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Ball Python Care Sheet

Updated on August 18, 2015
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises and other exotics since 2003

Royal Python

Python regius

The ball python is, also, known as the Royal Python. Both names have their origin. The name "Ball," comes from the snake's tendency to curl into a tight "ball," and the name "Royal" derives from Cleopatra, who supposidly wore the snakes around her wrists.

Ball pythons are a nonvenomous snake that is native to the savannahs and the rain forests of western Africa. They prefer to live in areas of mixed grassland and trees, and are most active at night, spending most of their days hiding in rodent burrows and termite mounds.

Ball pythons are typically light brown-green and black with a tan-yellow underbelly. But, they are available in many morphs such as pie-bald, bumblebee, lesser platinum, mohave, spider, etc.

Ball Pythons as Pets

Ball Pythons are one of the best beginner snakes that one can own. They are very docile snakes. Although, as a snake, they have the ability to bite, but very seldom do they.

You should always supervise children when they are handling the snake.

Lifespan of a Ball Python

When kept in an ideal habitat with proper husbandry, ball pythons can live an average of about 20 to 30 years.

To date, the oldest living ball python is recorded at 48 years.

Ball Python Size

Adult ball pythons can range from 3 to 6 feet in length.

The average female will range from 3 to 5 feet, while the average male may range from 2 to 3 feet.

Ball Python Enclosure

Make sure to select a nice glass enclosure that you can fix screen clamps too. Because snakes are wonderful escape artists, you want to be able to fully secure a screen lid on the enclosure.

If you get a baby ball python, do not purchase an aquarium that is too large, as it will overwhelm the snake. 10 to 20 (20"L x 10"W to 30"L x 12"W) gallon aquariums will suffice for snakes that are under 1.5 to 2 feet long.

For adult balls pythons, a minimum of a 30 gallon (36"L x 12"W x 18"T) aquarium will be fine for any male ball python. For females, you may want to purchase something a little larger.

A 40 gallon breeder aquarium works perfect for adult ball pythons.

If you choose to purchase the adult sized enclosure from the start, you may want to invest in aquarium dividers so that you can block off a portion of the cage, as to create a smaller cage size to not stress out the younger snake. But, at the same time, you must remember that snakes are escape artists, and may find a way around this.

Ball Python Set Up

Snake Substrate

It is always recommended to use solid substrates versus loose substrates to prevet the reptile from injesting any of the substrate. You can use paper towels, slate, reptile carpet, or newsprint.

But, if you want a more decorative substrate, you may want to consider aspen, shredded cypress, or fir bark. Just watch any loose substrates, as some will cause humidity levels to rise.

When feeding snakes on loose substrates, you will want to monitor the snake closely, in attempts to prevent any particles from being injested and lodged in the snakes mouth when eating. This can not only cause impaction concerns, but respiratory illnesses, and other health concerns.

As for aspen shavings, monitor any wet spots, which can harbor bacteria and fungal growth, removing it as soon as it is noticed.

Ball Python Set Ups

Snake Decor

Ball pythons, being nocturnal, prefer dark places. Make sure that you have at least one hide that they can use as shelter. You can purchase half logs, use empty cardboard boxes, or just any upside down container, can be used as shelter for a ball python.

Any piece of decoration that is meant for a snake to find shelter, must be large enough for it to fit its entire body. Make sure not to use something that is too big for the snake's size, as they do like to sleep in shelters that are close around them. But, make sure that it is not too small either.

Place a climbing branch in the enclosure. Possibly, even add some fake plants around, or near, the branches.

Make sure to leave room for a water dish that is large enough for the snake to soak in.

Lighting

Lighting is not necessary for a ball python enclosure. But, you can use porcelain and metal reflector hoods to help provide the proper temperatures. At night, you can use red lights or any dark night bulb for viewing purposes or to even out the heat requirements, although night bulbs are optional.

Do remember to properly adjust the bulb away from the snake so that it cannot burn itself.

The best way to ensure proper temps is by using an under tank heater.

You do not need basking bulbs or heat emitting bulbs.

Heating

The proper air temperatures for ball pythons range from 85 to 90 degrees during the day.

At night, the air temperatures can be kept around 75 to 80 degrees.

An under tank heater can be placed underneath the enclosure to provide the snake with belly heat necessary for proper food digestion. Do watch out for the temperatures with these heating pads, as they can reach temperatures up to 20 degrees higher than necessary. Using a thermostat will help control the temperatures.

Do not use hot rocks, as they can cause serious thermal burns.

You should never guess the temperatures within the enclosure. Snakes that are too cold, won't eat, and those that are too hot will become ill, and possibly die.

Invest in a digital thermometer with a probe to accurately assess the temperatures.

Humidity

Because ball pythons are native to temperate, arid areas, the enclosure should reflect that. You should maintain an enclosure that is at about 50% humidity.

Make sure to use a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels in the enclosure. When shedding, you can increase the humidity to 60 to 65%. But, you should not have to raise the humidity within the enclosure to assist shedding; if you bathe them in a warm bath the day their eyes clear, they should shed completely within 24 hours.

Ball Python Diet

Ball pythons are constrictors, which means that they subdue their prey by coiling around them in order to suffocate it.

Before you first try to feed your snake, allow it to acclimate to its new home for at least one week.

You can start snakes that are about 15" in length with one pre-killed fuzzy mouse. Smaller sized snakes may require smaller mice. Older snakes may be fed larger, pre-killed mice or rats.

It is always recommended to feed frozen rodents because they can cause serious damage to you snake.

Ball pythons can be very picky eaters, and they can go without food for several months. But, if you notice that you ball python is losing significant weight, you need to consult a reptile veterinarian who can assist you with force feeding your snake (something you shouldn't try alone, especially if you do not have any experience doing it).

Make sure to provide a water bowl in the snake's enclosure. Ball pythons will both drink and soak, possibly even defecate in the water bowl, which is why it needs to be checked daily.

Soaking is good just before a shed. When they eyes clear from their milky or "blue" state, soak the snake in a tub of warm water for ten minutes or so, then lightly dry it off, and return it immediately to its tank; it should shed within twenty-four hours.

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    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 4 years ago from Georgia

      could be mites. I'd disinfect the enclosure and all the décor.

    • profile image

      Koree 4 years ago

      My BP has a bunch of tiny black bugs on it. Is this normal? I know he's getting close to time to shed his skin, so I'm wondering if it might be related to that. What should I do?

    • profile image

      zack 5 years ago

      how do i feed my snake i tried putting it in a boc so itcan eat but it just wont eat

    • profile image

      newowner 5 years ago

      my ball python was bought from a large pet store it seems to be doing okay but i dont know how much i should fun the fogger it does very well raising the humidity level but just not sure what to do. it is also not very head shy that's a good thing right?

    • profile image

      JT Snake 5 years ago

      Is it recommended to start with a baby or full grown bp

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 5 years ago from Georgia

      No, it is not recommended to mix species.

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      max 5 years ago

      Can my adult redtail boa be placed in the same cage as my two adult bal pythons

    • profile image

      Ali 5 years ago

      @Diego we went to a local pet store and they probed mine..,and it doesn't sound as bad as it does

    • profile image

      MARTIN bp 5 years ago

      hello iv just ordered my python, he is going to be 30cm long just a babie, i no i shouldn't handle him for a week or so, so he may get used to his tank is there any other crushal things i musnt do at first plus does anyone no if the website exotic-pets can be trusted with livestock as that is the website i used for my bp.

    • profile image

      kenneth sloane 5 years ago

      my bald python is very clumsy is this common he is very active at night in his cage he continuously falls from top of the cage to the bottom

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      diego 5 years ago

      how can you tell if a bp is a male or a female

    • profile image

      gavin 5 years ago

      well snake tamer your bp may have stricked because, it is used to u opening the cage to feed it, an easy fix to this is to take the oython out of its cage and put it in a cardboard box to feed it, this helps to not make it think your feeding it every time u put your hand in

    • profile image

      Amanda 6 years ago

      I have had my BP for about 4months now and she had been eating 2mice for 3weeks at a time and now last week and this week she will not eat she runs from the mice she had never show this before what do I do?

    • profile image

      D3v1n 6 years ago

      i have a baby ball python and its very active ewhat should i do?

    • profile image

      luna 6 years ago

      Snaketamer- you have to have a separate box to feed your snake in. Do not feed it in it's actually cage because when you put your hand in it thinks that you are feeding it. When you have a separate box for feeding it will know that is where it gets food.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      It's not that it is illegal, but not the safest nor best method to feed a snake.

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      Zack 6 years ago

      Does anyone know if it's legal to feed my bp live mice I live in Washington and I went to the pet store to see how much they cost and the guy asked us if it was for a snake,we said yes, and he yelled at us

    • profile image

      Shells12 6 years ago

      Hi! My husband just got a ball python tonight. We know it was born in 2010 but that's it. Is there a way to tell if it is a male or female? Also is it ok for the snake to drink well water? The guy we got him from said he had to drink distilled water and I don't want to hurt the snake. If anyone could help it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

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      snake tamer 6 years ago

      Every 14 days, one F/T mouse. He is about 20" long and 10 months old. He recently out grew his hiding box and couldn't fit, so I got him a larger one and he went in during the days for a few weeks, but now does not go in at all. This is around the same time he began striking. He eats without hesitation. I was surprised when he bit my finger. In his defense, it was during feeding time and mostly my mistake. He won't eat unless the dead mouse is giggled and he caught me instead of it, even thought I use tongs. He struck only once or twice before the actual bite, but since, strikes every time I either reach in, or am holding him. Suggestions on stopping this behavior? Thank you for your time. Any help is appreciated.

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      Corey 6 years ago

      how often are you feeding your snake and what's it current size. A bp should never strike you

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      snake tamer 6 years ago

      My bp struck and bit me. Now, every day when I reach in the 35 gallon tank, he strikes. He has a box, climbing tree, proper humidity, heating pad with box half on, half off. Could it be food related? He is fine eating F/T, and always has. I am feeding one hopper every two weeks. He is 10 months old. Is this adequate? He only struck once before and missed. Am confused at the sudden change in behavior.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      Depends on what you're looking for.

    • profile image

      paul 6 years ago

      what is better a ball python or a gry rat snake

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      peaceanluv 6 years ago

      To raise the humidity in your have numerous options. The question is how high do you need it to be and how long must you sustain humidity.

      For a quick fix, generously mist your tank and substrate down with water from a spray bottle, (should be clean and only ever contain water)and then cover the tank with a towel to retain the moisture. Depending on how hot your tank is, this should keep humidity from 50-90% for a few hours.

      To establish consistently elevated humidity, invest in a porous substrate that will absorb and retain water. (I use compressed and shredded coconut husk bedding that you decompress by soaking in water) Or you can purchase a fountain or mister/fogger from any pet store. Keep in mind though, foggers are more for amphibians than reptiles-they can disrupt normal shedding patterns in snakes.

      Or you can use the quick fix routinely and mist your tank down a few times a day, as needed.

    • profile image

      Matt 6 years ago

      I was wondering some ways to raise the humidity in the cage?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      The under tank heater should be on the warm side, anywhere on that side. If the snake is always on the other side, then your tank is too hot. Again, I will recommend that you purchase a digital thermometer with a probe so that you can better monitor your tank.

      You choose a feeder that will be no larger than the widest girth of the snake. I prefer a little smaller rather than a little bigger, as it is safer.

    • profile image

      Lyric 6 years ago

      Hey i was wondering how to know what size of mice to get my bp? Like how do you know how big of a mouce u get it?

    • profile image

      Zack 6 years ago

      Just one more thing does it matter if the under heat pad is under the hide out because my snakes hideout is on the cold side so should move the hideout to the hot side or just leave it the way it is and put the pad on the hot side

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      You sort of answered your own questions... Heat goes on hot side. It should be one 24/7.

      Your temperatures are too low. Way low. Get the surface temperatures closer to 90F during the day, measuring with a digital thermometer with a probe.

    • profile image

      Zack  6 years ago

      Because isnt the temp ok right now with the hot side high 80's and the low side mid 70's or is that too low

    • profile image

      Zack 6 years ago

      Okay so i should get a under tank heater and when should i leave it on? Also should i put it on the hot side or cold side

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      Ball pythons don't get an benefit from the UVB bulb. They don't really put off heat, if you're using a tube. You should really use the under tank heater. You should use a digital thermometer to measure the temperature. You can purchase digital thermometer and hygrometers if you want to better monitor the humidity, as well.

      You have to have it probed in order to 100% accurately sex the bp.

    • profile image

      Zack 6 years ago

      (From below) i forgot to say the temp stays about the same day and night at 75-80 cold side and 85-90 on hot side

    • profile image

      Zack 6 years ago

      On the cold side of my tank its about 75-80 degrees without a under tank heater at night i allways have the red light on and during the day i allways have a uvb light is that ok or should i get a under tank heater? Also should i get a humidity teller thing? I have a waterbowl in the tank. Also i want to know if my BP is male or female but dont want to get it probed is there any way tofind out?

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      naomi 6 years ago

      alright thank you for your answers

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      Depending on the size of the tank you may need to get a larger UTH. The smalls are for tank sizes 1-5 gallon.

    • profile image

      naomi 6 years ago

      zoo-med, small, 8watts. i got it when i purchased the snake so about july of last year. for a thermometer i have a zoo-med digital thermometer

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      What size under tank heater? What brand UTH? How old is it? They need to be replaced occassionaly, depending on the brand.

      How are you measuring the temperature? A digital thermometer or a stick-on thermometer?

    • profile image

      naomi 6 years ago

      thanks for replying. um i have an undertank heat mat which is on all the time and i have a 60w no light heat emitter that is connected to the thermostat set at 93 degrees and it says that its always on

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      Yes that is too cold on the hot side. How are you heating the enclosure?

      Yes, a towel over the tank will help hold in the humidity. Really, that isn't as big of an issue unless when shedding.

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      naomi 6 years ago

      hey is 75 degrees to cold on the hot side during the winter? the cold side varies from 60-70 depending on whether or not we keep the heater on. i have a thermostat set to 93 but it never goes up. during summer it works ust fine though. im worried but since its been getting colder hes still eating and pooping fine and he just shed a few days ago.the humidity is naturally at 40-50 but i mist him once a day. i read in another article that putting a damp hand towel over part of the lid will keep the humidity up a little bit

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      They all vary so much, so it is normal that the albino isn't just like your normal BP.

      Give the snake some time to adjust. Leave it alone for at least a week.

    • profile image

      Ashley 6 years ago

      Hi Whitney! I have always loved bp, and I own an older male I have had his whole life, he is taken great care of abd is fat and happy!

      I recently purchased an Albino Ball Python, he is still a baby, a couple months old, the breeder said he was already on small mice. I've had him a week and he won't come out of hiding, but is very docile when being handles. He also doesn't seem the least bit interested in food. Is this normal? I'm used to my norm bp who was interested in everything from day one!

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I would not recommend it, as the snake will easily climb up and burn itself.

      Under tank heaters are more ideal. Just prop the tank up so the heat doesn't cause stress cracks.

    • profile image

      rob 7 years ago

      can you put a clamp light inside the snake tank, i have not got a glass tank so i cannot put it on top of the tank outside it. will there be a risk to the snake??

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      The under tank heater can be used under the tank, no matter what your substrate. Remember it's not in contact with the substrate. Using any product that uses electricity can be a fire hazard.I wouldn't stick it though, as it makes cleaning easier if it's not actually stuck to the glass. Also, make sure to prop the tank up so that there is room to breath and stress cracks don't form from in the tank from heat blocked under the tank.

      Pet store employees don't always know what they're talking about. Whether you put it on the side or bottom, having a product plugged into he wall is still going to be a potential hazard. Just like plugging in a lamp.

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      sig 7 years ago

      I see people talking about an "under tank heater" Is that safe to put on the underside of the tank if you use aspen. The heating pad Petco sold to me for my BP came with instructions to affix the pad on the side of the tank rather than under the tank to prevent fire hazard. I would appreciate your thoughts.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Is this a new snake? Or have you had it a while? It may just be a case of an irritable snake, sometimes you run into those. Although BPs are more docile than others, there are some that may be a bit more ornery.

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      robert11 7 years ago

      the snake is in good health and he or she ate yeasterday

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Here's the answer to the question that you posted:

      Check the temperature and housing so that you are sure they meet proper requirements. Sometimes snakes will become irritable if they're sick or in improper conditions. When is the last time the snake ate?

      How old is the snake?

      Most ball pythons are really docile, but there are that are plain irritable. You may just have to work slowly at acclimating it to handling.

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      robert11 7 years ago

      ok my ball keeps hissing and trying to strike at me wut is this is it b/c of her being feed live food her whole life

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Just keep a close eye, and you may need to bump up the temps a little.

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      Nicole 7 years ago

      Well he got the 3 shots and stuff from the vet in the middle of June that was supposed to help in case he did have some respiratory issue. I guess I'll just have to wait and see...if he starts breathing with his mouth open or the bubbling or something like that, I suppose i'll call the vet again

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Nicole, if the snake is yawning all the time, it could be having trouble breathing, which could be a respiratory concern.

      Robert11, A 20 gallon would be fine for now, as it would be easier to upgrade just once from the 20 to a larger enclosure, as the snake grows, versus have to upgrade from the 10 to a 20 to a larger enclosure.

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      robert11 7 years ago

      hy i just got a baby ball is a 10-15g ok for now just need to no cuz i do have a 20 but im not sure witch one too put him in

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      Nicole 7 years ago

      Hi Whitney! I mentioned a while ago that my BP was yawning a lot. He also does that thing where he sticks his head up kind of like a cobra. The vet asked if he did that, at the time, not that much. Do you think this could be something to be concerned about? I'm not sure if he's doing it to look around, but it's so cute lol

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I wouldn't recommend housing two snakes together.

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      garret 7 years ago

      i have an adult bp and a baby bp can the live together

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      charlotte 7 years ago

      okay thankyou. i have the thermastat at 90F now. but the temperature in the he tank is 80F. is that an acceptable temperature?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I'd go with at leas a 20 gallon long, but you will have to upgrade to a larger tank from there. Mice size will depend on the girth of the snake, not the length, so it's hard to tell you what size mice to buy.

      Apsen bedding, paper towels, or reptile carpet. Under tank heater. Bowl to soak in. At least one hide, two is much better.

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      Aaron 7 years ago

      hi im about to get a bp and i just wanted to know what are the best items to use for seting up the habitat, if i get a 15" bp how big of a tank should i get him and how big of mice. i noticed all your comments and you know your stuff. so can you tell me the best way to set up my tank and what to put in it? thanx u very much

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      When the temperature has been reached, it will generally maintain the heat source there, but if the temperature is above, it will shut it off until it's lower than the degree desginated, then turn it back on.

      The digital thermometers are the best at reading the temperatures.

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      charlotte 7 years ago

      the thermostat is working now. but once the right temperature is reached the heat matt then turns off. can this make it to cold? it does heat back up but not after a while from being off completely. i have got thermometers but not digital ones. i am unsure if once the thermostat has turned the heatmat off that the tank will then not be at the right temprature. i have the thermostat at about 30 degrees, it does reach this temperature but whn it turns the heatmat off, this then takes up to an hour to even begin to heat up, if not longer.i am just worried that the heatmat will not be the right temperature for the snake. i think the brand is microclimate international.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      What brand thermostat do you have. Are you using a digital thermometer to measure your temps so that you can see if you even needed to thermostat. In a lot of cases, the UTH will provide sufficient heating as is.

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      charlotte 7 years ago

      yes as soon as i unplugged the thermostat, the heatmat would begin to hit up again, at first i thought it may of been the thermostat so i exchanged it for another one, but it is doing exactly the same. i am gettin a new heatmat soon, and then seeing if it will work, but if it doesnt, i have no idea why its not working

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hmm... Did you try unplugging the thermostat? If so, did the UTH turn back on?

    • profile image

      charlotte 7 years ago

      ok, when i conected the thermostat to te heatmat the thermostat turns the heatmat of, but it doesnt heat up again, it just turns it off completely. i left it on for about 4 hours and the heatmat was still off

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      That prevents the temperature from going below that number. it may fall below the number, but it won't get above it. If the temperature goes above it, the thermostat will shut off the heat device until the temperature is below the number. It works like your A/C thermostat.

    • profile image

      charlotte 7 years ago

      thankyou. just one more question....

      the temperature i put the thermostat on, does it stop the temperature from going over that certain temperature or does it stay at the temperature that i put it?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      At that age and size, I'd take a guess and say you have a male, not a female, but the only way to be sure is to have it sexed. Otherwise, there's no reason why you can't start feeding him in a separate tank. She'll need a hide, and try switching to aspen. It may take some adjustment, but after some time, she should be fine.

    • Shalong Night profile image

      Shalong Night 7 years ago

      Whitney05 I love your Hub, It has helped so much. But I still have two questions, for now :->

      I very recently took over care of a... I'll say 3yr old 2&1/2 foot female BP. ?1) She has always been kept and feed in her 2x1x1 tank. Can I start feeding her in a seperate tank now? ?2)I want to change Pretty much everything in her tank except the water bowl and the big stick she climbs on. Actually that's all there is. She dosen't even have a hide. And I want to get rid of that nasty matted cotton-whool looking stuff. How do you think she'll adapt to the change. Thank you so much. I'll truly appreciate any feedback you can offer. Best wishs,Ryan

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Nicole, I wouldn't worry about the yawning. Typically, that's not even a sign of respiratory unless the snake isn't able to breath and is breathing out the mouth. I'm not sure why the snake would be yawning. Just keep an eye on him.

      Charlotte, if you don't know how to sex a snake, don't do it. Your best bet is to find a breeder to sex it, a reputable pet store, or a reptile vet. The pet store or breeder may charge you, just depends on their policy. Typically petsmart or petco don't sex snakes, but you may find one that will. I'd just call around.

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      charlotte 7 years ago

      oh okay, thankyou. i brought it just 2 days ago, its about 2-3 months old, can i check the sex of the snake myself? and is it okay to check it at its age?

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      Nicole 7 years ago

      Hey, it's Nicole again..I've been seeing him drink more, and I notice he switches from the warm to cool side pretty often, which I guess is good. One thing though, he yawns a lot. I went to the vet, they said it's not a good thing, so they gave him three shots, and said it would help, but he's still doing it. Do you think it's a normal thing for the BPs to be yawning like 2-3 times a day? Like I said, he's already been treated for respiratory stuff, so maybe that's not the problem, or it isn't even a problem at all?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Charlotte, they will grow for about 2 years, give or take. Males are generally about 3-4 feet, and females are about 4-6 feet long.

      Kelsey, Generally they stop growing around 2 years old.You could probably bump up the size of the feeder, or feed weekly the small feeders.

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      Kelsey 7 years ago

      Hi! :) My male ball python I got in July of 2009 when it was about 3 weeks old. He's almost four feet long. I read somewhere that females get longer than males, and I was trying to verify that, or like, know when he will stop growing. I know for sure he's a male though, my parents took my sister and I to the exotic animal vet to make sure. He eats two small male mice from petco every two weeks. Thanks! :)

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      charlotte  7 years ago

      how long do they grow??, i am geting one and not sure how long it will get

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      85-90 is ideal on the hot side of the tank. I don't pay much attention to the cooler side, as long as it is cooler than the hot side. You just want to be able to create a difference so that the snake can thermoregulate.

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      Pat 7 years ago

      Thanks Whitney. Im going to try and get him a little more comfortable before eating again. Now what should the perfect tempature be in his aquariam? right now the temp is just over 80 and i have the heat lamp on because i heard it should be hotter. the humidity is 45%. Is that okay or any other tips? THANKS for your help

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      taylor, well good luck. just keep an eye on him.

      Pat, ball pythons are really picky eaters, so give him some time. Sometimes it takes a while for them to get adjusted and feel comfortable eating. You can either dangle the mouse or leave it in the enclosure. Some snakes prefer to eat when no one is watching and it's dark. Do not leave the mouse on aspen or any type of loose bedding. If you're using carpet, paper towels, or something solid, it will be fine to leave the mouse in the tank over night. Try leaving it in the hide. Some snakes prefer eating this way, when it's dark. If the snake doesn't eat, throw out the feeder; they're no good if you re-freeze them.

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      Pat 7 years ago

      To anybody that knows how to raise a baby ball python i just purches... I just purchases him 12 days ago and tried to feed him the 5th. I did not get worried when i realized he did not eat on that day but on the 12th day i tried feeding him a other little frozen thawed out mouse. After dangling it in front of him he began to open his mouth than after alittle loner srtuck at it but didnt do anything again was he striking at me our the mouse? and should i leave the mouse in there along to see if he will eat it or not. Also what should the farenheight temp and humidity temp be at? Thanks and hopw ro here from someone soon

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      taylor 7 years ago

      well i have beenwatching him alot lately nowand ihave beenmaking sure thehumidity is right and nowi havent heard him in days so idk

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      taylor, those are signs of respiratory condition. A snake should not wheeze after eating.

      Nicole, what are your temperatures? Are you using a digital thermometer to properly measure them. You can't guess at the temps. The snake could be drinking when you aren't watching. They are more active at night.

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      Nicole 7 years ago

      No, he just hates it, whether he's shedding or not. And another thing - he really seems to prefer the cold side of the tank for some reason. The hot side isn't too hot, but I think he's just been accustomed to the cold because I got him from someone who didn't have a light or UTH. The vet says he seems healthy though.

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      taylor 7 years ago

      Ijust got a bp last night and i he was okay through the night about 3 hours ago i fed him now every once in a while he weases when he breathes i told my parents they said to wait til tommorowmorning to se if its becuz he just ate and is digustring is it ri or is it becuz he just ate?????

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Does the snake have shedding issues? Or do you just soak him? It shouldn't be a problem as long as you do have a large water bowl that the snake can go into and soak or drink when he wants. Just because you haven't seen the snake in the bowl, doesn't mean that he doesn't when you're not there or watching.

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      Nicole 7 years ago

      Hey, my BP seems to HATE water. When I put him in a bath for shedding, he tries to get out as much as he can. And I rarely see him with the water dish in his cage. Can this be normal?

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      What sort of vents are you talking about?

      It sounds like you're doing your best, definitely give it some time to adjust before making too many changes with the enclosure.

      And, more than likely (like you said), the snake is in hiding bc it's new and adjusting. But, do keep in mind that BP's aren't the most active snakes. The only time I see mine roaming around his tank is when he's ready for a feeding, if I get off schedule, or sometimes at night he roams.

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      Phillip 7 years ago

      Okay so what I did was I roasted the bark in the oven to dry it out, which worked fantastically. I also put a smaller water dish in there. I also opened a vent to allow more air circulation.

      All this knocked the humidity down to 50.

      Today the humidity dropped to 30, so I have closed the vent and put the larger bowl back in. That should stabilise the humidity.

      The top of the terranium is wire mesh. I have an exo-terra tank designed for snakes, and there are clips and locks preventing escape.

      I use a 60 watt bulb on top of the tank for above heat/light during the day, which i turn off at night.

      I have an under tank heat pad to give half the tank an ambient heat.

      I have a branch under the bulb which gives my snake a 90 degree basking area during the day. The ambient temp above the heat pad is about 80. And on the cool side where the cave and the pool are is about 70. So that gives her three zones to slither around in and get her temperature to where she wants it.

      She has been pretty much staying inside the cave the whole time, but that is understandable since I have only had her a few days and she is adjusting.

      Thanks for your response, and if you have any other advise I'm keen to hear it :)

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      The humidity will fall when the bark dries. I would just see what it does till the bark dries out. 65 is a little high. What type of lid do you have? What's the temperature of the enclosure? How are you heating the enclosure?

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      Phillip 7 years ago

      Hey I have a several month old BP and my only concern is humidity now that I have got the right temps.

      When I first set up my terranium I was using paper towels for her to get settled, and also within the tank was a climbing branch, hiding rock/cave, and a large water dish for her to use.

      At that state my humidity was, I think, a tad high at about 65. I know that that number is pretty much the same all around my house.

      Now I got some zoomed reptile bark (fir) and it was recommended that I wash it in hot water. I did, and dried it out as much as possible. If you handled it, it felt pretty much dry with maybe ever the slightest feeling of damp. Barely noticible. Well I guess it was still a bit wet, as the humidity has jumped to nearly 85!

      I suppose the humidity will fall as the bark dries out more, and I will never mist the tank because i know all you need is the bowl and to bathe the snake when she is near to shedding.

      So for the meantime, should I remove the bowl in order to lower the humidity, or just leave it in and monitor the fall of the humidity levels?

      And is 65 an acceptable humidity level, or should I try and get it closer to the recommended 50? I'm not sure how I can lower it below 65 when my average house humidity is about that.

      Thanks :)

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      mika  7 years ago

      thanks, i figured he must be hungry but wanted to make sure that it was still a good idea to feed him even though he never went.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Since you fed a small mouse to an adult BP, it probably wasn't big enough for him, and his body sucked most of the nutrients (for lack of better terms), not leaving much to pass through. Typically they'll eat a small to medium size rat once a week or once every other week. I'm sure your snake is quite hungry right now.

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      mika 7 years ago

      thanks... thats the thing is i fed him 4 almost 5 weeks ago, but since this is the first ive fed him im not sure how long he takes to digest. he is about 3-4 years old, the mouse i fed him was a little small then what he needed. so i shouldnt feed him until he goes? i have been trying warm soaks but nothing so far. he is still really active and likes to still be taken out. thanks for the help

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Typically they go once they've fully digested their food. When was the last time you've fed him? You can't feed before he goes to the bathroom, but in general they go once they have fully digested the food. Mine typically goes once with each meal. If the BP is full, it may not want to feed.

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      mika 7 years ago

      How often should a bp defecate? i just rescued my snake a couple months ago, i have fed him 4 weeks ago and he still has not gone. i wasnt sure if i should still feed him again. i know they do not go often but didnt know if feeding him again would hurt the process..

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Ashley, you can purchase a digital thermometer with a hygrometer. I believe Fluker's makes one. They're a little bit more expensive, but they're great.

      Mike, typically one does not stop eating when the other eats. If they're housed together, consider separating them. Consider not breeding unless you know all the info first, as it really puts a detriment on the health of the female. If they're laying directly on the glass above the UTH, yes they can and probably will burn the belly. They're doing this more than likely bc the tank isn't hot enough. What are your temperatures? When did they copulate? That will help you determine when she'll lay.

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      Mike 7 years ago

      Okay my female ball python is pregnant and first time ever doing this and she hasn't ate in like four to five weeks. the male just recently ate his food for the first time which i understand one stops and the other eats. i forgot to mark the day she shed which i think was like four to five weeks ago. how do i determine when shes going to lay her eggs. also i am using a under tank heatpad and they seem to always be moving the aspen bedding to sit on top of it. can they still burn the under belly?

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      Ashley 7 years ago

      I recently got a Bp from my best friend who had to move I have been researching everything I can about the care and maintance that they require I have no clue as to whether its male or female the snake is about 3 and half feet long and bout 3in thick round the middle eats only live I tried frozen refuses to eat though so I'll stick with live my question is what is the best humidity checker or way to check it and is there a humidity checker that is safe to put inside the tank that will constantly read it I know the snake has not been properly taken care of but is very friendly and holdable and actually seems like he/she loves human attention if you stick your hand in cage will come up on you and wrap on shoulders Im still new at this thank you.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      1. Instead of feeding in the enclosure, feed in another enclosure.

      2. Make sure that you have a water bowl that is large enough for the snake to sit in. Also, try warm soaks when you see first signs she's going to shed.

      3. Ideally, there should be a hide on the warm side and on the cool side. Otherwise, just the warm side, if you don't have room for both, keeping the large water bowl on the cool side. The under tank heater is best just on the warm side. I tend to have it where the UTH starts on the edge of the underside of the glass.