Ball pythons (Python regius) are medium-sized constrictor snakes native to Africa. They are widely available in pet stores and from reputable breeders. You may be wondering:
Is a Ball Python a Good Pet?
As a general rule, ball pythons make great pets. They are small, docile, and rarely bite once they reach adulthood. So long as you meet their care needs, they are great pets.
The single biggest reason why ball pythons get recommended as a good snake for beginners is because they are so docile as adults.
They prefer running or hiding over biting when they are stressed or frightened. Most snakes will show off the behavior that gave them the common name of ball python.
Once the snake becomes stressed, it will ball up and hide its vulnerable head under the coils of its body. This means that the snake is easier to handle thanks to preferring to ball up rather than bite.
Babies can be nippy, but they can’t cause much damage thanks to tiny teeth. Thos balling behavior also makes it obvious to a new owner when the snake needs to be left alone and allowed to relax.
They are easily stressed snakes so care needs to be taken to avoid stressors. Once they learn you won’t hurt them they have curious personalities. They will investigate anything offered to them.
They also tend to be one of the best snakes to hang out with since they are calm.
Another reason why they make good pets is their size. Females tend to be larger, but they rarely get over 6 feet long. Most will be between 3 and 5 feet long as adults.
This means they stay at a nice size that is easy for a single person to handle. They are too small to hurt a human.
The size also means they are easier to house than other species. While some sources claim they can be kept in small tubs, they need an enclosure that is at least as long as they are.
This makes housing them a bit easier than larger species like carpet pythons or boa constrictors.
Ball pythons are pretty easy to care for. Once you have their temperature and humidity dialed in, they are easy to care for.
Everything you need to know about caring for Ball Pythons in captivity (Free):
Read our My complete enclosure & care guide for Ball Pythons
Cleaning up after a snake is typically a quick job on a daily basis. You do need to fully clean the enclosure about once a month, but most of your time doing that will be spent waiting for everything to fully dry.
Ball pythons do not eat very often once they are adults. Many snakes only need to be fed every few weeks to keep them at a healthy body condition.
This makes them easier to care for than many other pets including all mammals. You don’t need to worry about exercise so long as you have enough decorations for your snake to climb on and explore.
Once you have a good enclosure set up, the vast majority of your snake’s needs are met.
You can offer extra enrichment such as carrying your snake around your home to experience new scents, but a good enclosure that you change up once a month will keep your pet healthy and mentally stimulated.
Snakes are also much less smelly and messy than other pets.
Only a very dirty enclosure or fresh feces will have a strong scent.
One of the best parts of buying a ball python is all the fun morphs or color and pattern variants available.
These snakes have been intensively selected to have a number of color and pattern variations called morphs. You can find everything from unique striping patterns like pinstripe to a rainbow of colors.
While these morphs tend to be pricey, you are guaranteed you will get a captive-bred snake that will handle captivity well. Take a look around and you are sure to find a snake you will love.
Losing a pet is a heart-breaking experience. When you put love and care into an animal, losing them hurts. A basic fact of humanity is how much love we put into the people and creatures around us.
Losing one can leave you feeling that empty space. Snakes are one of the best pets of you can’t handle losing animals often.
A ball python can live to be over 20 years old with good care.
There have been reports of ball pythons making it to 48 years of age. This means you won’t lose your pet anytime soon.
While the initial setup for a ball python can be pricey, maintenance costs are low.
Substrate is cheap and easy to buy in bulk. Most cleaners for maintaining reptile enclosures are also cheap. Food can be cheap if you feed frozen prey.
You can easily save money by stocking up on rats and only defrosting what you need to feed your pet. Since they eat so rarely as adults, it is also cheaper to feed them.
Vet costs can be lower as well. Snakes rarely get sick if you follow good hygiene practices and are careful to keep them in good conditions.
So long as you house your snake by itself and quarantine any new reptiles, you will not need to deal with many health concerns.
It is best to go to yearly checkups, but this is mainly to catch problems early when they are easy and cheap to fix.
Snakes like ball pythons make amazing pets.
Ball pythons in particular have great personalities that make them easier to care for if you don’t have experience with snakes.
If you ever want to own more challenging species, ball pythons can help teach you snake body language and how to keep them healthy and happy.
If you have any thoughts on ball pythons, please leave them below. If you have a question about ball pythons as pets, please leave a comment below.