Acquired: Pet store
Posted Nov 26, 2013
The Ball, or Royal, Python is a special type of snake. It is an excellent first snake for handlers of virtually all ages and is also a great snake for experienced handlers. It is a perfect snake for those looking to study, learn, observe, and even eventually breed snakes. What makes breeding the Ball Python so fun is that you can breed with Ball Pythons of varying colors and patterns to create a truly unique looking snake.
This type of snake is, overall, very healthy and adaptable. The snake requires a basic glass enclosure consisting of a heating pad stuck to the outside bottom of the tank, a heat lamp, bedding, a hide, a mesh top, and a water bowl large enough to allow the snake to curl up in. When using the heat pad and lamp, make sure the temperature does not exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit in its basking spot. The overall temperature of the tank should be around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and can drop to 75 degrees at night. For these snakes, the larger the tank the better because it will allow you to set up the terrarium in such a way that a temperature gradient exists and the snake can escape the HOT basking spot and cool off or can warm up in the basking spot if the other side of the tank is too cool. I found that a 30 gallon glass tank worked ideally for this.
My snake was about 3.5 feet at the time I gave him away. He was healthy and strong, but I didn't have room in our new apartment for another pet. These snakes eat about once a week. Their ideal food is a mouse or rat that has a circumference approximately equal to that of the Python. I fed him thawed frozen mice and rats. It did take some patience and time switching him from live to frozen. DO NOT feed him the food while it is frozen. If you buy a Ball Python as a baby, he may take some weeks to begin to eat as he is still surviving off the yolk of the egg. Do not be alarmed as this is normal. He will eventually eat!!
These snakes are very calm and docile and pose a relatively low risk of biting. If they do bite, though, make sure not to yank them off you as their back teeth are hooked and can be pulled out. If this happens, your snake will have a hard time ever eating and may die if not tended to properly. If you are bitten, be patient and try to slowly wiggle his mouth open and off of you. As I said, they are docile snakes. They will usually only bite out of fear, NOT aggression.