• Scientific name: Python Regius
• Natural Habitat: Ball Pythons are native to the tropical regions of central & western Africa.
• Lifespan: Ball Pythons are known to live more than 30 years in captivity if properly cared for.
• Size: When they are born, hatchlings measure 10 inches long. As adults, females will reach 3 to 4 feet on average, and males will reach 2 to 3 feet on average. That's right, it's a species where the females are significantly larger than the males.
• Appearance & Genetics: Ball pythons come in a wide variety of colors and patterning, called "morphs". This is due to varying genetics.
Size: Ball pythons do well in smaller tanks, as it makes them feel more secure and safe. A juvenile python can be kept in a 10-20 gallon tank, while an adult can be housed in a 36" x 12" x 18" terrarium.
Temperatures: Ideal temperatures range for ball pythons include from 87-90ºF on the warm side of the tank and 77-80ºF on the colder side. It is recommended to have 2 thermometers, 1 on each side of the enclosure, to properly measure and maintain proper temperatures.
Lighting: Ball pythons do not require special lighting as long as proper temperatures are maintained. A 12-hour on, 12-hour off photo-voltaic cycle is recommended. Continuous overhead lighting can stress pythons.
Heat source: Heat pads are ideal for ball pythons, as they provide belly heat to help the snake digest their food and also require less wattage than heat bulbs and coils. It is recommended to use a thermostat with heat pads to help monitor and control their heat output. Heat lamps also work but are less energy efficient, more expensive over time, and can be hard on their eyes, especially if they are albino.
Humidity: 55% - 60% is ideal humidity for ball pythons.
Substrate: Paper towel or newspaper work well for substrate, as they are easily changed and promote good hygiene. Cypress mulch and orchid bark can also be used, but will also retain moisture and increase humidity (this could be good or bad, depending on your situation and climate). Do not use cedar mulch or shavings, as these contain oils which are harmful to ball pythons!
Hides: You'll want a couple of places for your python to hide out in. Ball pythons are sometimes shy and feel safe while hiding. Rock caves, clay pots, and logs all work well for hiding spots.
Cohabitation (housing more than 1 animal together) is not recommended for ball pythons, as they are a reclusive species and live alone in the wild.
DIET & FEEDING
A ball python's diet should mostly consist of frozen/thawed or pre-killed appropriately-sized rodents, offered once per week for juveniles and once every two weeks for adults. The rodent you are feeding your snake should be no wider than the widest part of your snake's circumference. Offering live rodents is not recomended, as they can bite and injure the snake. Ball pythons typically do not eat while they are in the shed cycle and sometimes during the colder months of the year. It is recommended to not handle your ball python for at least a day after feeding. This can lead to regurgitation.