Popularity of Boas vs Pythons

Was in another thread and some numbers came up… why are pythons so much more popular than boas?

There were 40k active listings for Ball pythons vs 4k active boa listings. Totally blew my mind. I have always been a boa guy and never really looked into pythons before so the number broke my brain.

Like was it:

They were just bread earlier than boas?
Temperament better?
Better pets?

I dunno im bored at work, just food for thought lol

  • Balls
  • Boas

0 voters

  1. Less space requirements. Boas easily take up 5x the space. With ball pythons you can have a rack of 40 adult females in the same area that you could only keep 6 or 7 adult female boas.

  2. Far more mutations with ball pythons. The species just has way more variables to work with.

I personally like keeping ball pythons more because they’re much easier to deal with in regards to temperament. It’s very rare that I have any concern about getting tagged by any ball python outside of hatchlings. I also think the behavior and native habitat of balls lends itself better to captivity, given they tend to hide in tight and dark burrows in the wild.

Loved my boas though!


As Ryan said, there’s a big list of reasons ball pythons are so popular. Not to mention that breeding balls is easier, they get to maturity faster etc.

I’m still firmly in the Boas > anything else camp. But understand the appeal for other people.


Ya I just have always loved the way boas look in appearance and shape (knock on wood) never been struck by one out of the 5 I have owned over the years ect. And please no one take this as a knock, I love snakes, but for some reason Balls, Bloods, Carpets ect those type of pythons always look like sausages to me. But next season I will probably own a sausage snake, named Sausage, and try something new :slight_smile:

P.S. I am just happy how much the snake game has changed in the last 15 years (when my last boa passed). Just recently got back into them.


I feel the oversaturation of balls kinda makes other snake choices pretty slim. ( not that id buy a snake from a big box store chain but it seems they only carry balls maybe once in a while i may see amother snake but its mostly balls, i think they also get really pushed onto people by the ball fans.

Customer : hi im new to snakes what is a good snake for a beginner?

Oh you want a ball python they are really cool and easy.

Like i have heard convos at the pet store even in a shop that sells reptiles primarily.

Imo and it may be in the minority and not meaning any offense but i feel balls are overrated. Sure they be beginner-ish i don’t see them as a beginner like never owned any reptile new person. They have requirements that can be a trick to maintain such as heat and humidity. I don’t know how many times i hear “my ball pythons won’t eat, or they have this problem or that” so to me that’s not something a new to the hobby person is prepared for, yes they can learn with time and interacting with forums such as this, reading researching asking questions.

I live in California where Rosy boas come from so other than basic changing and cleaning aspen shavings a couple of hides and a small bowl of fresh water they need nothing more, my snakes never even use the heat pad. My environmental temperatures and humidy is the same as California where they are from.

Yes balls are prettier in many regards and way more variety but i definitely believe rosys are way easier of a beginner snake, id say balls would be like sndvanced beginner. People who already may have experience with other reptiles will likely have a better time than a completely new person.

Like i freaked out having my 1st rosy because that was the one animal i was absolutely forbidden to own. I brought home a garter snake once and the next day my mom saw it and threw it out.

Looking back i can see i really overthinking the rosy, its actually so simple and i kinda feel wierd having so much anxiety over it.
Now other states where there is high humidity im sure a rosy may be slightly difficult to maintain that low humidity they need, so in that case perhaps a ball is easier because those places already have the higher humidity.

Im willing to conceed that where you are keeping them state/ country etc. Would have an impact on how easy or hard it would be to achieve the proper conditions.

(Unrelated) i know my desert scorpions would be more difficult to achieve my 40% humidity level in Florida but tropical scorpions would be slightly easier there to maintain the humidy as opposed to where i live where i constantly have work on the humidity of my forest scorpions.

I guess in closing is people shouldn’t discount other snakes because ball pythons are more produced.


I personally think boas are best lol :joy:


I love boas if only they were 4’ range, i seen the dwarf or smaller boas but i didn’t like the coloration as compared to the standard ones.

So I have both boas and pythons, although more boas. Personality wise for me I pick boas. Don’t get me wrong. My pythons are great! I just sense a “connection” with my boas, especially Red, my male Central American Jungle Boa. He has always been such a puppy dog when I hold him. But I still respect him as a snake.

So I vote BOAS! :slightly_smiling_face::snake:


I love all of the ball python morphs, and so about half of my collection consists of ball pythons. Same with hognoses, but I only have 10 hognoses and a single tricolor hognose.

But I also keep several other species besides that, including blood pythons, reticulated pythons, desert kingsnakes, MBKs, and of course colombian rainbow boas and boa constrictors!

I’m also considering sand boas in the future, and maybe Burmese pythons too (depending on if things go well with my retic pair!)
I want to have a big variety of species so I’m not just “another ball python breeder” — because I honestly think ball python breeders tend to get looked over at shows sometimes.


I second that Riley! Lol

1 Like

I have been keeping reptiles since i was about 10. Not to date myself but that gives me over 40 years experiance with many of these wonderful animals. I absolutely love working with them and always have. I think @biologicalcanvas is right but thats only part of the issue. I worked in private retail Pet Shops for a number of years.
There are plenty of people keeping animals where the adult size of the anmial didn’t matter as it was their passion for the species that led them to keep the animals the kept. But, I also saw a lot of people where adult size was a factor. I had those exact discussions around what snake or lizard species was the best fit for them. Maybe the stores I worked for were the exceptions. I know I factored adult size and animal density into my decision when i was building my own custom cages for breeders when i transitioned away from glass tanks. I loved working with my Green Tree Pythons and when i finally sat back and figured out how many I thought I could keep in the same space that was housing a pair of adult Red Tail Boas or a single Burmese Python. It was an easy decision for me to downsize some of my expectations and cut back on the number of Boas i had. Cost of the animal and set-up also factors into it for many people. Saftey when handeling the animals plays an important factor in that decision for some of people as well. Most people don’t realize you should try to have 1 person for every 5 foot of snake when handeling the large constrictors, although not as necessary as you might think. Finances can play a key role for many people. Not everyone can finance multiple snakes or spend thousands of dollars per animal. Instepped away from buying new animals from 2010 until thus yead. I got sticker shock at some of the prices of the same Boas i used to have. I have 1 male Dumeril, i think i paid $150 for him in 2009, i almost cant touch a adult female for less than $600 now. We also have to consider that reptiles appeal more to peole that want pets but are alergic to dog, cats and other fured animals. Likewise, people that live in the big cities in apartments are more likely to have reptiles especially where apartment regulations prohibit dogs and cats. Another factor that we need to consider is all of the bad publicity and purposeful mis-information pushed out there by the USGS that has fueled the animal regulations acts. Those have had a tremendous negative impact on the types of boas and pythons that many of the reptile owners keep. Especially with regard to animals that could potentially become illegal to have. I have several years of college behind me and 2 engineering degrees. But while i was studying engineering in college, i was also doing tons of my own research on the reptiles i intended to keep. I know how to think and rationalize for myself and i don’t believe all of the information that the USGS has published on pythons. I’m from the midwest. I have a hard time agreeing with the USGS that evasive Burmese Pythons in the everglades will migrate to my area any time soon let alone being able to survive the winters in the climate in Norther Indiana and areas surrounding the Great Lakes. Yea, you might find one that someone let loose because they weren’t responsible owners. But most likely we’re not going to find any wild populations of breeding Burmese Pythons or other large Boids anytime soon this far north. Don’t get me wrong, i don’t condone releasing any of these non-native reptiles into the wild anywhere in the US. But something much more extreme will have to happen in the world to speed along any migratory evolution of the wild pythons in Florida. If that happens, its probably not going to go well for us bipeds either.


I see boas and corn Snakes/milk snakes in even big box stores these days. But reptiles in general are more popular than ever so makes sense.

Dwarf boas are helping the size thing. People have discovered Tarahumara and Sonorans, Crawl/Caulker Cay, Hog island etc and they have doubled or more in price. Which is understandable, some even take less space than a big female BP. I like BPs, but boas are top notch - even I have a pair of Pure Sonorans because I know how popular they already are becoming and want to explore them. And I love how they look of course.

Their personality is the clincher for me. So intelligent etc. SD Retics would be fun, and similar space to a big Carpet or Boa, but they are illegal here. Carpets would be neat too but with hw variety and beauty of boas, from 4ft dwarfs to 10ft Surinams, it’s hard to beat imo.


Ive added a poll at the top :grin:


Greats minds Thomas!:+1:


Boas for the win!!! :crazy_face:


I think a super dwarf retic is in my future display/pets for sure

1 Like

I love both boas and pythons! Currently have one of each (sand boa and blood python) and intend to get at least one more species from each family (BCI and super dwarf retic). After that, we’ll see. Currently, with my admittedly limited experience, I don’t really prefer one family over the other. But boas and pythons are my favourite types of snakes.