Keeping your ball python healthy has a lot to do with making sure you supply him with everything he needs. The following is a list of some suggested items every ball python owner should have:
Cage (an aquarium with a secure lid or a wooden terrarium)Healthcare of the Ball Python
Heat Source (an undertank heating pad and a basking light)
Food (rodents or other small animals, live or pre-killed)
Healthcare of the Ball PythonWhen first acquiring a ball python, it’s a good idea to see if you can find out what his diet has been and maintain it, at least for a while. Many captive-bred ball pythons are already established on a mice or rat diet and will be most comfortable continuing with the same.
Ball pythons should generally be fed once a week. The amount of food they are fed depends on the size of each individual snake. For example, if your snake eats mice and is 2 or 3 feet long, he should be given 2 or 3 mice per feeding. Do not handle your ball python for 24 hours after a feeding, as you will run the risk of causing him to regurgitate food that he has not yet fully digested.
All snakes should be willing to accept live prey, as this is the form of food that is most natural for them. Monitor the feeding situation closely, however, as live prey can injure your ball python. If he does not eat within one hour of the food’s introduction, remove the prey from the cage and try again in a few days.
Pre-killed prey is often considered to be the more humane type of food. Pre-killed prey is frozen and must be thawed to room temperature before feeding it to your ball python. Some snakes are unwilling to accept frozen prey, but they may possibly be enticed if you hold the prey with a pair of tongs (never with your hand!) and gently wiggle it in front of them. Once he is interested, a snake will generally strike at frozen prey and go through all the motions of killing it before actually eating it.
Ball pythons vary in their eating habits and tendencies. Every ball python is an individual when it comes to how often he’ll be hungry, and what foods he’ll eat. Some ball pythons are very picky eaters, while others will eat just about anything you offer them. Get to know your snake and his eating preferences, and you will have a much better chance of raising a healthy snake that will live many years.
Ball PythonBefore you bring home a ball python, you should have his terrarium set up and ready to go. So what kind of home will your new snake need? And how much are you willing to spend on it?
A 30-gallon long terrarium is an appropriate size for the average adult ball python. A long terrarium will have a larger amount of floor space than a regular one, giving your snake more room to move around. Regardless of the size you choose, a terrarium should always be long enough to allow the snake to stretch out with no part of his body touching any side of the glass.
Snakes are escape artists. They can maneuver their bodies through just about any opening and have even been known to open cages. A terrarium must have a sturdy, heavy-duty lock to prevent escape.
The bottom of your ball python’s terrarium should be covered with a substrate (bedding). Paper towels (dry and not colored), pine shavings, wood chips, bark mulch, or recycled newspaper are good options. Cedar shavings should not be used, as they can affect the lungs and cause skin blisters. Anything used as a substrate must be absorbent to keep odors to a minimum. It also must be large enough to not stick to food items and be accidentally ingested.
Just like humans, ball pythons sometimes need a little privacy. To make sure your ball python has a place to hide, you will need to supply his with at least one hide box. It should be large enough for your snake to be able to curl up in it, but it shouldn’t be too big or it will make him feel insecure. A variety of hide boxes are available, including ceramic boxes and small,