Ball pythons are wonderful snakes that make great pets – but are they suitable for reptile beginners? The answer is a resounding “yes”! Ball pythons are widely considered to be one of the best beginner pet snake options out there. Ask any experienced snake owner and they would point you in the direction of these mild-mannered, medium-bodied beauties. They are fun, easy to love, and most importantly, easy to care for—perfect for learning the ropes.
Why Ball Pythons Are Great for Beginners
Want a reason why ball pythons would be a good choice as your first reptile? We’ve got two! These friendly snakes are the perfect balance between work and play and are perfect for beginners.
Entertaining & Fun To Own
Of the ball python’s many claims to reptile fame, one of the most notable is their fantastic personality. Ball pythons are well-regarded as being one of the best-tempered pet snakes available. Calm and non-aggressive by nature, these sweet snakes are more likely to hide than to hiss. Safety is certainly a consideration when buying an exotic pet, and ball pythons are just that.
Additionally, ball pythons are much more social than your typical snake. A new reptile owner will likely want to physically hold their pet at some point (especially if they’re coming from owning a dog or cat which is very hands-on). Ball pythons are very tolerant of handling and do well with human interaction.
While some snakes can become agitated if held by a human on a daily basis, ball pythons will do just fine. Another feature that’s sure to charm a first-time reptile owner? Ball pythons love to wrap around when held; arms, wrists, shoulders—you name it. It is a fun experience that captures the uniqueness of owning a reptile.
Easy To Care For
The needs of cold-blooded creatures are quite different from those of a warm-blooded pet like a dog or cat. So in addition to being great fun to own, owning a ball python is a great opportunity for newbies to learn the basics of caring for a reptile. Ball pythons are quite low maintenance and relatively unfussy when it comes to their day-to-day needs.
While some species of snakes can be quite particular (specific humidity levels, vastly different day and night temperatures, etc.), the ball python is notably unfinicky. Owning one will allow you to get comfortable with essential reptile care with a much more forgiving learning curve. This low stakes means of getting comfortable with snakes will pave the way for you to move on to other pet reptile species such as lizards, turtles, or tortoises.
What It’s Like Owning A Ball Python
The learning curve of caring for a reptile can be steep. Ball pythons have much easier needs when compared to other popular pet options, including other snakes and reptiles as a whole. Is owning a ball python as much a walk in the park as it’s made out to be? Read on to see for yourself.
Ball pythons are one of the smaller of the python species. They average between 3-5 feet in length and are considered medium-bodied snakes. Why does this matter? The larger the snake, the larger (and more expensive) a habitat they will need. Since ball pythons are a very manageable size, an adult might only need a terrarium of 30 or 40 gallons.
The day-to-day care of a ball python is pretty easy compared to some other reptile standards. They don’t have drastic temperature requirements which means the basic reptile equipment will suit them just fine. There are three types of temperatures all reptiles need to have in their habitat: a cool temperature, a warm temperature, and a basking temperature. Ball pythons are native to sub-Saharan Africa and like their environment warm.
Further, since ball pythons are accustomed to drier climates there’s no need for owners to worry about maintaining specific humidity levels (which can be as tricky as it sounds). A too humid environment can end up causing infection or other adverse health effects for your reptile. The lack of excess moisture also means less frequent cleanup is needed. Your ball python would only need their tank cleaned every 2 to 3 weeks.
Snakes are infrequent eaters. When they do eat, the exact amount is directly proportional to their size. Adult ball pythons only need to be fed every 10-14 days (though juveniles will need to eat more often). A single appropriately sized mouse or rat will usually suffice. Choosing the right size prey is important, as food that is too large can cause your snake to have trouble swallowing or suffer indigestion. The key to determining the correct size is that their food should be no larger than the widest point of your snake.
Ball pythons do very well with handling. While the maximum recommended amount is a few times a week, ball pythons do well with daily handling. It’s recommended to handle a snake at least a few times a week (to keep it tame) and for exercise. Doing it too frequently or for too long can cause stress, so aim to keep your sessions capped at 20 minutes. Also, it’s important to note that while the ball python temperament allows for frequent handling, avoid doing so several days after a feeding which can interfere with digestion.
Most snakes have a tendency to be shy and ball pythons can certainly be meek as well. However, since ball pythons have been bred in captivity for several decades, they are more well-adjusted to humans than other exotic reptile pets. It is unusual to hear of a ball python hissing or striking its owner as it is out of its nature as both a wild and captive animal.
Ready To Buy A Ball Python?
If you’re looking to dip your toe in the waters of reptile ownership, there are few beginner options as wonderful as the ball python. Fortunately, their popularity makes them easy to come by and you can find ball pythons for sale online along with all of the equipment you’ll need to care for one.