Ball Python

Animal Care Image

Animal Care


Ball Python

Common Name: Ball Python/Royal Python
Scientific Name: Python regius
Lifespan: 20-30+ years
Size: 3-5ft


The Ball Python (Python regius) is a non-venomous constrictor native to West and Central Africa. The name “Ball Python” comes from its tendency to curl itself into a ball when threatened or stressed. Over the last couple of decades, Ball Pythons have become the most popular pet python in the world due to their calm disposition, smaller size, ease of care, and variety of colors and patterns.






88-93 °F



Most Active



20-30 Years


Ball Pythons hatch out at approximately 10 inches in length. Like many species of snakes, males tend to be smaller than females. Adult males range from around 2-3 feet in size. Females tend to average 4-5 feet.


In captivity, with proper care, Ball Pythons can live 20-30 years or more. There have been records of Ball Pythons even living over 40 years old.


When designing your Ball Python’s enclosure, make sure to remember that they are native to warm, tropical climates. Hatchlings can be kept in a rack system or 10 gallon tank. Adults can be housed in 40 quart racks or 36”L x 18”W x 12”H tanks.

Temperature & Humidity:

Providing a heat gradient with lows in the mid to high 70s and a basking spot of 88-93 degrees Fahrenheit is very important as reptiles are cold blooded and must be able to regulate their body temperature. Humidity should be kept around 50-60% and increased during shedding. Another great way to help control and maintain humidity while making your Ball Python’s enclosure more natural is with Mosses. Golden Sphagnum Moss, Green Sphagnum Moss, Sheet Moss, Pillow Moss, and Royal Pillow Moss are all excellent at storing and maintaining humidity.


Lighting is not necessary, but can be used if desired. However, only use lightning up to 12 hours a day as too much lighting can be stressful.


You will want to feed your Ball Python an appropriate sized rodent every 7-10 days when they are hatchlings or juveniles. “Appropriate sized” meaning the same size as the largest girth of the Ball Python, normally the Ball Python’s mid section. Do not handle the Ball Python for at least a day after feeding so it can properly digest the meal. Feed adult Ball Pythons every 1-2 weeks. Ball Pythons are known for going off feed during winter months, so do not be alarmed if your Ball Python stops feeding for a month or two. Simply keep an eye on the Ball Python’s overall condition and weight. Snakes generally do not eat during shed cycles.


Always provide fresh, clean water for your ball python. Make sure to check water daily as snakes will occasionally defecate in their water dish. The size and style of the water dish is up to you.


Newspaper and paper towels are the least expensive bedding, but be sure to keep a close eye on temperature and humidity as these options don’t hold up as well as other substrates. Cypress Mulch, Orchid/Fir Bark, and Coco Husk are great naturalistic substrate options that help maintain and control humidity. Aspen is another popular option due to the price tag being lower, but does not hold humidity as well as its counterparts. Lastly, Coconut Soil is another option that is very good at holding moisture. No matter what substrate you decide to use, make sure to keep an eye on humidity as too much or too little can cause problems.


Providing a safe hiding place for your Ball Python is extremely important to the overall health of your reptile. Ball Pythons need a secure, dark cave or hide that they can retreat to in order to reduce stress and feel safe. There are a variety of hides available on the market. (Sapa and Mossy Domes are popular naturalistic options).


After the necessities, Ball Python enclosures can have any variety of decor that help to add enrichment. Spider Wood, Grapevine, and Driftwood are popular climbing implements that provide a different texture and aid in shedding. Natural Stones, Perches, and Vines are also a great addition for general stimulation and enrichment with the added benefit of a naturalistic enclosure.

Interesting Facts:

  • Ball Pythons are also known as “Royal Pythons” because it is said that African tribe leaders would wear the snakes like they were jewelry.
  • No Ball Python is exactly alike. Just like snowflakes, Ball Pythons have unique patterns and colors that vary even within the same “morph”.
  • There are hundreds of “morphs” available as pets. Morphs refer to the various colors and pattern mutations such as: Albino, Leucistic, and Anerythristic.
  • Ball Pythons are opportunistic feeders. This means they will eat whenever they can because in the wild they do not know when their next meal will be. This can lead to obesity when kept in captivity.
  • Ball Pythons are primarily terrestrial but will climb if given vertical branches or decor.