Scientific name: Python regius
Size: 3 – 5ft
Lifespan: up to 30+ years
Primary Colour: Black & Yellow
Difficulty of Keeping: Easy
Optimum environment Temperature: 95°F hotspot with ambient temp of 80°F
What do they eat? Primarily rodents, such as mice and rats.
Purpose: Ball pythons are ambush predators, they can wait numerous days for prey to cross their path.
Eggs or Live birth: Egg baring snake.
Venomous: None venomous/ None poisonous
Are they kept in captivity? Second to the corn snake, royal pythons are closing the gap for the most popular pet snake in the world each year.
Ease of keeping as a pet: Once set up correctly, care is very simple and low maintaince.
Cost: Ranges between £10 – £10,000’s+ dependant on morph (colour)
Ball Python Fun Facts
- The most popular python kept in captivity by far.
- In excess of 300+ different colour and morph variations available and increasing at a rapid rate by breeders.
- A non-venomous snake that kills its prey by constriction.
- The royal python is the smallest species among all other African native pythons.
- The name ball python comes from their defensive mechanism to curl up into a tight ball using their body to protect their head in the middle.
Overview of a Royal Python
A mid-sized snake which makes a fantastic pet, since the growth of morphs (colours see section below).
Royal pythons are fastest growing pet snake, they are heavy bodied but only grow to a reasonable size.
Ball pythons are a great way to begin owning pet snakes, rarely are they aggressive and care requirements are among the easiest.
With any animal there are some downsides to this species, reptiles’ enthusiasts often refer to them as pet rocks.
This has some truth in it, mostly this is when you have a hatchling or sub-adult, as they age ball pythons become very curious about their surroundings.
Other than minor downside, they are amazing hardy snakes.
Ball Python Captive Care
In general caring for your royal python will be a breeze, they are very low maintenance snakes.
The most difficult part is the initial setup, this can cause confusion, but we have included ever potential question or concern you may have.
If you do not find what you are looking for, contact us directly or leave a comment below and we will be sure to answer within a few hours.
Simply follow our guide and this will make sure everything is setup correct and this will ensure your pet snake is given the best care.
Now let’s dive straight into what you will need!
Royal Python Setup Checklist
- Heat source (heat bulb or mat)
- Water dish
- Substrate or bedding
- Feeding Tongs
First and foremost, choosing the right size cage will save you money and waste or re-selling.
The size of the vivarium’s length and depth should always be larger than the total length of the snake.
When choosing which size, always go 10-25% larger than this, in doing so for this species of snake will only require 2 vivarium’s or 3 if you have a large adult.
When young (under 1 year old) a plastic terrarium will be perfect for your pet royal python.
We recommend a 2ft by 1ft size as this will see them right through their sub-adult phase.
1+ years old are best transferred to a wooden vivarium as it looks much better with the viewing point, and it is much sturdier preventing escape.
At this point the snake’s growth will rapidly slow, so a 3ft by 1.5 – 2ft deep vivarium will be perfect and for the most part will be an adequate home for the rest of their life.
The thermostat you should choose is completely dependent on how you want to heat the vivarium.
There are 2 main heat setups both have pros and cons.
Using a heat lamp of any kind will require a dimming thermostat, these are better suited as they will restrict the power going to the bulb by a percentage to consistently achieve the optimum temperature.
Secondly is using a heat mat or cable, using these are often cheaper to run on energy bills they are more popular for breeders and keepers alike.
A mat stat perfectly fits the bill for this heating type, they are also cheaper to buy rather than the dimming thermostat, costing around £25.
The downside to a heat mat is its lack of ability to increase the ambient air temperature within their environment.
So, if you live in a colder area of the world a heat bulb is better suited but for the majority, I would recommend anyone to use a heat mat and mat stat.
Please note, ALWAYS use a thermostat for every reptile, the most common cause of a snake need veterinary attention is due to unprotected heat causing burns.
Best beddings or substrates
For the best combination of cost and comfort, aspen is by far the best option for royal pythons.
This can be found at almost every pet store that covers reptiles also.
Second is newspaper, it is less comfortable for your snake but is often free.
If you prefer this option, then consider getting a paper shredder this will fluff up the newspaper making it much softer for your ball python to lay on.
Ensuring the enclosure is clean always is important, spot cleaning must be done frequently, whereas a full clean out and disinfection of the caging should be done every 1 – 2 months.
What to feed your Royal Python
Royal pythons eat live animals only, the most popular are mice and rats in captivity.
These are available at most local reptile included pet stores, but I would recommend if you have more than 1 snake to get 50+ rodents at a time online, this can save lots of money in the long term.
Rodents have all the nutrients needed to keep a happy and healthy snake, there is no need for additives.
Feeding your royal python frozen thawed has several benefits to feeding live which has none.
Determining the size often causes confusion among new keepers, this is easy, simply find the widest part of the snake’s body, the prey should be of a similar size.
A feeding schedule is good for you and the snake, not only will it allow you to track if they have missed a feed, it always becomes routine to feed on a certain day.