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What Size Tank Does A Ball Python Need? [Owners Guide]

If you are looking to get a new tank for your Ball Python, size is going to be one of your primary considerations. An average Ball Python is 5-6 feet in length; so they are relatively large snakes and need enough room to maneuver. Choosing a tank that they can live and feel comfortable in therefore requires a bit of thought.

So, what size tank does a Ball Python need? Ball Pythons require sufficiently large tanks for their respective age and size. A baby Ball Python should be housed in a tank of at least 10 gallons. An adult Ball Python requires a 30-40 Gallon Tank at a minimum, yet any extra space you can provide them is going to be preferable. It is recommended that you only house one snake in a tank at a time.

Getting an appropriately sized tank for your Ball Python will go a long way to ensuring optimal health and well-being for your snake.

Consider that this is their primary environment; in which they will be spending most of their lives. It is important that you replicate their natural habitat and make it closely match the environment in which this species spends its time in the wild.

Let us now explore the topic further, starting with the best tanks (also known as terrariums) for a Ball Python before we turn to optimizing it for their unique needs and requirements.

Getting The Right Tank For Your Ball Python

When it comes to buying a tank for your Ball Python it can be quite a challenge; with all the options available it can soon become overwhelming.

I documented my thorough research on the best enclosures available, which you can read here. This will provide you with a complete buyer’s guide including what to look for and the best tanks that are currently available on the market.

With this in mind, I would thoroughly recommend that you take a look at the Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium on Amazon. It considered ideal by many snake owners and experts; it provides everything you will need and most importantly it provides great visibility and security (to prevent escapes).

As a snake owner, you need to ensure that you can provide an environment that closely resembles that of the wild. These are reptiles with very specific light, temperature and humidity requirements.

Let us take a closer look in the following few sections.

Creating The Best Environment For Your Ball Python

Once you have your tank/terrarium, you’ll also need to consider some of the other elements that will need to be added. This will help you to replicate a snakes natural habitat.

First and foremost, you will need to add a substrate liner to the bottom of the tank. From there, you will need to place down some substrate which your snake will use as a form of bedding. Substrates should retain moisture, not give off any bad odors and should not be able to be inhaled/ingested by your snake.

There are actually various options for substrate, but natural cypress mulch and paper towels are most often used by snake owners. Wooden shavings can be dangerous and not considered safe by most. Zoo Med Forest Flooring is an excellent option and one to take a look at.

Next, you should look to add a hide box – a safe place that your snake can access as and when required.

As Ball Pythons are nocturnal, you will also need to consider an area for the to sleep. Some owners purchase items like hollow log whereas others make their own ‘beds’ out of cardboard boxes. Either way, you need to ensure that it is large enough to fit your snake but not too big that they do not see it as a place to rest.

Climbing trees enable your Ball Python to climb toward the heat; this is essential to ensure they can maintain the right body temperature. Snakes cannot produce their own heat and as such, require supplemental lighting.

On the other hand, snakes will also require a pool of water. This serves two purposes. It will be accessed when your snake needs to drink and to fulfil their hydration needs and it will also be used when your snake needs/wants to cool down.

Due to the way in which a pool of water will be used, it is likely to get dirt quickly and will require changing often. Consider that the container that you purchase for the water pool should be sturdy so that it cannot be knocked off easily.

The final thing to consider is the temperature and humidity.

You’ll need to keep the tank between 80-85 degrees at all times, yet you also want to provide an additional and hotter area where your snake can bask (at around 90 degrees).

To provide heat to the tank, you can look at add ceramic heaters and heating pads/mats.

To ensure good hygiene, prevention of illness and disease, you are going to need to clean the tank weekly. Be sure to properly clear out and remove all dirty substrate and replace it with new and fresh substrate.

What Does A Natural Ball Python Habitat Look Like?

The Ball python species of snake is native to West and Central Africa. As such, it is used to warm and mild climates.  

In the wild, Ball Pythons live in open areas like grasslands and shrublands, and to some extent small woodlands. Within their habitat, they will utilize fallen trees and climb standing trees seeking shelter.

Ball pythons sleep for up to 23 hours per day, being nocturnal they arise at night. This is when they hunt and seek out their prey.  

What Do Ball Pythons Eat?

Ball Pythons, along with other species of snakes, are strict carnivores. They thrive on a diet of small rodents; that are appropriately sized for them to consume and eat. Ball Pythons swallow and eat their food whole; so getting the right sized food is imperative. You must ensure the food you are feeding to your snake is appropriate, consider your own snakes size and age.

Once a Ball Python swallows their food, it then sits in their stomach and the digestion process begins. They have strong stomach acids which are used to break down, absorb nutrients and dissolve the prey consumed.

Ball Pythons will mostly feed on rats, even when young. For baby Ball Pythons rat pups are best, but as you’re Ball Python ages and grows in size, they can eat larger rats.

A good way to ensure that the rodent you feed is not too big is to check the size of the rodent against the circumference of your snake. Never feed a rodent that is larger than this width.

You’ll also need to provide pre-killed rodents to your snake. This is to keep your snake safe and prevent harm from the rodent (which will lash out in an attempt to defend itself from being eaten).

If purchasing recently killed rodents is a challenge, you can always purchase frozen rodents. You will need to thaw them out before you serve them to your snake – just as you would a frozen loaf of bread!

Adult Pythons typically need to be fed less frequently than baby/young Pythons. For an adult, you should look to provide a rodent every 1-2 weeks. A baby/juvenile Python may need a small rodent every 3-4 days.

Lastly, you will want to ensure that you leave sufficient time between feeding and handling your snake. This will prevent the chance of them regurgitating their food. Never attempt to pick up your snake during feeding, as this is a time where they are likely to defend themselves.

Be aware that a Ball Pythons appetite and requirements will fluctuate throughout the year. This is especially true when the season changes. Do not be concerned if this occurs.

In Summary

Ball Pythons are large snakes, that can reach 4-6 feet in length by the time they are 5 years old. As an owner, you need to ensure that you are getting the right size tank for their respective size, age and weight.

Snakes require plenty of space within their enclosure, and experts recommend that a baby Ball Python is kept in no smaller than a 10 gallon tank. This will of course need to changed as they grow.

At full adult size, you should be looking at 30/40 gallon size tanks and above.

Beyond just the tank/terrarium itself, you need to ensure that you replicate their natural environment in their enclosure. Substrate, hiding boxes, trees, water pools, lighting and heating should all be provided.

Related Questions

How big should my snake tank be? Your snakes tank should reflect the age, size and weight of your snake. If you get a snake from a young age and a smaller size, the tank should be reflective of this. While you do not want your snake to have too little space, equally you do not want to provide too much space either (as this can lead to stress). As your snake grows in size and length, you will need to get a larger tank accordingly.

Can you keep 2 ball pythons in the same tank? No, it is not advised to keep 2 Ball Pythons together in one tank. Snakes are solitary reptiles and prefer their own space and environment – they do better on their own. The health of your snakes and levels of stress are also much more difficult to manage when they are housed in one tank; and risks of illness increase.

Do ball pythons grow big? Ball Pythons grow on average to a length of 4-6 feet. Females are generally slighter longer and can reach 6 feet, whereas males are usually smaller where they reach 5 feet. It takes roughly 3 years for a pet snake to reach its adult maturity and full size. Feeding patterns and environment (heat, humidity and light) all affect the growth rate of a pet snake.