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Ball Python Care

By: Dr. Steve Divers

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An adult Ball python should be maintained in a purpose built vivarium (at least 1.8m by 0.5m by 0.5m) with sliding glass doors for good access and ventilation grills to facilitate airflow. It is completely inappropriate to reduce ventilation in an effort to maintain temperature and humidity artificially.

Provide heating with an under-tank heat mat or an overhead ceramic or infrared heater. All heaters must be controlled by a thermostat and screened to prevent snake-heater contact that invariably results in horrendous burns. Cover the floor with artificial turf or paper towelling, and provide seclusion and security with several hideouts or retreats (e.g. bark, small cardboard boxes).

A stout, well-secured clean branch can add to the attractiveness of the set-up and provide climbing exercise. It is important to prevent excessive humidity and moisture, as skin infections are likely in such situations. A warm, dry and well-ventilated vivarium is preferred.

Lighting

Ball pythons, like most snakes, do not have any special lighting requirements. Maintenance of a 12-hour photoperiod using small fluorescent strip lights or external room lights is adequate.

Temperature

A daytime temperature gradient of 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with a basking area of 90 to 95 F, should be lowered to 75 to 80 F at night. Breeding often requires a greater reduction in the nighttime temperature down to 72 F, but daytime temperatures should be maintained.

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