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Whether you are a new or experienced Herpetologist, whether this is your first snake or tenth snake, we feel that it is your duty to find out as much as you can before purchasing you desired species. This way you can decide whether this species is correct for you, and that you have the time, effort and knowledge to provide the correct care. Here we have tried to give you our views and facts on the Ball Python to help you decide whether it will make an ideal pet for you, but please remember these are only our opinions based on our experience.

Latin Name: Python Regius

Common Name: Ball Python

Aka: Royal Python

Habitat
Ball Python’s are the smallest of the African Python but in our opinion, the best. They’re origin ranges from West to Central Africa in the countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia, Togo, Ghana, and Guinea. They exist in tropical, arid conditions in the African scrubland and spend most of there lives underground in vacant or active rodent burrows.

Description
These are very hardy and robust snakes. They are very heavily bodied with a long slender neck. They have a large broad head with a distinctly rounded snout. Normal colouration is black with yellow, gold or brown markings. The patterning along the body can vary from broken, banded or reduced and some even display what can only be described as alien faces down the flank.

Size
Female’s can grow up to 6 feet although 4 – 5 feet is average. Male’s can grow up to 4 feet again 2 -3 feet being average. The average size for a hatchling is between 8” to 12”. From what I have read the longest ever recorded Ball Python was over 7 foot. The biggest we have in our collection is probably between 5 – 6 feet in length and weighs over 3000g.

Life Span
The average life span is approximately 25 years, although with the correct husbandry and proper care a life span of over 40 years is not unrealistic. In fact there has been a report that a Ball Python of over 40 years olds produced a clutch of 9 fertile eggs, although I am sure that her producing offspring this late on in her life, carries a greater risk than that of a younger more healthier adult female.

Colour Mutations
T- Albino, T+ Albino, Lavender Albino, Albino Spider, Arctic, Axanthic, Bumble Bee Spider, Honey Bee, Killer Bee, Caramel Glow, Cinnamon Pastel, Coffee, Classic Jungle, Clown, Coral Glow, Desert Ghost, Ghost Hypos, Hypermelanistic, Killer Bee Spider, Lemon Pastel, Leucistic, Mojave, Melanistic, Pattern less, Pearl, Piebald, Platinum, Snow, Spider, Striped (genetic), Super Pastel, and many More.

Do Ball Pythons make good pets?
YES, Ball Pythons make great pets and I would even go as far as to say that they also make a fantastic beginner snake. They are bigger bodied than the Corn Snake (which is regarded as one of the best starter snakes), they move in a lot slower manor which makes them easier to handle. I remember my first starter snake, I was only young and wanted a snake so I went to a pet superstore and after a brief conversation with the so called expert I left the store with a fully grown 6 foot Bull Snake! To those who don’t know about Bull Snakes they really show aggressive behaviour, always hissing and striking at you, but to be honest it’s all a big front. Once you have them in your hand they rarely bite, but I was not to know this and needless to say I did not touch it for a month (should’ve done my homework on what I was buying!) Ball Pythons are very secretive and private snakes, very rarely displaying aggression and once they are feeding regularly and are established they seem to enjoy being handled. I have had a few that will simply lie on my lap and not move for hours. They are very cheap to keep and need less care than most other household pets. They are reasonably clean so there is no need for any rigorous cleaning routine that takes up all your spare time, in fact 5 minutes a day and 1 hour each week is more than enough time to make sure your Python has the best care. As long as they have a regular supply of fresh water they can be left for a couple of weeks without any concern at all.

Buying a Ball python
When buying your first Ball Python try to purchase it from a well established reptile/pet shop, preferably a shop that specialises in reptiles. Try to find out if it is captive bred (CB) or captive farmed (CF) as from young these make the best pets. Try to avoid Wild Caught (WC) Pythons at all costs as I believe this is where the Ball Python gets its reputation for being a bad feeder as they simply do not adapt well to being in captivity. If possible ask the person you are purchasing your Python from if you could see it feed on a defrost mouse. This may or may not be possible depending on how it feeds, if it is an aggressive feeder then it will normally strike at the prey item and start to feed within a few minutes, however some snakes will feed only when the item is left in the enclosure and the night time hours have drawn. If you do not see it feed then take a good look at the snake, check that it is alert, if it is striking at you then this can be a good sign as a snake in poor condition will not have the energy to strike and within a couple of handling sessions he/she will soon calm down and stop striking. Look around the eyes, make sure they are nice and clean and mite free, take a look at the general body shape, this should be round and full, NOT triangle and thin. If there are folds in the skin and the stomach feels empty then this not a good sign. You can also take a good look around the rest of the shop and see if all the animals look in good health. See if all the enclosures have been cleaned and maintained to a good level of hygiene as if they cant be bothered to clean the tanks then they do not have a lot of regard for they’re animals. Even with little experience it is not to difficult to spot the difference between an unhealthy animal and a healthy animal, if you have any doubts then wait until you are certain. But please, remember to do your homework on whatever species you obtain, they do not choose to be in a cage and they are totally dependant on the care that you give them.

Enclosure
Due to the vast increase in reptile’s for the pet industry there are now many different enclosure’s to choose from that are all suitable for housing your Ball Python. So I have written a complete article that takes an in depth look at housing your Ball Python. (link)

Heating
As with all reptiles, you need to create a thermal gradient. Basically this means you want to create a hot end and a cool end in the enclosure. The hot end of the enclosure should be between 88˚ - 92˚F and the cool end between 80˚ - 84˚F. In the following article we have covered most of the different ways that you can provide the correct heat in your enclosure. (link)

Humidity
You want to try to achieve a humidity level between 50% - 60%. Please click on link to find out the different ways that you can provide the proper humidity. (link)

What do they eat?
They feed on rodents, including Mice, Rats, and Gerbils although I have never actually used the latter myself and have always had good success on defrost rats or mice. For a more in depth look into feeding Ball pythons please click on link. (link)

Reproduction
Male Ball Pythons become sexually mature at around 18 months or 800g and females between 3 -4 years and 1500g. Clutch size can be between 2 – 15 eggs. Please take a look at our breeding pages for a more in depth look.