Ball Pythons for Sale
Thinking about owning a ball python? While an exotic snake may seem like a scary pet for some, with the right education and preparation, it’s easy to see that these constrictor snakes can be gentle, docile, and all-around great pets.
What is a Ball Python?
The ball python (Python Regius) is a reptile, and one of 26 different python species. They are constrictor snakes. Meaning that they work to wrap their long, strong bodies around prey and squeeze them until they suffocate. They are also one of the smallest python species—only growing to about 3 or 4 feet long—which also makes them ideal for home care. It’s safe to say that this species of python is the most popular pet python in the world. While they can seem a bit shy at first, they are typically friendly and quite manageable to care for.
Ball pythons come in a wide variety of colors and patterns as well, making for an attractive pet and housemate. Native to western and central Africa, this species of constrictor snake naturally thrives in a warm, tropical environment. In many parts of the world outside of North America, they are referred to as the royal python. In fact, in certain areas of Africa, the ball python is very highly revered.
At the Reptile Super Show, we believe that the ball python makes for a great pet and is suitable for everyone from the first-time keeper, on up to the most experienced handler.
Interesting Facts About the Ball Python
No Two Ball Pythons Are Exactly Alike In Appearance
Almost like fingerprints, the skins of a ball python are a unique identifier to the snake. Finding two snakes that have exactly the same color pattern is pretty much unheard-of no matter how hard you look. There can be snakes that have similar markings because they are the same type of morph, but if you look closely enough at the skins, there will always be differences between them. Slight pattern or color variances make each snake offer its own unique appearance.
Ball Pythons Enjoy Occasional Playtime In Water
In the wild, ball pythons tend to live close to bodies of water because they like having close access to a water source. However, these snakes also can be found occasionally just slipping into the water for a quick dip to cool off or moisturize their body. In captivity, a ball python should be given a shallow tray of water that is easy for the snake to climb in and out of as they wish.
The Ball Python Can Be a Picky Eater
The ball python prefers to eat live mice, but live mice can also bite the python, which you do not want for your pet. Therefore, it is best if you are feeding them pre-killed mice. The only problem with the pre-killed mice is that they may not be the most appetizing to the python. In fact, young snakes have to be trained to eat the pre-killed rodents by their handlers. If you have an older snake that has not yet been trained to eat a pre-killed meal, you will have to use some patience while they get familiar with the process.
It Is Common for a Ball Python to Become Moody While Shedding
When your ball python is in the process of shedding, which happens once about every five to seven weeks, you may want to give the pet snake some space and avoid doing too much handling. A python that is typically friendly and loves interaction can be slightly withdrawn and a little grouchy. Ball pythons are more likely to bite during this time, and they may not have much of an appetite either.
Ball Pythons Can Have Over 100 Teeth
If you could get a good look inside of the mouth of a ball python, you would find a lot of teeth—some of the oldest and largest snakes can have over 100 teeth in fact. Adult ball pythons will have more teeth than hatchlings, of course, so when the snake bites, it can definitely hurt. The teeth are curved and barbed, so when they pierce the skin, it can be painful. Of course, most of these snakes are fairly easygoing and rarely bite as long as they are used to human interaction. If you do get bitten, make sure you properly clean the area with a disinfecting agent to prevent infection.
Learning more about what makes the ball python unique among other exotic pet snakes is the best way to help determine whether they will be the right pet for you. Did you know that the ball python can live for up to 50 years? That’s a big commitment, so it’s important that you learn as much as possible about these wonderful snakes before bringing one home for yourself.
What’s in a Name?
The ball python gets its interesting name because when they aren’t being social, they tend to curl up into a ball and hide away in dark, cozy places. While they make good pets and don’t mind being handled often, it’s always a good idea to give your snake time to rest and recharge in this way.
Ball Python Appearance
The ball python is known for having a generally flat head and boxy snout. Most often, you’ll find that this species of constrictor snake features black overall coloring with pale stripes on their face and black stripes forming a kind of mask over their eyes. Their bodies typically have large brown spots outlined in both black and white. On a young ball python, these spots may appear to be more yellow or green, with white and black outlines. When handling a healthy ball python, it should feel round and firm to the touch.
Their Natural Habitat
In the wild, the ball python originated and still lives in the sub-Sahran desert, as well as along the edges of the forest. They are strong and skilled enough to climb trees but prefer to stay lower to the ground when possible. While in captivity, the ball python needs a secure habitat like an aquarium with a lid, so that they won’t easily escape. Typically, adult ball pythons need an enclosed habitat that is at least 36” in length, like a 30-gallon aquarium.
Comfort is Key
Ball pythons thrive in a warm environment. This means that when in captivity, they need an under the tank heater to help keep them cozy, no matter the season. To help make sure that they have sufficient heat in their home, pet owners can monitor aquarium temperatures with a thermometer. As a good rule of thumb, you should aim to keep their aquarium heated to approximately 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Because ball pythons have sensitive skin that can easily burn, it is not recommended to keep heated rocks in their enclosures.
When they are in the wild, these snakes enjoy spending their days hiding under rocks or in small, dark crevices. This means it’s very important for python owners to provide similar hiding spot options in their enclosures. Make sure that your pet snake has several hiding spots in their cage to keep it comfortable and happy. Typically, you can find hiding spots that are made from bark, cork, or other suitable materials at your local pet supply store or at one of our reptile shows.
What Does the Ball Python Eat?
When they’re living in the wild, ball pythons hunt for rodents like jerboas, rats, and gerbils. For those that are in captivity, it is best to feed them a similar diet. Owners can feed them a live mouse or small rat about once per week to keep them healthy. It is possible to train some pet python species to eat pre-killed mice, but this usually needs to be taught when they are very young hatchlings.
Does the Ball Python Have Any Predators?
In the wild, the ball python has many different predators. While they can live to be up to 50 years old in captivity, their average lifespan is about 30 years. When in the wild, their life span is typically much shorter. Some of their natural predators include:
- Large Frogs
- Carnivorous Mammals
- Other Large Snakes
Ball Python Reproduction
This species of constrictor snake becomes sexually mature at around 5 years old. Most ball pythons breed between late December and January when the female begins laying eggs with a leathery shell. Female ball pythons only breed once every 2 to 3 years, dropping 40 to 10 eggs each time. The female ball python is ready to drop eggs when her coloring turns darker. After she drops her eggs, she will coil herself around them in a ball to help keep them warm. The average incubation time for ball python eggs is approximately 80 days. During this time, the female ball python will stay close to her eggs and does not typically eat.
Do Ball Pythons Shed?
Yes, they do! Ball python owners will find that their pet pythons do shed their skin periodically. One of the biggest indications that your python is getting ready to shed their skin is cloudy eyes. The entire shedding process takes around 1 to 2 weeks and can be helped along with the assistance of a tree branch that your snake can rub safely against.
Most ball pythons are docile snakes, that can be very friendly. They are comfortable being held by humans but should only be taken out of their enclosure once each day and handled with care. As they grow older, you can expect adult ball pythons to become comfortable enough that they wrap around your arms or waist. But don’t be afraid, you should be able to easily unwrap them when you want to. Additionally, owners should remember that the ball python is a head shy snake, meaning that it’s best to avoid sudden movements around them. Lastly, take the time to wash your hands before and after handling your pet python to keep each other free from germs.
The Albino Ball Python
Albino ball pythons are very popular pets because just like the regular ball python, they are docile, friendly, and easily manageable. However, what makes them special is the fact that they lack the melanin necessary to make their skin appear dark brown and black. Melanin is the dark pigment that makes skin, eyes, and hair appear dark in both humans and snakes alike. When looking at different exotic snakes for sale, you may see some advertised as being “amelanistic,” which means simply means that they are lacking melanin or albino.
While the albino ball python is quite rare to find in the wild, many are now bred in captivity for their beautiful colors and patterns. Some of the different color variations available include:
- Lavender Albino Ball Python
- High-Contrast Albino Ball Python
- Caramel Albino Ball Python
- And More
Because they are rarer than the traditional ball python, the albino snakes can cost more to adopt than others. But they do not require any special handling or care and are only different in appearance from other ball pythons.
Discover the Ball Python and Other Snakes for Sale at The Reptile Super Show
The friendly, docile, and beautiful ball python makes a great pet for people of all ages. However, it’s important to remember that they can live to be up to 50 years old in captivity and require a long-term commitment. Are you interested in owning a ball python as a pet? Be sure to check out our next reptile show in your area to browse ball pythons and other pet reptiles from top American breeders. And for more information on our upcoming shows, contact us online today.