Posted December 18th, 2011

Ball Python Care Sheet

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Ball Python, Python regius

There are many variations of feeding, husbandry and breeding protocols, These are the protocols practiced here at Roussis Reptiles that have helped us successfully maintain and reproduce these pythons.

Feeding: Usually begin feeding on mouse hoppers or fuzzy rats and start around 3 to 4 weeks after birth, typically after the first ecdydis (shed), which is usually 2-3 weeks after birth. Hide box recommended. Adults feed on live and frozen thawed medium rodents or large adult mice. Fresh water is always available and replaced twice a week.

Temp/Humidity Requirements: Ambient cage temperature in the spring and summer seasons are kept mid to high 80′s in the day, mid to high 70′s at night. A hot spot is provided under 1/3 of the enclosure reaching 90 to 100 degrees. These temperatures can be attained with the use of Flexwatt heat tape and any reliable thermostat. We use Helix Controls and Ranco thermostats. Under floor heating preferred. We prefer to keep the rear of the cage where the hide box and hot spot are on the damp or humid side.

Cage Setup: We individually house and breed our adult Ball Pythons in Freedom Breeder Racks, and although we have successfully maintained and bred these animals in Rubbermaid tubs in the past. We still maintain some Ball Pythons in melamine racks with Rubbermaid tubs, we find that excessive humidity and mold is a problem due to the lack of ventilation, in these cages we use aspen bedding which is drier than Cypress. The Freedom Breeder enclosures are 5″ deep, 27 inches long, and 14 inches wide. Our preferred substrate is 1 ½ to 2 inches of damp Cypress mulch, which can be sprayed once weekly, this helps keep humidity at appropriate levels, the open screen tops aid in proper evaporation and ventilation. The hide box offers a secure hiding spot, which aids in feeding and provides an area of increased humidity, which aids in shedding. We use disposable deli cups for water. The cups are disposed of weekly and replaced with new ones; this cuts down on the possibility of disease transmission and allows for quick and efficient maintenance.

Neonates are housed in Freedom Breeder 9′ x 18″ enclosures with a hide box and can easily out grow this space in as little as 6 months if fed heavily. The hide box offers a secure hiding spot, which aids in feeding and provides an area of increased humidity, which aids in shedding. We keep them on a thin layer of damp Cyrpress mulch and use disposable deli cups. The cups are replaced of weekly; this cuts down on the possibility of disease transmission and allows for quick and efficient maintenance.

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