relatively high temperature of 95 Fahrenheit to make a basking area for the python.
- Feed the juvenile ball python in a separate feeding tank once a week, with appropriate-sized warm rodents.
- Maintain the humidity about 40-60% by misting the tank once or twice a day. Ensure to raise the level of humidity as your pet ball python is shedding skin.
- Create a day and night cycle by providing light for 8-12 hours for the day and a red light for nighttime.
- Spot-clean the tank and disinfect it regularly to prevent the growth of molds, mites, and parasites.
Snakes are master escape artists
Snakes are master escape artists because of their ability to pass through small holes and edges. Providing a tank with big holes and an open mesh top means an open invitation for them to escape, and you will lose your dearest reptile pet.
So ensure to have an enclosure with a secured top and doors.
Commonly asked questions
Can a ball python enclosure be too big?
The adults must have an enclosure about the size of their length, and for babies and juveniles, you may use small enclosures such as tote. However, providing a bigger enclosure to the baby and juvenile will make it extremely stressed.
What temperature will kill a ball python?
Ball pythons are cold-blooded reptiles and need warmth to regulate their body functions and temperature. However, providing a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 C is not good for the ball python. Similarly, the lowest temperature that you would want to hit up is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures below this won’t be suitable for the ball python.
Do ball pythons need day and night cycles?
Yes, the ball python does need a day and night cycle, which you can maintain in the cage by turning on the lights for 12 hours during the day time and turning off after the allotted time. In case of temperature dropping, you can add a heater underneath the substrate to provide warmth to the reptile. Without a day and night schedule, the ball python won’t have much rest that will result in stress.
Is 70% humidity too high for the ball python?
Yes, the humidity inside the ball python’s enclosure must be around 50-60%. High humidity levels will have your python develop respiratory infection, and low humidity will result in problematic shedding and injuries.
Ball pythons make great reptile pets for beginners because of their silent and gentle nature. However, they require a specific cage setup in captivity, which forms the essential environment for ball pythons.
So, as you plan to bring a ball python home, you must set up an appropriate cage environment for the reptile. Ensure to check the terrarium against the provided checklist to get the perfect durable enclosure for your ball python.
Finally, ensure to provide the closest replication of nature while setting up the cage to keep the reptile happy and healthy.