Ball Title






Common name(s): Ball Python. Royal Python (as named in the U.K.).

Latin name: Python regius.

Native to: West Africa.
Virtually all Ball Python are exported from the countries of Togo and Ghana.

Adult size: Ball Pythons are a small to medium size python with adults ranging from 3 to 5 feet, females are generally larger and heavier bodied than males. A monster female may approach six feet and is a very impressive animal.

Life Span: Captive Life Span of 20 - 30 years (record - 48 years).

Eggs: Clutch 2-10 eggs. Average 6 eggs/clutch.
Average incubation time: 56 days
Average incubation temp: 88F-90F degrees
Average hatchling size: 14"-17"

Appearance: They are brightly-coloured, stocky snakes and there are now albino and many different color and pattern morph's available. Males have longer spurs but smaller heads than the females.

What does it eat?: Feed them pre-killed small rats or mice on a weekly basis. Babies begin feeding on hopper mice. Wild caught ball pythons can be imprinted on native prey species and can be very difficult to acclimate. Consequently, newly imported animals do not recognize the mice we offer them as being something edible and initially, will often refuse to feed for lengthy periods.

Ease of care: Beginners upwards.

Temperament: They are docile and can be shy and very reluctant to bite. They achieved the name ball python because of their habit of curling into a ball if threatened. They are crepuscular.

Cage set up: Ball Pythons are seditary animals and don't need a lot of cage space. I house my hatchlings in a "shoe box" rack system with a water bowl and an inch or so of aspen bedding into which they can borrow and hide. As they grow I transfer them to a "Sweater Box" size container. Adults are housed in large 65 quart rubbermaids which they reproduce in and can quite comfortably live in indefinitely. Rubbermaid containers make the ideal ball python cage, they are relatively inexpensive, seem to offer the perfect humidity level and the semi transparent plastic offers a level of security that they feel comfortable with, so much so that hide boxes are often not necessary.

Substrate: Aspen bedding, shredded cypress or fir bark, dry cypress mulch and newspaper. Driftwood or a decorative rock should be added to aid the snake during its shed. Provide a climbing branch or two, some fake greenery, a hide box and a large water bowl for soaking. Daytime temperature of 80-90F at the warm end dropping to 73-75F at night. Under-tank heatpad are preferred over an overhead basking light.

Personal Comments: Ball Pythons are hands down without a doubt my favorite snake. They are a pleasure to work with, they come in a mind boggling variety of colors and patterns and with just a minimal amount of care seem to thrive in captivity. Their only drawback being any unusual color and pattern morphs are incredibly expensive. On the other hand, normal ball pythons are undervalued because of the tens of thousands of wild caught imports brought into North America every year, relegating them to almost disposable pet status. This virtually unregulated exploration will one day come to an end, and prices will then undoubtedly rise to reflect the true value of captive bred ball pythons. Much has been written on wild caught versus captive bred and in no other species, that I can think of, are the differences as dramatically apparent as in ball pythons. Wild caught imports do very poorly in captivity, I am sure many thousands of these animals have suffered slow deaths cover the years at the hands of inexperienced keepers. Captive bred baby balls on the other hand make almost the ideal pet snake, they feed like crazy are calm and friendly , seem very resistant to disease or illness and will thrive for you.

Ball Pythons have a very bright future in the world of Herpetoculture, few other species have as much to offer, ideal size, gentle friendly nature, spectacular color and pattern morphs and small clutch size insure it will remain in high demand for many years to come.

H. Piorun ~

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