- SPECIES SHOWCASE -
The Ball Python (Python regius)
By the editorial staff of Reptile & Amphibian Magazine
The Ball Python is one of the most popular "pet shop" snakes, and
frequently can be
found even in stores which only sell a handful of herps. In the past, most
Pythons found in such pet shops were imported adults, and these did not
the best pets. Imported specimens are frequently infested with parasites
sign of an imported python is small, brown, ticks embedded in the snake's
and often do not feed well in captivity. However, over the past few years a
of herpetoculturists have started to seriously work with this species, and
and captive-bred juveniles are easy to find. These acclimate to captivity
a short period of time, and are highly recommended snakes for beginners.
western Africa, especially in the rain forests from Ghana to Cameroon
savannahs and forests
four to six feet, this is a stout, full-bodied snake
CAGE & ACCESSORIES:
Ball Pythons are very shy, secretive creatures, and they do not need large
because they prefer to curl up in a tight hide box most of the time (this
feel safe and secure). For a juvenile, use a 10-gallon aquarium; breeders
number of animals use small plastic shoe-boxes (with holes drilled in the
side for ventilation)
for housing their snakes. We have several Ball Pythons here at the magazine
home. For adults, we prefer 15-gallon aquariums, or cages roughly 12" x 24"
Some reptile cage manufactuers market "Ball Python Cages", and these are
fine as well.
We use newspaper substrate, cage carpeting, or special paper liners that
can be cut
to fit the bottom of the cage. A hide box is a MUST with this species, and
will spend most of its time curled up inside the container. Since they
burrow in the
wild, our favorite hid box is made from a terra cotta flower pot (wide and
turned upside down, and with the drain hole chiseled out (file down any
They like to hunt from this, and the snake will poke its head out the top,
prey, and strike...while still keeping the bulk of its body inside the pot.
water bowl, and that's all you need.
Ball Pythons need an undertank heater or basking spot near the hide box
(but not right
over it), and the cage temperature should stay at 77-90F during the day.
turn off the basking light and drop the temperature to 68-75F at night.
are active at night, so no special lighting is required.
Juveniles start out on small mice, and progress to larger mice and even
as they get larger. Feed them in the evening, and for nervous or newly
cover the cage with a dark cloth to give them peace and quiet while
species is notorious for going off-feed in the winter, and ours regularly
do not eat
from December through March, in preparation for breeding season. One
had here at the office refused to eat for 18 months, and did not lose
finally decided to eat, and now goes off-feed every winter like the other
These snakes really are great pets. They are relatively small snakes, and
docile, especially if you purchase captive-bred specimens.
Return To HerpStation Library
Return To HerpStation Main Menu
BirdStation | CatStation | DogStation |
HerpStation | HorseStation |
© COPYRIGHT 1995-96-97-98-99-2000-2001 PETSTATION
THANKS FOR VISITING HERPSTATION