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Ball Python Care

Just the Basics. We didn't write a book...

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Morphs

The term morph generally applies to the animals appearance. It's color, pattern and combinations of those two. There are now literally thousands of morphs and more appearing every day. It all has to do with genetics, and combining traits through selective breeding processes. The basic care for all morphs is the same. Morph prices are constantly changing due to the basics of supply and demand.

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My Ball Python won't eat..

Welcome to Ball Python 101. Balls go through times when they just plain don't feel like eating. In the wild they do not get fed on a schedule, and eat when they need to, and when they find food. There are many contributing factors to why they sometimes not to eat, so don't let it freak you out. Generally they stay healthy, just monitor their body weight. If they start to drop weight then consider a vet visit to see if there actually is a problem.

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What's with the name?

The name Ball Python is more of a nickname, and most commonly used in the USA. In Africa, where they are native to, they are more commonly referred to as Royal Python, as the Latin name suggests ; Python regius. In the past, Royal members of various African nations would carry them on their neck and shoulders to show status.

Care in Captivity

Please keep in mind there are many, many ways to keep your pet We encourage you to research and learn more all the time.​ Please feel free to look at how we keep our animals in the shop and ask questions. 

Ball Pythons are literally the most commonly kept pet reptile in the world.

For housing, there are several options. In the wild, they spend much of their time in confiscated burrows in the ground, often where they found their last meal. They like a snug fitting hide cave to live in , as it makes them feel safe and secure. You can choose a glass aquarium, PVC plastic snake cages, or a tub and rack system. Different people have different preferences and feelings on which is best, but in truth any of them can work when used properly. 

What you are trying to do is duplicate a natural habitat for them. People with large collections tend to use the bins in racks, which ironically almost perfectly mimics the burrows in the ground where they are still found. Larger glass or PVC enclosures can also work just as well, if you provide a burrow type hide for them to use when they so desire.

For an excellent video on Ball Pythons on the wild, watch the following video / movie. It is rather long, but full of a lot of good information.   Ball Pythons in the Wild

For temperature and humidity, it is easy to go down the "check this box" method and shoot for the one perfect number for each. Mother Nature laughs at us when we try to do that, and the anxiety it will cause us. There is no one perfect number ; it is better to give a range of temperature and humidity and let the animal decide his sweet spot. Temps somewhere in the upper 80s, to low 90s. Humidity say higher than 40%, but not dripping wet, so under 80%. On a consistent basis that is. If you mist them down the humidity will spike for a short period then drop down. Happens when it rains in Africa too,

Under tank heating is the most preferred, but heat lamps can be used to supplement this. The combination of both on glass terrariums tends to be best. Choose a substrate, or bedding, that holds humidity up well We use either a Coco type bedding or Cypress. Paper beddings dissolve when wet, so generally avoid them.

Keep a large water bowl, big enough for the animal to get in. Don't fill it all they way, as when the do climb in (and they will) it will overflow.  They will often soak for several reasons. If the humidity is too low, or they need to shed for example. It can also be a sign they have snake mites, which are similar to fleas. If you suspect this come talk to us and we can talk you through treating them. Change the water bowl about twice a week, and wash the bowl with clean water and dish soap when necessary.

If you watch your animal and their behavior you will soon find out where they are most comfortable, and can tweak as necessary. If they are always on one side of the enclosure, check the temp and humidity there, and compare it to the other side. Make adjustments as needed, and see if the behavior changes. You may need to do this a few times to get it just right for that animal.

Feeding ball pythons is notoriously hit or miss. But rarely a long term problem. Typically a happy small python will take a meal on a weekly basis. As they grow this will slow down. Mature animals may only eat every month or two. They primarily eat rodents in captivity, most commonly rats. You can feed live or frozen. Like which type of enclosure to use, there are many opinions and feelings on this matter. In the shop, we feed primarily frozen thawed.  Thaw frozen rodents thoroughly before offering as a meal, but be careful not to cook them. Warm water should do the trick.

Some animals will eat on a routine, and never cause any issues. Others will be finicky. They will usually be more likely to eat when they are happy and comfortable, so if they are being troublesome check their habitat first. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too open, too, bright, too noisy...  All these can contribute.  Once they settle in and start eating, they usually continue to do so.

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