Python enclosures

So you own a Ball Python, now what? You need somewhere for him/her to live. I hope that you will accept my recommendations as a collective. If you do, I can conclusively say that your snake will live a happy, healthy life.

My Exo Terra Sri Lanka. The Ball is hiding.
Buy a terrarium that opens from the front. This picture depicts one of my Exo Terra enclosures, namely the Sri Lanka. Exo produces some cool "complete kits" that you can have set up at home in short order. There are others, but I like this one best. The main reason for selecting an enclosure that opens from the front is to reduce stress in your Ball Python.

Ball Pythons are so named for their primary natural defense mechanism, which is balling up. They arguably "ball" in an effort to make their body too large to be easily constricted or eaten. Ball Pythons are very sensitive to being approached from above, and will readily "ball" due to someone leaning over an aquarium to look at them or pick them up. You likely appear as a predator when you do this to a Ball Python. Approaching your new pet via a front-opening door induces much less stress, and even better facilitates your snake coming to you when you open the door. Most of my snakes are very social and readily come to the door when I open it.

Assuming you do not purchase a "ready-made kit", the next concern is substrate, or "bedding". I prefer shredded Aspen, which is readily available in most decent shops. Coconut shell, be it bark, fiber or a coarsely-ground product also works well. Cypress is also fantastic. I tend to shy away from finely-ground substrate to prevent my snakes from ingesting too much and becoming impacted.

A soak bowl is necessary. This will double as a water bowl, and should be large enough to allow your Ball Python to "coil" his/her entire body in. This will also help to maintain the humidity in the enclosure.

If you do not plan to use bottled/purified water, a product like ZooMed's Repti-Safe is necessary. This will condition tap/well water so that it is safe for your snake to drink. Remember-water in their natural habitat is neither chlorinated or too hard/soft. Make certain that you at least purchase a water conditioner. I prefer to buy purified water by the gallon.

Vines, plants and a hide box are very necessary components to creating a healthy habitat for your Ball Python. In the wild, Ball Pythons spend a large amount of time in hiding. Your new pet should have a place that he/she can completely hide it. Avoid the "Reptile Den" product by Exo. It is dangerous for Ball Pythons. I like their "Snake Cave" much better. Use locale-specific synthetic plants in their enclosure. Exo and ZooMed have outstanding offerings when it comes to plants. I like to use a few vines that are "shapeable" in my enclosures. Some of my Ball Pythons are climbing "bone-heads" with not much balance, but they continue to roam about, seeming very happy.

Thermometers and Hygrometers are essential. Both ZooMed and Exo Terra offer combo units. Keep the temperature at 88 degrees F, and the humidity at around 65%.



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