Maintenance requirements


Cage size:

Ball Pythons need a safe and well ventilated cage to live in. An ideal way to set up an enclosure for Ball Pythons is using plastic storage boxes with holes for ventilation, or a glass tank with a locked ventilated top (screen wire or punctured metal sheets).

Please refer to the chart below in regards to various cage sizes:

python age : cage size requirement
Hatchling Ball Pythons 40 sq. inches
Sub-Adult Ball Pythons 120-200 sq. inches
Older Adult Pythons 400-600 sq. inches/20-gallon long aquarium






An important note is that while most adult Ball Pythons can live quite happily in a 20-gallon long aquarium, Hatchings need a smaller space environment to feel secure. If Hatchings are placed an environment larger than the recommended 40 square inches, they may feel afraid thus affecting their feed. Therefore it is highly recommended to use the chart above as guidelines, in order to provide the best living conditions for your Ball Pythons.


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Substrate (material at the bottom of the tank):

An ideal way to avoid all hassles and troubles of sanitation is to use Aspen bedding. Aspen bedding is the most convenient material to use, since placing a layer of aspen 2"-4" deep in the cage, we find that the Ball python will simply live on top of it, and not push or burry itself under the surface of the substrate.

When the temperatures are low, we place a hide box down into the aspen over the area heated from underneath by heat tape so that they can sit in the box directly over the heat.

Although cages need to be checked daily to check for odor or feces, it is not necessary to clean Aspen bedding on a daily or even weekly basis.

The golden rule of thumbs is: If it smells fresh and clean, then leave it as it is!

At times there can be stools or unfinished meals in cages which may cause an odor, when this happens, by removing the unfinished meal or feces from the cage is sufficient, it unnecessary to sanitize the entire cage or replace the aspen itself. Every second or third month, all bedding is then replaced. It is a very handy way to maintain hygiene control. Ball pythons are highly efficient, clean and hassle-free snakes, which is why it allows such an easy and cost effective system

NOTE: DO NOT use cedar bedding or any cedar product as a substrate for any snakes.


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Clean water should be available in a glass or ceramic water bowl at all times.
The following is a guideline for water bowl sizes:

Ball Pythons Bowl size requirements
Hatchlings 8 oz water bowl measuring about 2.5" in diameter, 1" in depth
Adults 16 oz water bowl, measuring 4" in diameter and 3" in depth.






In healthy and secure situation, Ball pythons usually do not soak themselves in their water bowel.
It should be noted that if a Ball Python sits in their water bowls it is either:

a) Stressed or insecure within their cages, (by sitting in their water bowel, there are attempting to “hide”.)
b) Bothered by a large amount of snake mites.


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In order to allow your Ball Python to physically grow well in a captive environment, it is extremely important that you control their cages at a very precise temperature range. Since your Ball python is no longer in the wild, YOU are their only hope for survival, and therefore it is YOUR responsibility to provide their needs for a healthy life as well as an ideal living environment. Never guess temperatures - measure them!!!


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General starting point for successful maintenance:

Ball pythons can be kept in a cage that has a night time low temperature of 79-81 degrees F and a daytime high temperature of 81-85 degrees F.

It is ideal to have one end of the cage is 8-10 degrees F warmer than the other end, with the cooler end of the cage averaging 77-80 degrees F (creating a thermal gradient). This will allow the Ball Python to be able to choose a side that it feels most comfortable at. However, it may be difficult to create such environment in small cages.

In actual practice, this species is kept very successfully in cages with room temperatures in the range of 78-83 degrees F with small areas heated to temperatures of 85-88 degrees F. This will allow the ball python to reach temperatures in-between the extreme temperatures in the cage, which is the goal of a thermal gradient (different temperatures at either side).

Some keepers keep the heated temperatures of small areas warm at all times while others prefer to only leave it on for 8-12 hours daily.

Although Ball pythons will bask under warm lights or ceramic bulbs, it has been noted that that they prefer to sit on a warm area of substrate, heated from below with heating pads of temperatures 85-88 degrees F.

It's important that the artificial heat provided DOES NOT heat up the entire area to higher than room temperature!

Ball pythons are unaware of dangerously high temperatures. Although it is uncommon for Ball pythons to allow its back to burn under a heavily heated source, it is quite often that they will often allow their bellies to burn by sitting on something too hot.

Electrically-heated fake rocks (a.k.a. "hot-rocks") can be very dangerous to ball pythons, as it is quite normal that hot rocks may heat up to 130-140 degrees F this creates severe burns on the bellies of unsuspecting snakes.

A heated rock at a safe temperature should be no more than 90 degrees F. An easy test to this is that, you should be able to hold the rock tightly in your hand for a full minute without any discomfort.

If feeding has recently occurred, like most snakes, ball pythons they should not be exposed to temperatures more than 92 degrees F or below 75 degrees F. Ball pythons can only tolerate a greater rage of temperature extremes when their digestive system is empty.


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Feeding requirements:

Ball pythons only need to be fed mice or rats A single average-sized mice/rat each week is an enough to sustain a young Ball Python. Older and larger snakes may eat two or three mice, or one small rat a week.

Hatchlings seem to prefer live small mice (just weaned/4-6 weeks old) for their first meal while, sub-adult and adult ball pythons will eagerly accept dead (thawed or freshly-killed) food.

It is normal for adult ball pythons to not eat during winter months. Usually they will start feeding again in late winter or early spring.

REMEMBER!!! A hungry live mouse/rat may attack, damage or even kill a ball python if left unsupervised. Always leave food for a rodent in the snake cage, when feeding live prey.


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