Exotic Ball Pythons
Ball pythons are among the most popular pet snakes. They are good beginner snakes because they are docile and easy to care. Housing for a ball python can vary from simple to elaborate. The most important thing is that you follow several rules and check in on your pet often to ensure it appears to look and act healthy.
- Ball Python (also known as Royal python), Python regius
- Constrictor, non-venomous
- Natural habitat is savannah, grassland, and sparsely wooded areas.
- Smallest of the African pythons.
- May grow 3-4 ft (91-122 cm ) long; rarely exceed 5 ft (152 cm)
- Stocky build; average adult weight 3-4 lb (1360-1814 gm), but can exceed 7 lb (3175 gm)
- Life span: average 20-30 years with proper care
- Origins: Africa
- Shy species that will coil around its head and into a ball when frightened
- Nocturnal. Prefers to hunt at night with the aid of heat pits on the upper jaw.
- Rests during the day in underground burrows in the wild. In captivity, needs one or more “hide boxes” or may become stressed.
- Can be finicky eaters, and occasionally go several months between meals. This may be normal, but should be investigated if significant weight loss occurs.
- Young snakes typically eat baby mice and rats (“pinkies”, “fuzzies”, or “hoppers”).
- Adults will consume adult mice and small rats. The size of the prey item should approximate the width of the snake at the largest part of its body.
- Live prey can and will bite and scratch the snake causing severe damage and even death, regardless of the snake’s size. Never leave a live rodent in the cage with your snake unsupervised or for longer than 5-10 minutes
- Frozen-thawed mice and rats are safer and less expensive; they can be bought in bulk, and are stored more easily than live ones. Frozen rodents can be purchased online and at most pet stores.
- Fresh water daily in a clean bowl.