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Baby Ball Python Care Sheet (Python regius)

Russo Pastel Ball Python

Baby Ball Python Care Sheet (Python regius)

Natural history: Native to central and western Africa, ball pythons thrive in warm, tropical climates. They are commonly called “royal pythons” in many parts of the world. In the wild, ball pythons spend their lives living deep within termite mounds, coming out at night to hunt for prey or water. This is why it is unnecessary to have a UVB light or basking light. Their natural diet consists mainly of small mammals such as rats, shrews, mice, and gerbils. In southeastern Nigeria, the Igbo people consider ball pythons symbolic of the earth, since the animal travels so close to the ground.

Ideal temperatures: 85-86 degrees F. No cooler than 75 degrees F, no hotter than 96 degrees F.

Ideal humidity: 50-60 %

Basking light? Not necessary, but if used should be on a 12-hour cycle.

UVB? Not necessary

Substrate: Cypress or aspen shavings/mulch, newspaper, paper towels, No pine or cedar wood.

Enclosure: 10-gallon aquarium is sufficient until the snake grows, then a 20-30 gallon sized tank is adequate for an adult. Smaller snakes may stress if housed in an oversized enclosure.  For ideal care, you should have 2 or more hides in the enclosure for the ball python on both the hot side of the tank and the cool side.

Size: 4’-6’ Females tend to be slightly larger than males.

Lifespan: 30 years or more with proper care.

Food: Appropriate sized rodent feeders, so no larger than one and a half times the widest part of the snake. During the cooler months, ball pythons may stop eating for up to several months; this is normal and should not cause any concern unless there is considerable weight loss.

Water: Should be readily available at all times and changed weekly/as needed to maintain cleanliness. Many ball pythons even enjoy soaking in their water, so you may want to choose a size-appropriate bowl.

Handling: As challenging as it may be, initially you should set your ball python up in its new home and leave it alone to acclimate for 2-3 days. Immediately handling the python after travel can cause more stress and potentially create a finicky eater, so it’s best to allow them to acclimate before handling. Ball pythons are among the easiest snakes to care for and handle. While they may initially be shy, a ball python will generally warm up to its handler and actively explore or be content sitting in your lap. When handling, it’s important to ensure your ball python feels supported, or it may become anxious. An anxious ball python may hiss and even strike; while the bite wounds are superficial, you don’t want to create any excess stress for the ball python, so it is best to leave them alone in that state. It is not uncommon for ball pythons to not eat if offered food too soon after handling.