Enclosure advice for breeding ball pythons

I’m keeping ball pythons now for about two years and would love to start breeding next season. I gathered now a small group of 9 ball pythons with genes I’ll like to work with and am planning on one extra male. I’m only really debating on what enclosure to use for them and what is best for breeding.

I know most breeders use tubs, but to start with a really professional tub system is not an option so if I want to use tubs I have to use the one that are for household purposes. I found a type of cupboard that has shelves you can put in any place you want. The max size tubs I found in floorspace inside is about 60 liter, aprox. 75 cm length, 45 cm wide and 17 cm height . It looks to me so small for a adult ball python to live in for his/her whole life. Especially because the do seem to “enjoy” climbing around at night.

The alternative is wooden terrariums I can pille on top of each other. I have three of them in the size 100 cm x 50 cm x 40cm and can get more if needed/wanted. It gives them more space and chance for more natural set up but I don’t know if the snakes will not feel to exposed when they are breeding and have to lay their eggs and get problems with that.

I don’t have an abundance of space and have to make a plan for the future about what to do. Do I go for more wooden enclosures or are the tubs big enough and give better chance for breeding?

To give an idea about my housing here some pictures of the present situation.

These are in the living room. Top is my super mojave ball python, underneath my 1,5 year old boa and down my blue tongue skink. Both the blue tongue skink and boa need most likely more floor space in the future so I want to start replacing them for wooden terrariums in the long run because you can pille them on top of each other.

these are the three wooden terrariums in my sons room. He loves to watch them from his bed before falling asleep.

this is a simple shelve system with ikea 130 liter samla boxes for the bigger ones and 45 liter for the young ones.
I have a second houshold rack with only our youngest black pewter boy on it.

So I would really love to hear your advice on this. Is a tub size enough for an adult ball python to spend his/her whole life, or would you go for the more natural wooden ones? And for breeding, what would your advise be, tubs or can they also breed well in the natural but more exposed setup, with mayby some removable glasfoil against the windows when the are breeding? Or is it better to go for a thirth options, to keep the ones who are breeding in tubs and the ones that are not in terrariums so at least part of their live they have space to climb, and when they are breading they still have a more tight space and less exposure. But I don’t know if the change will not bee good for them. Since my house is not to big I was planning to max breed like 3 females per year. So all can have a year off in between and have enough space to shelter the hatchlings even if they don’t sell immediately.

I hope you can help me with this


There’s so much to unpack in this post. We have to start with good luck with your projects!

I’m sure you’ll get some great advice here. Be aware that, in general when it comes to animals, you might encounter some individuals with very strongly held beliefs. If they do not align with yours and you know that you’re still doing the best for the animals you care for - take some advice with a grain of salt. :slight_smile:

For ball pythons a small space (within reason, of course) is generally not a problem. As far as I know the most popular breeder tub size is around 17" x 33" x 5". That’s enough room for two snakes to get cozy and they generally stop using any hides (the tub is effectively a hide). This also helps keep the snakes near each other, condenses down the space required, and makes it a little more convenient to check in on then without disturbing them. In general you should have a spare tub or three laying around for quarantine and/or treating any mishaps regardless of any plans for permanent housing. It is much easier to control heat and humidity in a smaller space.

A terrarium style setup can have some challenges. The pairing may just wander around the cage oblivious to each other. Checking in can be a little unnerving for the pair if you have to flip several hides and rearrange any decorations. It will be slightly more difficult to control heat and humidity.

Don’t forget that you’ll need some sort of incubator for any clutches.

Some individuals are more adventurous than others and may act a little differently when relocated to a smaller enclosure.

Good luck!

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Thank you for your advise. The size I can get here is almost the same as the one you mentioned. Your story about the chance that they will not really find each other in a terrarium was indeed something I was thinking about. And I was worried that the females when she wants to lay eggs in a terrarium she will feel to exposed and has a bigger risk of getting egg bound. For the set up of terrariums in general I now got it under control considering temp and humidity. The Dutch terrariums don’t have screen tops so humidity is never a problem, expecially since the humidity in the air here in the Netherlands is already around 50 to 60% in your whole room without doing anything ( it really rains a lot here).

I think I follow you advise and also make a rack system so I can use them for the ones that I want to breed and the ones that really seem to prefer the coziness of a small space. Some indeed almost don’t crawl around and some are every night moving around. I just have to keep an eye on them and try to figure out the preference of the individual snake.

I already have three tubs in the attic , plus two extra thermostats and three heatmats. I also have a seperate room I use for quarantine room, also for new snakes, and always handle them last. Something which already proved to bee a good thing since one of the last snakes I bought ended up having a mite problem. Because off quarantine it didn’t spread to any of the other animals. I was so really worried for that but within a few weeks they where gone. I’m also already checking on incubator types.

I now still have around ten months to start and just try to get as much information and preparation as is possible and then it is up to nature to take it’s course. For now, I’ll be happy with all the advise I can get.