BALL PYTHON HOUSING
Housing is one of the most important aspects of caring for a ball python. Proper housing provides a comfortable and secure environment for your snake to live in, which is essential for their health and well-being. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about ball python housing, including the size and type of enclosure, temperature and humidity requirements, and appropriate substrate and decorations.
Size and Type of Enclosure
The size and type of enclosure you choose for your ball python will depend on their size and age. A general rule of thumb is to provide an enclosure that is at least as long as your snake and twice as wide. For adult ball pythons, a 40-gallon tank is usually appropriate, while younger snakes can be housed in smaller tanks.
There are several types of enclosures to choose from, including glass tanks, plastic tubs, and PVC cages. Glass tanks are a popular choice, but they can be heavy and difficult to move. Plastic tubs and PVC cages are lightweight and easy to clean, but they may not provide as much visibility as glass tanks.
Regardless of the type of enclosure you choose, it’s important to ensure that it has a secure lid to prevent escape. Ball pythons are notorious for escaping, so it’s essential to have a tight-fitting lid.
Temperature and Humidity Requirements
Ball pythons are native to the tropical regions of Africa and require a warm and humid environment to thrive. The enclosure should be kept at an ambient temperature of 80°F. A temperature gradient should be provided, with a hot spot on one end that is 90°F using a heat mat or heat tape under the enclosure. The importance of a thermostat for the hot spot can not be emphasized enough. The quickest way to injure, burn or kill your ball python is by not using a thermostat. The temperature gradient between the hot spot and the cooler ambient end allows your snake to regulate their body temperature by moving between the two areas.
To maintain the appropriate level of humidity, the enclosure should be misted regularly or a large water dish should be provided for your snake to soak in. The humidity level should be between 50-60%. This can be achieved by providing a substrate that can hold moisture, such as coconut fiber or cypress mulch. If you are using a glass aquarium with a screen top, it is recomended that approx. 75% of the screen be covered by glass, plexiglass or another similar material to help hold humidity in the enclosure.
Substrate and Decorations
The substrate is the material that lines the bottom of the enclosure. It should be absorbent, easy to clean, and non-toxic. Common substrates include unprinted newspaper, paper towels, coconut fiber, cypress mulch, and aspen bedding. Avoid using cedar or pine shavings, as they can be harmful to your snake’s respiratory system.
In addition to the substrate, it’s important to provide hiding spots and decorations for your ball python. Ball pythons are naturally shy and will seek out places to hide. Commercial hides are available at pet stores, but you can also make your own by cutting a hole in a plastic container or using a piece of PVC pipe. Decorations such as fake plants, rocks, and branches can also be added to the enclosure to provide a more natural looking environment for your enjoyment.
Maintaining your ball python’s enclosure is essential for their health and well-being. The enclosure should be cleaned regularly, with the substrate being changed at least once a month. Any feces or urine should be removed immediately to prevent the growth of bacteria. The water dish should be cleaned and refilled regularly, and any decorations should be wiped down to remove any debris or bacteria.
In conclusion, providing the right housing for your ball python is essential for their health and well-being. The enclosure should be appropriately sized, with a secure lid and suitable substrate. Temperature and humidity levels should be maintained, and hiding spots should be provided. Regular maintenance is also essential to prevent the growth of bacteria and maintain a healthy environment for your snake. By providing proper housing, you can ensure that your ball python lives a long and healthy life.