It’s difficult to find a snake that’s more commonly owned by reptile keepers rookie and veteran alike than the ball python. After all, they are a unique, beautiful animal that have earned the respect and admiration of many people. But the question still remains whether the ball python can truly make a good pet.
Native to the grasslands and forests of central and west Africa, these snakes tend to prefer warm, close-to-the-ground spaces. Ball pythons are nocturnal, and generally prefer to avoid conflict with other animals. Incidentally, this is part of what makes them amicable to humans and overall good companion animals.
Keep in mind that while these snakes do occasionally explore trees, they tend to take shelter in the burrows of other animals, preferring the security and comfort that kind of environment brings. This is why you want to provide it with plenty of hides when setting up its enclosure.
Why Ball Pythons
Throughout the decades, ball pythons have exploded in popularity with both casual and experienced reptile keepers around the world. This is because they are a docile, easy to handle, low-energy snake that requires less maintenance than many other traditional pet options. They require relatively little individual attention most of the time (preferring to be left alone), and only require feeding a few times a month. This is not an animal that will typically keep you up at night or prevent you from traveling. Growing to a manageable ~4-5 feet in length, you can easily handle and transport this snake when needed. Indeed, the relative ease of care that ball pythons require is part of what makes them good pets.
What Makes Them Fun
They also just look cool. Unlike some snakes, which can have a threatening, somewhat cold appearance to them, ball pythons are known for a softer “puppy-like” face and round eyes. This makes them very approachable to people that are newer to snakes. They also come in just about any color and patterning you can think of. Thanks to the help of a large community of snake fanciers and breeders, there are over 4,000 unique ball pythons for sale. Whether you want the classic or a morph that’s a bit flashier, you have plenty of options available.
Another rather desirable quirk of the ball python is the fact that they tend to bundle themselves up into a “ball” when resting. Having a python do this on your arm is a unique experience and sensation that many people wind up enjoying. Even those that aren’t necessarily huge fans of snakes. There are many more interesting facts about ball pythons that make them desirable pets.
One additional aspect of ball python ownership that many people find appealing (and part of what makes them good pets) is their longevity. If properly cared for, these snakes can live up to around 30 years in captivity. Indeed, if all goes well, this will be a companion that may be with you for up to half of your own life.
Ball Python Maintenance
When attempting to determine whether or not ball pythons make good pets, it’s essential that you assess exactly what kind of care this particular animal will need. It will help you to determine how much investment in both money and time you are going to have to set aside for your pet, and if you are truly ready to give it what it needs. If necessary, we would recommend budgeting for these items before purchasing your snake.
One aspect of snake care that will certainly require a notable amount of attention from a prospective owner is housing. To start, here’s a list of basic reptile supplies that you will need to put into your setup:
- Well-ventilated glass terrarium (apx 10 gallons for a baby, 50 for an adult)
- Undertank heater
- Substrate (will need to be replaced)
- Water dish
Fortunately, you can find a ball python setup ready to go. These will give you what you need to get started in your snake’s care. After all, for your ball python to have a stable, calm temperament and remain a good pet, it is going to need a quality enclosure from the start. With that said, you will need to accommodate your snake with a larger tank as it grows if you go this route. These kits are typically for baby snakes.
Of course, cleaning your snake’s enclosure will be essential to its health and well-being. While not many people consider this aspect of care when researching ball pythons for sale, it is important to consistently keep on top of this throughout the reptile’s lifetime.
Be sure to deep clean its enclosure 1-2 times a month. Place your snake in a secondary enclosure, throw out old substrate, and wipe down the entire terrarium with a heavily diluted bleach solution (around 3%). Rinse out your tank thoroughly and continue to do so until you no longer smell bleach. Spot clean around the tank and hand wash accessories such as the water dish as necessary.
An additional expense that you will have to regularly think about is feeding. Fortunately, snakes only eat around three times a month with an appropriately sized food item. Now, if you have previously researched something like “are ball pythons good pets”, chances are you have read that they can be picky eaters.
While this can be highly annoying for any reptile owner, it’s not the end of the world. To encourage your snake to eat, try thawing your prey item in warm water or using a heat lamp. Your snake will be more receptive to the food if it closely mimics the temperature of a live animal.
Final Thoughts on “Are Ball Pythons Good Pets”
Like any pet, ball pythons require a decent amount of attention and care given to their needs. After all, there is no such thing as a “beginner pet”. Every living thing requires some time, attention, and money dedicated to them. Thankfully, what really makes ball pythons good pets is the fact that their needs are easy to meet with a little bit of know-how. Before you know it, you will have a wonderful, exotic pet whose company can be enjoyed for many years.