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Getting a Ball Python!

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by Annexa, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. Annexa

    Annexa Member

    Hiya! I'm new here, I joined mainly to get help on preperations for my ball python. I shall be getting a young/hatchling normal ball python in 2-3 weeks, and I have everything that I need... I think. I received a ball python kit, which included a large terrarrium, about 2 1/2 feet long, 1 foot wide, and 1 foot tall. I covered the bottom with a decent amount of newspaper, and I got a medium sized hide with a water bowl as well that I placed at opposite ends.
    My main question is this: I received included in the kit 2 lamps, a 'day' lamp and a 'night' lamp. I understand that you don't need UV lamps, mainly just a heat source. The lamps say that they can keep it at 85 degrees farenheit and the night one at 80-80 degrees farenheit. I have an under heating pad, but it isn't specifically for reptiles. Should I just use the bulbs, the mat, or a combination of them?

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  2. EmmaGrauman

    EmmaGrauman Member

    Do some playing around with the heating before the snake comes. If you don't have a thermometer, get one. The hot spot should be about 90-95. (I recently discovered that my hot spots were too low haha). Also, I'd get another hide to put on the cool side with the bowl. Just so the animal doesn't have to choose between warm and safe and cool but unsafe.
  3. BrownFoundling

    BrownFoundling Established Member

    When you get that thermometer do yourself a favor and get a digital one. You can get a fairly inexpensive one (around $13) that also measures humidity at Walmart, Lowes, or Home Depot.
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Yep, I second needing another hide. You can use a tissue box or any suitably sized box in the meantime.

    Warm hide should be in the ranges mentioned above, or your snake may not eat for you.

    Also, Ball Pythons need higher humidity at shedding times, and that screen lid will let your humidity right out. I would suggest replacing it with a wooden (sealed) lid, or making a piece you can use to seal up the tank. That screen will also let your heat right out, and make it very hard to control temps.

    To be honest, those store bought kits are rarely any good. You will need a lot of extra stuff that the kit does not include to keep your snake healthy and happy.

    But you are on track if you have time to get your setup correct before your animal arrives.
  5. Annexa

    Annexa Member

    I was thinking about putting plastic wrapping over most of the top to keep in the heat and humidity. I got a humidity and temperature gauge set up so I can keep an eye on that, luckily I have yet to get the snake, as I wanted everything to be set up before I got it. I also got another make-shift hide, which I'll most likely replace with a better one, it's a small shoe box.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  6. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Most Ball Pythons prefer small hides that are tight fitting. A shoe box may actually be a little big for your snake to be totally comfortable in. I'm sure he will still use it, but if you have something smaller, such as a granola bar box, tissue box, or small cereal box, S/he may appreciate it more.
  7. Fini

    Fini Member

    I only use the UTH. I find that lamps drain the humidity quickly, and even though I live in central Florida, the inside of my house is only at about 50%. I keep my home between 70-75 degrees, so the UTH is sufficient.

    I have it hooked up to a thermostat however to control the temp (set at 95, with a stone hide on top... no substrate between the hide and the glass bottom... he loves it to warm up in.

    The thermostat is VERY important as the UTH get way too hot for ball pythons. I got mine refurbished/used on eBay for $12 - they don't have to be expensive.

    As for the other stuff, they mostly aren't too picky. You'll get to know is preferences. I have driftwood and the stone hide, and he prefers the driftwood unless it gets chilly.

    Also, since he's so little he might like to climb a bit. A lot of the babies do. You can just get a piece of small tree branch from outside and bake it in the oven to kill anything harmful. Or the vines sold at the pet store work well too.
  8. Annexa

    Annexa Member

    Thank you, I didn't know that they liked to climb, I'll be getting/making something for her to climb on. I just ordered her on backwater reptiles and am eagerly awaiting for her to arrive. I got a regular hatchling as they were less expensive. I have a tissue box, but it's a very small one only about 2x2 inches along all of it's square sides, so should I get one of the 'regular' sized tissue boxes or will a smallish one be fine?
  9. Lizz

    Lizz Well-Known Member

    I also agree that you should have 2 hides. One on the warm side and one on the cool. I also think its a good idea for the hides to be identical. Or the same size. I went to the dollar store and got two small bowls (made in the usa and bpa free) that were identical for mine. I put sphagnum moss underneath them and made little "burrows" in the moss so he could see a way to get in. Now he just slithers right underneath and pushes the moss out of his way. Some people actually use a soldering iron to make a hole in the side for them to crawl into, I didn't find that to be necessary. I like using the moss because, especially when he was smaller, it took up extra space in the hide so that it felt like a smaller space. You want your snake to fit as snugly as possible in his hides to feel secure. This also has allowed me to keep the humidity up rather easily in his hides by misting the moss. Don't over dampen though.
    Using the UTH for the hot spot would be better than the lamps. The lamps will not only dry out the enclosure quickly, but ball pythons seem to prefer belly heat anyway. They aren't the kind of animal that comes out to bask in the sun (clearly since they're nocturnal), they like to be hidden, they are shy little guys by nature. So being able to warm up while hidden and feeling secure will make him more comfortable.
    I think it will make your life a thousand times easier, and safer for your snake, to get a thermostat to regulate the hot spot temp. Especially with fluctuating temps, mistakes are sure to happen at some point since we're only human, and it only takes his hot spot getting too hot one time for him to get burned.
    And without something to regulate the UTH, it will definitely get too hot for him.
    Also if you use just the UTH, you won't need to worry about leaving a space for the heat lamp when you cover the screen with sheet plastic.
    I realize this post is somewhat old, but figured you and your snake could still benefit from this additional information.
    Hope this helps!

    Have any pics of your snake you'd like to share? I'd love to see.
    How are things going with your new pet?

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