When most people think of pets, they don’t think of spiders and snakes. Now I have to admit that spiders have and always will give me goosebumps just thinking about them. They’re the one thing in this world that I will crush faster than a 1960’s streaker.
Snakes however aren’t nearly as frightening to me. Of course, that only applies to nonvenomous snakes. Having found a new infatuation with pet snakes, I decided to see just how much time, effort and money are involved in raising and buying ball pythons. Let me stop here and say that it can be a pricey hobby if one calls it that. You can expect to spend upwards of $500 plus to set up a tank and up into the thousands for higher quality ball pylons. I know this first hand because I bought the one featured in my post for my granddaughter. You might get lucky and find cheaper ones at reptile events in your area or even at Repticon.
A good friend of mine started raising snakes which is how Abby and I became interested in snakes as pets. They’re raising them to sell and I’ve been following their journey. In the meantime after searching, googling, and researching pet snakes, I found a love for ball pythons myself, that I passed on to Abby. While my BFF is raising both boas and ball pythons, the ball pythons are less frightening IMO. I’m still frightened of boas (the teeth people, the teeth) and it may be some time yet before I’m comfortable enough to hold them, even the hatchlings.
But ball pythons. They’re mesmerizing. There is something exciting about not being afraid of them. I can’t own snakes where I live, but if I ever find myself moving into a home where it would be allowed, I’m more than positive that I’d buy a couple of ball pythons. And maybe even take up breeding them myself.
I could think of several reasons why I’d recommend ball pythons as pets. They’re surprisingly gentle. They only eat once a week to twice a month when adults. They only “go” once a week to twice a month when adults. They have the smallest teeth and only bite if they feel threatened or if your hand gets in the way of their food (rats). They don’t seem to mind being held. In fact, if you wrap them around your warm neck, they’ll stay there for hours. While they are a python breed, they don’t get large enough to constrict so you don’t have to worry about them harming you. A cat might be another problem if you leave your adult ball python snake and cat in the same room. Don’t do this. They should only eat rats. You would end up with two dead pets.
But back to my granddaughter’s new ball python. I purchased everything I’d need to set up a single ball python tank and decided to document my adventure so I could share what all you’d need if you decide to take up the hobby of raising ball pythons, or even if you’d just like to buy one for yourself.
BTW, this is me being brave and holding this gorgeous ball python Super Fire snake in my photos.
I wanted to make a ball python tank that was eco-friendly so I added a lot of plants. That’s optional. If you’re not one that already has houseplants and love houseplants, I’d skip this step. You’ll have to know which plants do best on the moist and dry side and which do best on the warm dry side.
Please note that you can not combine ball pythons. They live alone and you should never put more than one in a tank unless you’re breeding them and even then, they should only be left together while they’re breeding.
Let’s jump on to what supplies you’ll need to raise a ball python or ball pythons to get into the very lucrative business. Most of the stuff I purchased on Amazon but you can also buy it at Walmart, your pet store, etc. I did buy the snake tank at our local Pet Store but they also sell them on Amazon, Walmart, etc. The screenshots were taken before everything was delivered but I waited until I had the tank completely set up and until everything arrived before I purchased Apollo.
List of must-haves for ball pythons.
1. Stand (cats not included)
2. Snake tank (there are many different types and styles)
3. Substrate ( I bought several different types but this is my favorite)
5. Heat pad (I bought one for the bottom and one for the side because the tank I bought is large and the substrate deep)
7. Water Bowl (have one big enough that the snake can get in, to hydrate itself when going into shed)
8. Weekly rats for food (frozen or live)
9. Feeder tongs
10. Dog Ball with Holes (optional if you want to provide stimulation)
11. Plant lights (optional if you add plants)
You can also buy other items for enrichment like bath sponges. Use your imagination and do some research. You have to be very careful that whatever you buy will not harm your ball python.
Below is an image of my completed tank. Tanks should be long enough for your ball python to stretch out and not too tall where they’d be apt to fall down and injure themselves. They’re not the best at climbing and balancing. If you add things for yours to climb on, you need to add plenty of plants or other soft materials to catch them when they fall. Because they will.
Do you own ball pythons or would you ever consider getting one as a pet?