This Ball Python care sheet reflects the way that I have raised Ball Pythons, and it has worked very well for me. There is no way that I can create a full care sheet of everything I have learned from speaking with other experts and through personal experiences. If you are new to raising Ball Pythons I would recommend consulting directly with an expert.
Produced by: Zach Harper
Mystique Reptiles - Aurora, Colorado
970-250-4447 (call or text)
Ball Pythons or Python regius are one of the most popular snake species in the pet trade. They make such great pets due to their relatively small size and docile temperament. Ball Pythons are nonvenomous and considered a constrictor. Their name comes from the fact that they tend to roll into a ball and protect their head when frightened.
Myth: Ball Pythons are a very “easy” pet to take care of and require little care or attention.
If you answered "Yes" to these questions, then a Ball Python will make a great pet!
You have many options for bedding/substrate. When picking out a substrate consider factors like ease of cleanup, humidity control, dust, and cost.
Paper Products - Paper products like newspaper, butcher paper or paper towels are inexpensive and easy to replace. The only downfall is that these products are typically not very absorbent, which makes spot cleaning difficult. They also do not hold moisture for very long.
Wood Products - Aspen or Cypress Mulch make great bedding options. Wood products are more absorbent, which makes spot cleaning easier and will hold moisture better than paper.
Other Options and Hybrids - Shredded paper, paper pellets, Carefresh, and Astroturf all make suitable bedding options. I like paper pellets because they are highly absorbent, which makes cleaning and humidity control as easy as possible.
DO NOT USE - Never use cedar or pine shavings for bedding. The oil in these woods is toxic to Ball Pythons.
You should provide clean, fresh water for your Ball Python. Use a dish that is large enough for at least half of their body to soak in if needed. Your dish should be heavy enough so the snake can not tip it over.
Ball Pythons spend most of their life underground in tight spaces. They are a very timid snake and need to feel secure. Provide a dark place for your Ball Python to hide. The larger your enclosure is, the more hides you need to provide. Don’t make your snake choose between hiding and temperature control from the hot to cool side.
You need to keep your enclosure clean and bacteria free. Make sure to clean up urine, urates (the white mass), and feces as quickly as possible. Feces contain bacteria that can cause internal parasites in your snake. This is most common when the snake defecates in their water dish.
I only use and recommend F10-SC for disinfecting my enclosures. F10-SC is a veterinary grade disinfectant that is not harmful to pets or humans, and has many uses. I dilute 4ml of F10 into one liter of water in a spray bottle, and spray onto caging, tools, and water bowls. A 200ml bottle of F10 has lasted me over two years. Use as directed.
*F10-SC can also be used as a skin sanitizer, wound treatment, mouth rinse, and respiratory nebulizer. Let’s just say it’s a great product to have on hand!
Humidity and Stuck Sheds
Ball Pythons live in a climate that maintains a 50-60% humidity, and this can be challenging to achieve in many areas. Being in Colorado, I am often faced with humidities less than 20%. I use a recycled paper pelleted substrate that holds moisture very well. I also mist my enclosures frequently to keep humidity as high as possible.
Low humidity can lead to several problems but most commonly it causes stuck sheds. A stuck shed is when your Ball Python sheds its skin but part of it remains on its scales. Stuck shed is one of the most common health issues in Ball Pythons, and if left unattended, can lead to severe problems and even death.
If your snake has a stuck shed, all you need to do is soak them in a lukewarm bath for 30-45 minutes. I use a sterilite container with breather holes and a locking lid. When you take them out of the bath, immediately begin to slide their shed off starting at the head and working towards the tail. Make sure it all comes off including the eye caps, anal scale, and the tip of the tail.
World of Ball Pythons - see tab Python Regius --> Care Sheet
iherp - This site allows you to create an account and track your animal's eating schedule, shed cycle, and health issues among other things. This site also has a great knowledge base.
Free Reptile Care Sheets - Free care sheets for a variety of reptiles.