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How to Take Care of a Ball Python

Learn how to take care of a ball python in this Howcast video about pet snakes.


Ball pythons are probably one of your more docile pythons and a very good pet to have. As you can see, this little guy is balling off a little bit. They're called ball pythons, because for protection if he was really afraid he'd completely ball and hide his head in the middle against predators. That's where they get their name, the ball python. They don't get very large. Normally, between three to five, seven feet at the longest.

They are long-lived, though. They'll live up to 40 years, so be ready to care of this guy for a long time. They're carnivorous. They're constrictors. A guy this size will eat mice and rats. You start them off when they're younger with pinkies. The way that you can figure out how much to feed these guys is measure the girth of the largest part of their body and their bait should never be larger than that. That's a good way of gauging.

They require a terrarium that has a heat gradient from the low 90's to the low-to-mid 80's. They require a little bit more humidity than some of our other snakes. Their humidity should be in the 70 to 80%. They're a shy snake and it's very important that they have a proper hiding area. Now you can create a hide box with a regular cardboard box, a pot for a plant, and it should be just big enough that it surrounds this little fellow, makes him comfortable. You can have a hole in the top or the side that they can crawl in.

And also it's very important that they have an area that they can bathe in, so having a basin with water, the water should be just deep enough to cover the snake. This helps with them going to the bathroom. It helps with their digestive system. It'll help with them shedding and it also will help keep the terrarium humid. There's a few interesting things about ball pythons.

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