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Before you bring home a ball python, you should have his terrarium set up and ready to go. So what kind of home will your new snake need? And how much are you willing to spend on it?
A 30-gallon long terrarium is an appropriate size for the average adult ball python. A long terrarium will have a larger amount of floor space than a regular one, giving your snake more room to move around. Regardless of the size you choose, a terrarium should always be long enough to allow the snake to stretch out with no part of his body touching any side of the glass.
Snakes are escape artists. They can maneuver their bodies through just about any opening and have even been known to open cages. A terrarium must have a sturdy, heavy-duty lock to prevent escape.
The bottom of your ball python’s terrarium should be covered with a substrate (bedding). Paper towels (dry and not colored), pine shavings, wood chips, bark mulch, or recycled newspaper are good options. Cedar shavings should not be used, as they can affect the lungs and cause skin blisters. Anything used as a substrate must be absorbent to keep odors to a minimum. It also must be large enough to not stick to food items and be accidentally ingested.
Just like humans, ball pythons sometimes need a little privacy. To make sure your ball python has a place to hide, you will need to supply his with at least one hide box. It should be large enough for your snake to be able to curl up in it, but it shouldn’t be too big or it will make him feel insecure. A variety of hide boxes are available, including ceramic boxes and small, hollowed logs.
Every terrarium should also contain a water bowl. In addition to being a source of hydration for your snake, ball pythons like to soak in their water bowls. Make sure that it is heavy enough that it won’t flip over if he tries to slither into it or over it. Also, keep an eye on the bowl and change the water as soon as it looks the least bit dirty, even if that means changing it two or three times a day.
How much will you spend on a terrarium for your ball python? There are tanks and accessories available for a wide range of prices. How much you spend will really only be determined by your own budget.
For more information, read Quick & Easy Ball Python Care (T.F.H. Publications, Inc.).