Largest Ball Python
2002 Annual - Ball Python Primer
Answers to your keeping, feeding and breeding questions
By: Bob Clark
In the last several years, the popularity of ball pythons (Python regius) has skyrocketed. It's not surprising; the snakes have broad appeal. Their color, pattern, proportions and disposition make them one of the most commonly kept reptiles, and tens of thousands of them are exported every year from Africa. The snakes can endure some husbandry mistakes, and any first-time snake keeper should be successful with them.
The needs and requirements of animals in captivity are the same as their wild counterparts. However, it is impossible to duplicate the natural habitat of a wild animal with all the variables that the real world presents. Instead, we must focus our efforts on those requirements that are absolutely necessary for the animal's health and well being.
Considering the huge geographic area in which python species are found, it's a little surprising that their requirements in captivity are so similar. Some are terrestrial, others are arboreal; some are from wetter areas, others frequent more arid areas; but most thrive in captivity under similar conditions. For that matter, most of the tropical boas do as well. Therefore, providing for the basic needs of a ball python is fairly simple, but it requires several pieces of equipment.
In The Cage
The first and most important item is the cage or enclosure itself. Its primary purpose, of course, is to safely contain the snake. Remember, the little guy has a lot of time on his hands, and if there's a way out, he'll find it.
My own cages began as an assortment of cracked aquariums with screen tops weighted down by books and bricks. Today, you can buy a variety of ready-made cages. It's also fairly easy to build an enclosure for your ball python or to convert a readily obtainable container into a cage.
Wood, plastic and glass are all acceptable materials for cage construction. I now use cages constructed of ABS plastic with sliding glass fronts. These cages have a nonporous finish that allows for easy cleaning and sterilization. All corners and edges are rounded, leaving no difficult-to-clean areas. The cages are lightweight and have glass fronts for easy viewing. Best of all, someone else made them already!
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