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Getting A Ball Python For The First Time ?

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by Lizzi2598, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. Lizzi2598

    Lizzi2598 Member

    Hi guys, I'm new here and I have a pretty long, involved question about getting a ball python. I'll be a first time python owner, but I do have a relatively young corn snake. I have really enjoyed him and have had absolutely no problems with him, but he is pretty skittish and has always hated being handled. I would really love to have a snake that is a little bit larger and better with handling. I volunteer at a nature center, and their ball python is by far the calmest, easiest to work with snake they have. Everyone has been telling me that ball pythons are incredibly docile, and from what I have seen, it is true. Just for the record, I don't plan to get my ball python anytime soon. Maybe six months from now or so? I want a lot of time to make sure I know exactly what I'm doing. So my first question is, should I go with a baby or an adult? There's a great exotic pet shop in my town where I will probably buy it, and they obviously sell both. (If you think an exotic pet shop is not a good idea, let me know what would be a better option.) What are the pros and cons of babies and adults? If I go with a baby, what size tank should I keep him in and when should I upgrade to a bigger size? Also, I would really appreciate it if someone could explain the best heating and lighting for a ball python with regards to the size of tank I should be keeping him in. This is one of the most confusing aspects of owning a snake for me. If someone could explain it in simple terms that would be great. Another concern of mine is feeding. I believe the pet shop feeds live food. Is it easy to switch a ball python to f/t? I know this is a lot of information and much of it I could find somewhere else online, but all of the research I have done has left me confused and wondering who to believe. So if you can give me any answers, I would greatly appreciate it.
  2. Karma Momma

    Karma Momma Active Member

    Hey there! Welcome to HerpCenter!

    My personal preference is to get babies because I like to see them grow, but it's really up to you on what is best for you. As far as I know, most ball pythons are captive bred now, so it's easier to find healthy snakes. A hatchling (baby) may eat better for you than an adult, but others with more experience than I can chime in on that.

    Karma, my ball, was kept in a 20 x 10 x 18" enclosure until she reached about 2 feet long. Then I upgraded her to a 48 x 12 x 21 enclosure. Many snake keepers recommend a 36 x 18 enclosure for an adult, but I chose to go larger. Obviously, the larger the enclosure, the higher wattage you'll need for your heat lamp to maintain proper temps.

    If you do buy as a baby, I would advise getting a heat lamp that can hold a heat bulb of higher wattage so you don't have to buy another one. Personally, I use brooder lamps because you can use bulbs up to 500 watts, which I've never had to use a bulb higher than 150w.

    In regards to feeding f/t, it seems to depend on the individual snake. One of my girls won't touch f/t, the other two don't care if it's live or dead.

    Below is a link to our care sheet for ball pythons. I hope this helps!

    Ball Python | Reptile Forums - Information
  3. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Hi there, and welcome to the forum. First off, give our care sheet a read here. Ball Python | Reptile Forums - Information
    Now, I can understand your confusion because after its basic needs are met, there is no one right way to care for a ball python. I should also point out that all animals are individuals, and they can have variable personalities. That said, it is rather hard to find a BP that is not reasonably docile.
    Now I'll just give you a rundown on how I keep mine, and a few ideas on setup for you to consider. They require a hot spot of 90°f with a cool end temperature of between 75-80°. Humidity should be at least 50%, and I like to keep mine closer to 60%. Now how you get there is where it can vary a lot, but having those three parameters covered is the top priority. The actual set up can be anything from a plastic tote to a full bioactive setup with live plants and a waterfall if you wanted. The other thing is that if you decide to use a heat mat of some sort, get a thermostat. Despite what anyone might tell you, I know of none on the market that are safe without a t-stat.

    Edit: please note I started this a couple days ago, but work kept me from finishing, so I didn't see KMs post.

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