When keeping ball pythons, one of the most crucial factors to consider is the kind of housing you intend to use. Ball pythons are docile, easy to handle, and easy to care for at home. However, they are also excellent escape artists and can get through the smallest of gaps. An enclosure, therefore, guarantees your precious pet is kept safe at all times.
Ball pythons are also cold-blooded animals that cannot generate their own body heat. They, therefore, need artificial heating inside the terrarium to remain healthy and content. Besides, ball pythons are very sensitive to humidity. An environment that is too dry can result in skin problems such as molting. With an ideal enclosure, you can rest assured your pet snake will not experience such issues.
What to look for when buying an enclosure for your ball python
Enclosures aren’t equally designed, and not all tanks will fit your pet snake’s needs. Before you buy a snake tank, there are important things to consider. These include:
The market features several products that are made from different materials. Popular terrarium materials include glass, plastic, or wood. Each of these materials comes with advantages and disadvantages, and it is best to research well before you choose any.
You should also consider the ventilation needs of the snake when buying their cages. Good air circulation will help prevent any respiratory issues from developing. Excellent ventilation also helps to maintain the optimal humidity of the enclosure.
When purchasing a ball python enclosure, go for a durable unit that will not break easily. Breakages are not only costly as it requires a new investment but may also result in severe injuries. An ideal terrarium should last for the entire lifespan of the ball python.
The top design of the tank is critical with ball pythons. Although ball pythons may not climb to great heights, they can still surprise you. The tank’s top design should feature a solid top with a securing latch. If you prefer a cage with a screen top, ensure such a unit can keep humidity and temperatures at optimal levels.
Although it is not mandatory, you should always look out for a tank that includes accessories. Such tanks make your pet’s life much more enjoyable. Accessories to look out for include:
- Pre-installed light fixtures
- Door in front
- Thermometer/ hygrometer
- Ports for threading cords through
- Places to attach lights and other devices
- Bottom trays for removing the dirty substrate
Buying the right enclosure for the ball python needs substantial investments. Keep in mind the ball python will live for over 30 years. You, therefore, need to invest in a quality enclosure that will last for long. Buying cheap may result in too many replacements. It is wiser to spend more now and save more costs in the future.
Types of enclosures
There are different types of enclosures for your snake. Each type of enclosure has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Let’s look at some of the popular enclosures while focusing on both their strengths and weaknesses:
Wooden enclosures are not only cheap but highly reliable. Wooden housings are also available in various shapes and sizes. If you are on a tight budget, Enclosures can be quite pricey, but if you’re but great at DIY projects, you can build an enclosure at home using cheap and widely available wooden materials.
- Wooden enclosures are cheap and widely available.
- They are sturdy, versatile, and durable.
- They come in a stylish design that accent well to existing home furniture.
- Wooden materials are easy to drill when adding electric devices such as heaters and lights.
- Wood tends to hold heat well to provide a warm home for your pet, especially if you live in colder areas.
- They are very heavy, and moving around is a problem.
- Ventilation in a wooden enclosure can be a challenge.
- They can eventually warp and rot if kept in a damp environment.
There are also many types of plastic enclosures in the market currently. If you prefer a plastic vivarium for your ball python, ensure you go for the one specifically designed for snakes and not any other reptile. It should come with small ventilation holes that prevent escape. Besides, ensure the overall dimensions is long and low to allow the pet to move and explore the housing naturally.
- The plastic housing is lighter and stronger than wooden ones.
- You will not have to invest in a strong stand, cabinet, or table to place them.
- Plastic is much easier to clean, and thus hygiene is guaranteed.
- Plastic discourages pest infestation and pathogen buildup.
- There is a limited range of plastic cages in the market, and getting an ideal one of the ball python can be a challenge.
- Fitting electric cables inside the tank can be a challenge.
- Plastic enclosures are also more costly than wooden ones.
The market features uniquely designed glass tanks that provide a perfect home for your ball python. Typically, the tanks come in an all-glass design with two hinged holes that allow easy access. You will use the doors to carry out routine cleaning and feeding.
- Glass tanks come in an elegant design that looks attractive inside your house.
- Glass also provides excellent visibility for easy monitoring.
- They are easy to clean and makes it easy to keep an eye on the pet and carry out routine health checks.
- They are heavy and fragile and may easily break when dropped.
- Fitting electrical inside glass tanks is a challenge.
Converted glass tanks
A converted glass tank refers to the cage that was once used as a fish tank. The tank is then converted into an ideal snake home with a few design changes, including adding a reptile safe lid that enhances security. A converted glass tank is often a very cost-effective way to house ball pythons, especially if you are low on budget.
- They are readily available.
- Because they are secondhand, these housings are very cheap.
- They are easy to clean.
- They are very heavy
- You will have to access the tank from above, which is quite impractical.
Ball python enclosure size for juveniles, females, and males adults
Juvenile ball pythons thrive in smaller enclosures that make them feel secure. Placing a small snake inside a large cage is not a good idea as they tend to become overwhelmed and stressed. Adult ball pythons don’t require exceptionally large or elaborate housing too. You can house an adult ball python using a spacious and hardy enclosure of your preference. Use the following tips when determining the enclosure size:
Ball python hatchlings of up to 300 grams- house them in a 10-gallon enclosure. If you prefer a tube, go for one that measures 20”x11”x13.”
Juveniles under 3 inches long – house them in a 40-gallon enclosure measuring 36”x 18”x 18.”
Adults measuring 3 inches long or more – house them in a 40-gallon enclosure that measures 48″ x 24″ x 24.” Or;
Over three years males – minimum 20-gallon tank measuring 36 x 18 x 18 inches.
Over three old females – between 30 to 40-gallon tank that measures between 36 x 18 x 18 inches.
Ball python enclosure requirements
Typically, ball pythons thrive when the humidity is 60 percent inside the enclosure. However, babies need a little bit of higher humidity levels. Besides, you should also raise the enclosure humidity during the shedding periods. You should also invest in a hygrometer that helps you determine the humidity levels in the enclosures.
Ball pythons are cold-blooded animals, and there is a need to provide an ideal heating source inside their enclosure. Some of the excellent heating sources that you should consider are heating mats that can be arranged under the tank or on the side, basking light, heat tape, or ceramic heat emitters. Unlike other snake species, you will not need a UVB light inside the ball python’s enclosure. You should also avoid using heat rocks in the enclosure as such devices result in burns.
An ideal temperature inside the enclosure should be maintained at 85 to 91 degrees on the hot side and about 80 degrees on the cool side. Ensure the temperatures don’t exceed 93 percent on the hotter side, as this will eventually kill the snake’s calories. For you to get the enclosure temperatures right, consider investing in a thermometer. It is recommended that you purchase two thermometers. Place one thermostat on the cool side and the other on the hot side. Consider buying a digital infrared thermometer that reads the temperatures instantly.
It is advisable to choose a front opening tank without a screen top. Such an enclosure doesn’t only maintain optimal humidity but will also make access to the snake much easier. However, if you must use a glass enclosure with a screen top, ensure you have covered the top with a plastic or aluminum foil to keep humidity in. if you prefer a top opening enclosure, make sure you use a lid that locks securely. This prevents the ball from python from escaping. Never use tape to secure the top. There are many reported cases of snakes that get injured when they accidentally come into contact with the tape.
Ball python enclosure accessories
Ball python cage decorations are more than just accessories and fittings that make the pet’s housing look beautiful. Although they improve the aesthetics of the housing, the decorations often influence the quality of life of the ball python. Ideal decorations closely mimic the snake’s natural environment to stimulate and enrich the snake’s mind. Some of the crucial decorations and accessories to put inside their enclosures include:
1. Heavy water dish
Ball pythons are happy when they can access a large water dish full of water. The snakes love to drink a lot of water. They also love to soak inside the bowl, especially during shedding time. The best water dish should be heavy and made from ceramic material. A heavy bowl prevents the spillovers that soak the bedding.
As a general rule, you should provide the ball python with at least two hides. One should be placed on the enclosure’s cool end side and the other on the warm side. You should also strive to fill one or more of the hides with moist sphagnum moss to help the snake shed. Ball pythons are terrestrial and crespetular, and in their natural habitat, they need a ground where they hide away from elements and predators. The hides you choose should be cramped to provide dark spaces. Ball pythons also have a tendency to hug walls. They love spaces where they cramp with their bodies pressing against the walls. Therefore, the hides you choose for your snake should be small enough for the pet to feel squished inside. Avoid spacious hides as these will stress out your pet. Additionally, the ideal hide should be low and wide. It should also be partly buried in the substrate to provide a burrow.
3. Lock/ thick branches
You should also install ideal branches inside the cage for the ball python to safely slither over. Branches are one of the most excellent ways to encourage exercise in ball pythons. Regular exercise prevents obesity, helps with breeding, and in stimulating robust health in ball pythons. Unlike what most people believe, ball pythons are capable climbers. In the wild, they get out of their burrows to hunt in trees.
4. Artificial foliage
A bit of greenery is good for aesthetics and provides ideal places for the ball python to hide. Artificial foliage also helps the snakes to shade. Unlike live plants, artificial ones can withstand the traffic that a heavily built ball python creates when exploring his enclosure.
If you are keeping your ball python on a glass cage, you should use an ideal terrarium cover to cover three sides of the housing. This will help the pet feel more secure in his environment. The cover also acts as an aesthetic item to make the enclosure more appealing to the eye.
You should also provide an ideal substrate inside the snake’s enclosure. Cypress mulch and aspen shavings are some of the perfect bedding for the enclosure. These materials help maintain the right enclosure humidity levels inside the enclosure. If you are on a tight budget, paper towels and newspapers can come in handy. However, never use bedding that contains cedar. Cedar has dangerous oils that can harm your snake. You should also avoid sand and peat bedding.
Ball python enclosure care and cleaning tips
Spot clean daily – you should strive to spot clean the ball python’s enclosure on a daily basis.
Remove any food that is not eaten. You should also remove wet bedding or feces. The ball python typically defecates once a week. However, he will urinate often. If you notice any dead skin inside the tank, remove it too.
Change substrates -Change the ball python’s substrate completely every one to two months or as often as need be.
Wash water dish and food bowl– you should also wash out the dishes and food bowl on a daily basis. Use warm and soapy water to wash dishes before you refill the water bowl with fresh lukewarm water.
Disinfections – carry out thorough disinfection of the tank and all the accessories at least once a month. Take the decorations and hides out of the tank and spray them using diluted bleach and water solution. Let them soak in the solution for up to 15 minutes before you rinse them out. Allow the tank to dry before you return the cage accessories.
Plants for ball python enclosures
There is no doubt your ball python will thrive more in a cage that is decorated with live plants. Plants help keep your snakes happy because they allow him to thrive in a natural atmosphere. A happier snake is not only calmer but also less aggressive. Live plants also clean the air and keep the enclosure fresh and adequately oxygenated. But what are the ideal plants for a ball python habitat? Well, not all plants are suitable for ball python enclosure. You should go specifically for plants that maintain ideal humidity inside the enclosure.
Some of the top picks include:
Weeping fig tree
The weeping fig tree is popular with most reptile keepers because it adapts well to the several habitats. It is also a very hardy plant that doesn’t need much care. The plant also provides ideal places for the ball python to hide thanks to the large leaves and tall stems.
Tiger plants will typically grow to about five inches. Tiger plants require moderate watering each week. They are robust plants that provide the ball python with an ideal place to climb and explore
Tineke rubber plant
If you are housing your pet snake in a taller tank, this plant is the most ideal. The plant can grow quite tall if left in the right conditions. Ball pythons love to climb and explore their environment, and this plant guarantees he just does that. You can prune the plant should it grow too large.
This plant comes with a little burst of colors that brighten the enclosure. They can also handle a range of habitats and are ideal for smaller enclosures. The plant is sturdy enough to support most of the ball python’s explorative activities.
Ball python and bio-activity within their enclosure
Typically, ball python’s true nature is often misunderstood. Some people dismiss the snakes as pet rock pets that rarely move about. However, in their natural environments, ball pythons thrive as active hunters. If you take a keen interest in your pet, you will realize he is brave and very inquisitive at night. Ball pythons typically enjoy a bioactive home with ample cover, natural enrichments, and cork log burrows/. The fowling are a few common misconceptions about this wonderful home pet:
Ball pythons are inactive – wrong. Although ball pythons spend the entire daylight hours sleeping, they are active hunters at night. They will love to climb, hunt, and cruise around their enclosures using every available accessory that can support their bodies. Therefore, you should strive to provide a natural enclosure with a lot of covers to encourage the snake to exhibit their natural behaviors. Use leaf litter and bioactive soil for the snake to smell their natural scent. Natural wood and live plants typically provide interesting smells and textures.
Ball pythons are poor climbers – wrong. It is not uncommon for wild males and juvenile ball pythons to be found in trees when they are in their natural habitats. These pet snakes can travel below and above ground. Captive ball pythons will enjoy wood and rock ledges inside the enclosure.
Ball pythons don’t appreciate rich natural environments – Wrong. When you provide a ball python with a more naturalistic home, he will be more active, calmer, happier, and tone than a ball python with just basic enclosures. Natural environments also stimulate picky eaters to eat generously. Bioactive habitats make ball pythons happier and healthier.
A Review of the Best Ball Python Enclosures
Below are some of our top picks in enclosures for ball pythons:
This all-glass terrarium measures 18x18x12 inches and is ideal for medium-sized ball pythons. The enclosure that boasts of approval from expert European herpetologists features a front opening door for easy access during feeding and routine maintenance. It also comes with a specially designed lock that comes in handy in preventing escapes. Besides, it comes with a full-screen top that allows for inferred and UVB penetration. The top can be easily removed when cleaning and decorating. Best of all, it comes with wire inlets on both sides for easy installation of light and temperature accessories inside the tank.
This enclosure is arguably one of the most popular units with most ball python keepers. It is a large enclosure that provides an ideal home for adult ball pythons. It has a sleek design that will accent nicely to your home décor. Additionally, the tank comes with hinged front opening doors with a key lock to prevent escape. It also boasts of a unique metal screen top that guarantees enough air circulation. Ideally, this unit also allows for lamps to be installed from the outside. Other features to check out include holes for wiring and a waterproof base.
Measuring 36x18x18 inches, this enclosure is spacious enough to house an adult ball python. The tank boasts of a raised bottom glass panel for easy installation of heat cable and substrates. It also comes with atop mesh screen that allows for more air circulation. If you are worried about escape, a reliable lock has been added to provide extra security. This unit is also one of the most durable in the market currently.
This enclosure comes with a stylish design that appeals to the eye. It will also blend well in any living area and adapt to any ball python accessories that you put insides. The unit measures 100x50x50 cm and is ideal for housing medium to large ball pythons. The cage also boasts of a 12 mm thick OSB boards that are free of formaldehyde and thus safe for your ball python. The two ventilators on the side ensure the pet receives adequate ventilation. Besides, the cage is also super easy to install as it comes with all the mounting accessories and a helpful instruction guide.
Measuring 24 x 18 x 12 inches, this enclosure from a reliable manufacturer comes with an extra horizontal base that allows your snake to move around with much ease. It also boasts of a dual front opening door that allows for easy access during feeding and routine cleaning. Besides, it features a stainless steel mesh cover that guarantees the snake receives adequate ventilation while maintaining the required humidity levels. It also comes with a waterproofs base and a raised bottom frame.
This enclosure will come handy if you are planning to add live plants that grow relatively tall inside the enclosure. Measuring 18 x 18 x 24 inches, it also provides enough vertical space that allows the addition of realistic branches and other hanging items inside the enclosure. It also boasts of patented front window ventilation that allows enough air to come in. The bottom frame is designed to allow easy installation of the substrate heater. You will also install lighting and warming devices easily inside this terrarium thanks to the closable inlets for wire installation and tubing.
The critter condo comes with an elegant design that makes this product an instant masterpiece in your living room. If you are looking for a spacious enclosure ideal for breeding, then this unit will offer you more value. It is designed to easily stack on top of another and not degrade with moisture or spread from wood expansion. It is also designed with light materials that make moving easier and convenient. It also comes with a keyed door lock with keys for more security. You will also love the external switch that provides effortless lighting.
When looking for a premium unit with guaranteed durability to last for the entire lifespan of the ball python, this is the best option. The tank boasts of a thick distortion-free glass material. The tank also comes with universal sized injection molded frames, diamond polish edges, and an industrial black seal that guarantees sturdiness. The enclosure also features a tempered bottom, front, back, and non-tempered end panels.
FAQs on ball python enclosures
Should I feed a ball python in the enclosure?
If possible, feed the snake in a separate container and away from his usual enclosure. A different feeding container acts as conditioned stimuli that help the snake to go into a feeding mode whenever he is exposed to it. Typically, the snake will associate the feeding container with being offered food. However, if you continuously feed the snake in his usual enclosure, there will be an increased risk of the pet associating the opening of the tank with being offered food. Whenever you open the cage, the pet will go into feeding mode and may bite your fingers, mistaking them for food.
What temperatures should a ball python container be at night?
You should ensure the ball python temperatures in the enclosures are between 75 to 82 degrees. A slight drop of between 5 to 10 degrees at night is okay. Install a thermometer to help you closely monitor the temperatures.
Should I mist my ball python?
Ball pythons typically don’t need specialized humidity levels. Ideal humidity levels for their enclosure should range between 55 to 60 degrees. Daily misting therefore is not necessary for a ball python.
Can I leave a heat lamp overnight?
It is not advisable to leave the heat lamps at night without close supervision. Ball pythons benefit from a regular day-night cycle, and a light at night will confuse and stress them.
Can I house tow ball pythons in one container?
Never house two ball pythons together. Ball pythons are solitary animals that love staying alone. Getting a roommate for your snake will make him feel threatened. This will stress him out to refuse food. There are also reported cases of ball python cannibalism.
Can I build my own enclosure?
If you have the know-how, you can build your snake an enclosure. Custom-built enclosures are an excellent option for keepers with a bit of experience. It doesn’t matter the design or material you chose, ensure you provide your snake with enough room and all the essential habitat requirements that guarantee he is happy and healthy.
With the option of building or buying affordable enclosures, it is definitely less challenging to provide your ball python with a proper habitat. Once you have identified the best ball python enclosure and design, ensure you add the necessary accessories and decorations that guarantee your pet snake stays content and healthy. The review section on the ball python enclosures contains the most popular and useful products in the market. We guarantee you will get the best designs at favorable prices.