Learning how to set up your ball python’s terrarium is an important part of their care. If you have prior knowledge of reptile keeping, most of this stuff is similar to other reptiles. However, as with all reptiles, there are certain things that are specific to the animal when it comes to ball python’s enclosure setup.
In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to set up a ball python’s enclosure, including what it should include and what specifications the terrarium should have.
Without further ado, let’s jump straight in!
Ball python habitat
In the wild, ball pythons live in central and southern Africa. A ball python’s habitat mainly consists of grasslands and Savannah, and it’s not the most forgiving of landscapes for animals.
They tend to hang out in small rodent burrows or termite mounds in the wild, which allows them to escape the hot temperatures during the day.
As you can probably tell, you’re not going to be able to create a termite mound in their terrarium…
Rodent burrows are also difficult structures for us humans to replicate in a simple terrarium. Luckily for you, this isn’t necessary. A simple hide as well as some other extra additions make for a great ball python enclosure.
However, there are some things that are important for us to do when trying to replicate a ball python’s habitat. Each one of these points is going to be discussed in this post!
Which terrarium to get for your ball python
The first part of creating a great terrarium for your pet ball python is selecting the right one. Unfortunately, you can’t just pick up any random terrarium and call it a day.
Snakes are quite the escape artists, and due to their sleek body shape, they can easily wriggly through holes and easy-to-open lids.
First and foremost, you need a terrarium without holes that are large enough for your snake to fit through. They do need good ventilation however, so make sure you get one with enough ventilation.
As for escaping snakes, you want an enclosure with a double lip. These are special snake-proof enclosures which prevent your snake from wriggling its way out of the terrarium.
You can also use plastic containers with locks on the outside which will prevent the lid from opening. It doesn’t really matter what material the enclosure is made out of, just make sure they can breathe and can’t escape!
Size-wise, you want at least a 40-gallon tank for your ball python once it’s fully grown. If you can get a slightly larger terrarium, then that’s definately advised. Just make sure to ad enough places for it to hide as well as other elements to fill up the empty space. Too much empty space can result in a ball python that’s scared to leave the hide.
Ball python housing and hides
When it comes to hides, variety is key. Ball pythons like to have at least one warm hide and one cold hide. You create the different temperatures by placing one on the heated side of the terrarium and one on the cold non-heated side. That being said, if you can give them more options then that’s even better!
A minimum of two hides enables them to thermoregulate without having to expose themselves. Ball pythons are calm and timid animals, so giving them enough hiding spaces is important for them not to be stressed out.
The size of your ball python hides should be slightly larger than the size of the snake when curled up. A hide that’s too large isn’t ideal as it can stress the animal out a little bit. One that’s too small is useless for obvious reasons…
As well as providing some hides, some other objects added to your ball pythons enclosure can help it to stay stimulated. It’s always good to provide some variation to your pets in order to keep them interested.
This also provides them with some cover while moving and a surface to rub themselves on when they start shedding, which is great for ball pythons. They don’t like being too exposed.
As well as this, ball pythons ideally need a moist hide, especially while shedding. This is so they can regulate their humidity levels. In the wild, they’d do this by entering termite mounds and rodent burrows.
Ball python bedding
When it comes to bedding, a lot of people have great results with simple paper towels. However, this does come with a few disadvantages.
The first of these disadvantages is that it’s a little higher maintenance. When you use real substrate, you can just scoop it out and this makes spot cleaning a whole lot easier than with paper towels.
Another obvious drawback when using paper towels is that is doesn’t look as good and isn’t what they’d naturally live on. This doesn’t seem to affect the snake but isn’t something us humans can really measure..
The last drawback of paper towels is that they don’t really hold moisture very well. This can make reaching the right humidity levels a little trickier.
If you want to use a proper bedding, then pick a bedding that’s specially made for ball pythons, like reptile bark. This also helps you to regulate the humidity in the enclose easier, since the bedding helps raise the humidity level.
What kind of water dish to get for your ball python
In reality, anything that’s relatively heavy and is large enough for your snake to fit into will work fine as a water dish.
You need it to be heavy enough so that your snake won’t push it over. This can not only be dangerous for the snake but can also make a huge mess in the enclosure. Also, it shouldn’t be too deep, as you don’t want any accidents to happen while they’re soaking.
It’s important to keep the water fresh and always remove any dirt from the water and rinse it out thoroughly before placing it back in the enclosure. Do this every day, or at least every other day.
It’s best to use bottled water as tap water tends to have a lot of chemicals in it. This is worse in some places than others, but it’s best to use bottled water just in case.
As you can see, a lot goes into your ball pythons housing. It’s not difficult once you know what to get them though.
Hopefully, after reading this article you are in a much better position to create a great enclosure for your ball python!
Want to learn more about caring for your pet ball python? Check out our ball python care guide to learn all you need to know about ball python care!