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Latin name: Python regius
This individual is a young female at 165 grams and 20” in length. She’s eating live small rats 1x per week.
Other names: Royal Python
Temperament and general info: Ball Pythons are one of the most widely available snakes in the hobby. Their popularity is ever-growing and they’re a great choice for a lot of snake owners because of their relatively small size, sedentary lifestyle and extremely docile temperaments. They also come in the largest variety of colors and patterns of any snake with new morphs hitting the market all the time!
Habitat and lifestyle: They have a large natural range which encompasses the tropical grasslands of west and central. Africa. They will stay in one secure spot for long periods of time so once they find a good log or rock to hide under, they're set! They are not particularly strong, fast, or large snakes so their main defense against predators is to ball up inside their shelter so that they're difficult to pull out. This behavior is what gives them their commonly known name.
Size and lifespan: Males rarely exceed 3.5 feet in length and females typically reach closer to 4.5 feet in length. A few very large females have grown over 5 feet in length but that’s not common. They often live up to 30 years but can exceed that significantly with some living up to 50 years!
Quick care stats:
Temperatures: 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the basking area, 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool end. It is very important to maintain these temperatures year-round, otherwise your ball python may go off feed if it gets too cold.
Humidity: 40% for most of the time and up to 70% during their shed cycles.
Tank size: 10 gallons for babies. 30-40 gallons for juveniles/adults.
Tank type: . Standard rectangle. Provide a good amount of floor space and also room for some climbing structures.
Lighting: Both a heat pad and a dimmable heat lamp are recommended for snakes living in glass tanks. Thermostats are also helpful. Full spectrum UVB lighting is not required for this species but is highly recommended for all reptiles for overall welfare.
Substrate and furniture: Soil, bark or coconut fiber substrate 2” deep or deeper. A moss box (a lidded Tupperware with a snake-sized hole cut in it, filled with damp moss) is highly encouraged for this species, especially during shedding. Provide a water dish that is large enough for the snake to curl up into for soaking.
Handling: Ball Pythons tolerate gentle handling well and can be handled several times per week. Just watch for signs of stress and try to limit sessions to 30-45 minutes.
When not to handle: After the snake has eaten, give them 2-3 days to digest their food before handling them again. When you first bring the snake home or move it to a new enclosure, wait at least 3 days before handling it to give it a chance to settle in to the new environment.
Feeding frequency: every 4-5 days for babies, 1x per week for juveniles and adults. Prey item should be as wide as the widest part of the snake's body.