Hello, my name is Ella and I am entirely new to the world of reptiles. I don’t have any family who owns reptiles nor any friends who own reptiles, so I am going into this completely blind. I’ve thought about getting a snake as a pet and ultimately decided on a ball python, however, due to my inexperience I have no idea how best to house my future snake. I’ve been trying to do some research, but I don’t know who to trust especially because these websites all contradict each other. I want to be a responsible pet owner, and I would be devastated if my pet fell ill or became injured because I was ignorant of their needs. Can I get some tips or even what you guys all personally do?
Welcome to the community! You will find tons of help here, and no question is a dumb question, so don’t be afraid to ask anything! My advice is always use plastic bins with under tank heater or heat tape on one end, controlled by a reptile specific thermostat. Plastic holds temp and humidity better. Some more info would help greatly! The ball python you are going to get is it a baby, adult? Always buy captive bred and make sure there is no stuck shed, mites or discharge from the mouth, anything obviously not normal. Make sure you know what it has been eating, rodent type, thawed or live.
I’m planning on buying no older than a year
First welcome to the community.
What banereptiles said is of Corse spot on.
I would add, if its one tub and its clear plastic, consider making one end darker and providing hides.
Its easy in a rack system to have a dark and light end , but not if you have only one tub not so. Some card board covering at the back is an easy solution or you can be more creative.
I would also use paper for the substrate to start, you can see mites clearly then and any deficiation problems on that.
Also get temperature and humidity devises. Your thermostat will deal with the temperature and the size of the water bowl compared to the number of ventilation holes will get the right humidity. (50 to 65 percent) But you need to work out your average background humidity to get that right. If you dont know, a second room humidity device will help you see that and the variations
Reputable youtube channels like Snake Discovery, Elle’s Reptiles, Dav Kaufman’s Reptile Adventures, Green Room Pythons, Wicken’s Wicked Reptiles and many others will give you a good average of information about the many ways to keep Ball Pythons and other reptiles happy and healthy. There’s also a few more up to date books by Kevin McCurley- Some are super expensive but some exist as Kindle or digital download versions for low prices. Dāv Kaufman just made a very informative video researching Ball Pythons in the wild, which is a cool watch.
Basically, as you guessed, the more research you do, the more confident you can be about eventually getting your animal. I just got my first BP this year and he is an absolute darling noodle.
After I use paper substrate to start with, what should I switch to, and how long until I do switch?
For quarantine and assessment of health, I would suggest 3 months until your sure of no health issues before you make an awesome permanent enclosure like @chesterhf post.
but others have more experience so listen to any other opinions.
Thats the good thing about this site, we help but discuss and debate best practice.
But i would bare in mind, when you are confident of health, and make your permanent housing, bare in mind and what they were used to previously and change slowly, ball pythons are creatures of habit.
You never have to switch, you can use paper forever! If you want something that looks more natural, then coco blocks would probably be a good choice. It is easy to spot clean and holds humidity well without molding. As soon as you are sure it is healthy, eating, pooping, good as long as there is no underlying condition you can switch bedding. Most quarantines are 8-12 weeks for new or unknown health snakes.
First and foremost, welcome to the community Ella! It’s fantastic that you reached out to get some advice and guidance about the proper husbandry for your ball python, and I’m glad you noticed that there’s a bit mix of opinions whenever you go.
@chesterhf pictorial photo is a great example of an awesome tank setup! I housed my first ball python in a tank like that, and it was one of the funniest things to put together for my little snake. I was in the same boat too as I decided I wanted to get a ball python, but didn’t have a clue on what I needed to take care of it.
I never started off with paper towels for my ball python, and had him go straight onto cocoblox. Most people will tell you to do paper towels to start off with to make sure he doesn’t have mites or anything else you might not be able to see with the naked eye. I personally quarantined my second snake for 30 days on paper towels and then moved her over to cocoblox. It ultimately will be your preference for quarantine and substrate used. I personally like using coconut because the poops grabs on to it lol.
If you don’t want to do a tank and don’t want to mess with the setup or keep of it, you can always do a little rack system. It won’t be anything fancy like you can do with a tank, but it provides the same basic necessities that a ball python would need.
Can’ wait to see which way you decide to go for housing your new snake, and your new snake when you decide to get one!
I’m not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but I would highly recommend against buying any snakes from chain pet stores (Petco, PetSmart, etc.) and instead look for reputable breeders here on MorphMarket (we can’t suggest any to you, but you can take a look here for some great tips and information on how to best go about finding a good breeder to purchase your new scaly friend from.)
You can also use the MorphMap to find breeders that are local to you, if you’re not quite comfortable having one shipped (but any reputable breeder will know how to properly and safely ship animals!)
Oh Yeah, of course. I don’t think I feel comfortable buying anything living from those places. I have moral standards and those poor animals usually end up getting some parasite