Ball Python enclosure questions.

Halgeir

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
157
Greetings.

I've been thinking of getting a snake and been checking out the different species that I've been recommended. The end result was either a Cornsnake/Ratsnake or a Ball Python and I found out that I really prefer Ball Pythons. I've kept different tarantulas and scorpions earlier, but never a reptile. From what I've read on different forums and on different care sheets etc, Ball Pythons can be a little tricky with requirements (please correct me if anything I say is wrong) with their temperature and humidity needs. So I've been wondering how to make the best enclosure for my future Ball Python.
My first concern is that since I'm making the enclosure first, then getting the snake, I don't know if he/she will be a juvenile or adult. And I've heard that Ball Pythons shouldn't have a too large enclosure, but not a too small one either, so what to do? Do I have to build two? Or can I build one that will be big enough for it when it's adult too (if I'm getting a juvenile) ?
I thought about making the enclosure 1 meter long, 50 cm high and 50 cm deep, but I don't know if this will be too big for a juvenile?

Then it's how to build the enclosure. I thought of using wood and glass. Make a frame of wood, front and the sides with glass and the backside of wood. And a lid at the top with ventilation (something like this, I apologize for my terrible googlesketchup skills: http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m100/Halgeir/terrariumtest.jpg ). But then the question about humidity comes, I need to use something on the wood so it won't expand/rot, is varnish a good idea? Or will the humidity go through it?
While I'm on the humidity part, do I need a fogger? Or can I just spray it daily? I've read they need 60-90% humidity, but it's not very specific, what's the perfect humidity level?

Lightning, I thought of using some spotlights, but they generate a lot of heat, so I don't know if it's a good idea since I'm going to use a heatpad (think that's the right word). My other thought was a "light pipe" (I forgot the English word, long tube of light. You know what I mean) that doesn't produce any heat. I read somewhere that I didn't UV light or anything like that, I could use ordinary light because Ball Pythons are nocturnal, or something that like that, ordinary light is ok?

As substrate, is the reptibark good? Or should I use potting soil?

I will probably have more questions, but I can't think of more at the moment.

I apologize if there are earlier threads that has answered the same questions, I tried to search and I read the ones I found that were about Ball Pythons and their requirements/housing.
Also, pardon my choice of words, my English vocabulary ain't that good.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thread.
 

Mina

Arachnoking
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Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
2,136
Well, the size of the enclosure depends on the size of the snake. You need to decided what size of snake you are getting first.
Then you need to go to Ball pythons.net. Its a board, just like this one, but all about ball pythons. There are care sheets and lots of people to answer questions. They were a huge help to me when I got my BP a year ago.
Basically, yes, they need higher humidity and heat than a cornsnake. Most of the people on the boards use aspen as a bedding. Personally, I don't like it, I prefer coconut bedding. I like the way it holds humidity better and it does not compact down like the aspen does. You need a water dish large enough for the snake to fit into, two hides, a heat pad, a temperature and humidity gauge.
You need to decide if you are buying or breeding your feeders, and then decide if you are feeding live, or frozen thawed. Even if you feed live, you must stun the prey first before giving it to the snake. Snakes can be seriously injured by biting, scratching prey. Yes, I know in the wild no one knocks their rats on the head for them before they eat, but I refuse to take that chance with my pet. Hope that helps, check out the site, it will help too.
 

jr47

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
597
i kept mine in a 29 gallon tall fish tank. one hide, a large water bowl for soaking. heat lamps are not good. they dry out everything. i always used moist heating pads, the kind you get at the drug store. hung them in one end of the tank. the pads are great for keeping humidity up. i used them for ten years with no mishaps. and i was lazy and used newspaper. easy to clean up when they poo. but i had a few and keeping all the tanks clean was just much easier with newspaper.
they are really easy to keep. only problem i ever had was food. they are very good at being picky about what they eat. had a female for 9 years that wouldnt touch a rat unless it was solid white. she also went 12 months without eating once.
 

K-TRAIN

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 7, 2006
Messages
359
Greetings.

I've been thinking of getting a snake and been checking out the different species that I've been recommended. The end result was either a Cornsnake/Ratsnake or a Ball Python and I found out that I really prefer Ball Pythons. I've kept different tarantulas and scorpions earlier, but never a reptile. From what I've read on different forums and on different care sheets etc, Ball Pythons can be a little tricky with requirements (please correct me if anything I say is wrong) with their temperature and humidity needs. So I've been wondering how to make the best enclosure for my future Ball Python.
My first concern is that since I'm making the enclosure first, then getting the snake, I don't know if he/she will be a juvenile or adult. And I've heard that Ball Pythons shouldn't have a too large enclosure, but not a too small one either, so what to do? Do I have to build two? Or can I build one that will be big enough for it when it's adult too (if I'm getting a juvenile) ?
I thought about making the enclosure 1 meter long, 50 cm high and 50 cm deep, but I don't know if this will be too big for a juvenile?

Then it's how to build the enclosure. I thought of using wood and glass. Make a frame of wood, front and the sides with glass and the backside of wood. And a lid at the top with ventilation (something like this, I apologize for my terrible googlesketchup skills: http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m100/Halgeir/terrariumtest.jpg ). But then the question about humidity comes, I need to use something on the wood so it won't expand/rot, is varnish a good idea? Or will the humidity go through it?
While I'm on the humidity part, do I need a fogger? Or can I just spray it daily? I've read they need 60-90% humidity, but it's not very specific, what's the perfect humidity level?

Lightning, I thought of using some spotlights, but they generate a lot of heat, so I don't know if it's a good idea since I'm going to use a heatpad (think that's the right word). My other thought was a "light pipe" (I forgot the English word, long tube of light. You know what I mean) that doesn't produce any heat. I read somewhere that I didn't UV light or anything like that, I could use ordinary light because Ball Pythons are nocturnal, or something that like that, ordinary light is ok?

As substrate, is the reptibark good? Or should I use potting soil?

I will probably have more questions, but I can't think of more at the moment.

I apologize if there are earlier threads that has answered the same questions, I tried to search and I read the ones I found that were about Ball Pythons and their requirements/housing.
Also, pardon my choice of words, my English vocabulary ain't that good.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thread.

i never worried about lights, heat, and stuff like that, just that they have room to roam around. i have a ball python i bought at the hamburg show in pa and its healthy. i keep her in a lees herp keeper (the real long one) with cocobark and a exoterra rock hide. for water, i have a pottery bowl i made myself. thats really all you need for a small ball python (mines about 1 1/2 feet long by the way). if you want to measure temp, humidity, etc, your wasting money in my opinion. room temperatures fine for
them. also, my cousin has a adult. he keeps it in a 20g long. without any heat source, just an aquarium light.

i hope that helps.
-K-TRAIN
 

Bear Foot Inc

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
408
No offence or anything but temps and humidity is a BIG part of the snakes health!!!!! People often are given bad advice just so the seller can sell a snake and i think that is very low and bad!
It does not need to be perfect but it needs to be in the 85*F range on the hot side and room temp on the cold side. Humidity needs only be around 50% 70%+ will give your snake upper resp and could kill it. You NEED a thermometer and you can get a good digital one at walmart for a few dollars. The best way to heat is with a UTH (under tank heater) since ball pythons dont need to bask and light can stress them out. If you use a heat light make sure they have good hides. A 20 long is fine till they are adult and then you should move up to a 30. And a 10 gallon is good for a baby. You can build a custom cage too.
feel free to PM me with any other questions. Have fun with it.
~Samuel
 

Midnightrdr456

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
1,088
K-Train that is horrible advice to give. Balls need to be kept at about 82-85 or so ambient temps, with a warm side of 90 or so to bask in. They need about 50-65% humidity (this will be dependent on your location, if you live somplace dry aim for a bit higher humidity).

And adult ball python absolutely can NOT be kept in a 20 gallon long. Thats a horrible way to keep it. Adult balls can get anywhere from 4-6' long usually. They should have an enclosure thats roughly 3-4' long by 20-24" wide (height isnt a huge deal, if its 12"+ its fine).

They can be kept in the biggest enclosure as a baby if you want, just provide it with enough hides so it feels secure.

Lastly if your going to be keeping it on substrate (i use newspaper for my snakes) dont feed on it, swallowing substrate can lead to problems.
 

Mushroom Spore

Arachnoemperor
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 14, 2005
Messages
4,596
i never worried about lights, heat, and stuff like that...thats really all you need for a small ball python (mines about 1 1/2 feet long by the way). if you want to measure temp, humidity, etc, your wasting money in my opinion. room temperatures fine for them. also, my cousin has a adult. he keeps it in a 20g long. without any heat source, just an aquarium light.
You and your cousin both are out of your freaking minds. :wall: Good luck with the respiratory infections, shedding problems, digestion problems, and quite probable death of your animal. These snakes are notoriously sensitive to bad husbandry, and sicken very easily when kept badly. And you are keeping them badly.

OP, if you've read the previous ball python threads, you already know all the advice I have to give. I'm sick today and just don't have the energy to write it out again. :8o Mainly I just want to say, don't listen to K-Train, he has no clue what he's talking about.
 

Halgeir

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
157
Hello guys and girls.

Thanks alot for the different advices and comments.

Though there are some questions that didn't get answered. Like, is varnish good enough to use on the wood so it doesn't rot? Should I use something else then wood?
1meter long, 50cm high and 50 cm deep is good for an adult?
Did the horrible sketch (the link) look like an OK idea for the enclosure?

Cheers
 

K-TRAIN

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 7, 2006
Messages
359
K-Train that is horrible advice to give. Balls need to be kept at about 82-85 or so ambient temps, with a warm side of 90 or so to bask in. They need about 50-65% humidity (this will be dependent on your location, if you live somplace dry aim for a bit higher humidity).

And adult ball python absolutely can NOT be kept in a 20 gallon long. Thats a horrible way to keep it. Adult balls can get anywhere from 4-6' long usually. They should have an enclosure thats roughly 3-4' long by 20-24" wide (height isnt a huge deal, if its 12"+ its fine).

They can be kept in the biggest enclosure as a baby if you want, just provide it with enough hides so it feels secure.

Lastly if your going to be keeping it on substrate (i use newspaper for my snakes) dont feed on it, swallowing substrate can lead to problems.
You and your cousin both are out of your freaking minds. :wall: Good luck with the respiratory infections, shedding problems, digestion problems, and quite probable death of your animal. These snakes are notoriously sensitive to bad husbandry, and sicken very easily when kept badly. And you are keeping them badly.

OP, if you've read the previous ball python threads, you already know all the advice I have to give. I'm sick today and just don't have the energy to write it out again. :8o Mainly I just want to say, don't listen to K-Train, he has no clue what he's talking about.
look. dont tell me im out of my freaking mind, i dont know what im talkin about, etc. i know people who have raised snakes all their lives like the way i raise mine. sure, it seems bad. but it isnt. i know how to raise animals and mine will probably live longer then normal.
 

dark FrOsT

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
8
hey im new to this site, but i have been working with snakes for a while now. i didnt really read all the post regarding this topic cause there was a lot of arguing (sp?) i have a ball python. if you get a baby BP or one around 1 foot you can keep it in a 10-15 gal tank. i found that they do better in smaller enclosures. if your thinking of getting a sub-adult the enclosure your thinging of building seems fine. as for misting, i only mist ever 3rd day or so. for lights i use uvb lights cause i have live plants in the enclosure, but i use them in all my tanks cause i figure they get it in the wild. heating i use a undertank heater and on cooler days i also add and heat lamp. i know ppl that dont use heat lamps or pads unless its for a desert species. thats because they have snake rooms. if you dont have a temp controlled room made for reptiles i wouldnt recomend not using a heat source. i guess unless you lived in a hot place geographicly (sp?) then it might work. for substrate i use zoo med forest bark, and have a large water bowl and a cave as a hide box. sorry if this post kinda drags on
 

Bear Foot Inc

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
408
look. dont tell me im out of my freaking mind, i dont know what im talkin about, etc. i know people who have raised snakes all their lives like the way i raise mine. sure, it seems bad. but it isnt. i know how to raise animals and mine will probably live longer then normal.
Your snake might not die but it is bad advice, so please dont give it to people who dont know what is right and might follow it :embarrassed:
If you want to say this is how i do it and it works for me thats one thing but please dont say it is if its the best and only way.

Snakes can live in many diferint environments but not alwais healthily and a slight upper respiratory infection that normally they could have fought off on there own could turn into lower resp and kill them or make for a $200 vet bill...

~Samuel
 

Halgeir

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
157
hey im new to this site, but i have been working with snakes for a while now. i didnt really read all the post regarding this topic cause there was a lot of arguing (sp?) i have a ball python. if you get a baby BP or one around 1 foot you can keep it in a 10-15 gal tank. i found that they do better in smaller enclosures. if your thinking of getting a sub-adult the enclosure your thinging of building seems fine. as for misting, i only mist ever 3rd day or so. for lights i use uvb lights cause i have live plants in the enclosure, but i use them in all my tanks cause i figure they get it in the wild. heating i use a undertank heater and on cooler days i also add and heat lamp. i know ppl that dont use heat lamps or pads unless its for a desert species. thats because they have snake rooms. if you dont have a temp controlled room made for reptiles i wouldnt recomend not using a heat source. i guess unless you lived in a hot place geographicly (sp?) then it might work. for substrate i use zoo med forest bark, and have a large water bowl and a cave as a hide box. sorry if this post kinda drags on
Hello and thanks for the advices. I'm planning to use an undertank heater.

Another thing, I found a seller that sells an 4-5 year old BP male. I'm thinking of buying this one.

Bear Foot Inc, Scorpdemon, Mushroomspore and K-TRAIN, please stop arguing. I'm not after that.

And just to it's said. I live in Norway, where all reptiles are forbidden, in other words - I have close to zero chance to get a reptile to a vet. And yes, it raises a lot of argument about if I should have a reptile or not, since I can't provide it with 100% medical help if needed, but that can be discusses in some other thread.
 

Arietans

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 14, 2006
Messages
288
The best you can do is learn from its natural history. Its cage setup with temps and humidity should be similar to the area in which it is found :)
 

EAD063

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 3, 2006
Messages
1,415
Hello and thanks for the advices. I'm planning to use an undertank heater.

Another thing, I found a seller that sells an 4-5 year old BP male. I'm thinking of buying this one.

Bear Foot Inc, Scorpdemon, Mushroomspore and K-TRAIN, please stop arguing. I'm not after that.

And just to it's said. I live in Norway, where all reptiles are forbidden, in other words - I have close to zero chance to get a reptile to a vet. And yes, it raises a lot of argument about if I should have a reptile or not, since I can't provide it with 100% medical help if needed, but that can be discusses in some other thread.
Hal,

I can give you a very unbiased anwser to your question, seeings I'm not a snake owner, but know a few. I know they need good husbandry, a realtive of mine had about 5 of them, and there was an ice storm which left the state of Maine immobile, without power and in a state of emergency for some time. They lost power in the morning and by the night the snakes were all dead/almost dead and motionless. Although this is extreme, it goes to show how easily they're health can degrade in bad conditions. He didn't have a completly soaked enclosure, but he did have a solid top to restrict ventilation and misted/changed out the enclosure everyday. On the other had, I have another realitive (both are adults, over 35 by the way) who kept one on newspaper, screen top and no moisture except for the water dish, it died about 2 years after he got it and didn't get nearly as large as any of the snakes my other realitive kept, who has been keeping ever since I was a child. So I would definently listen to everyone who reccomends humidity and good heat. Remember also these are COLD BLOODED creatures, meaning they NEED heat to regulate they're metabolism. (Im sure you know, but I wanted to add it) Not monitoring heat/humidity is basically reckless, and anyone who feels that way belongs sleeping on railroad tracks for a few laughs, not killing..I mean keeping* animals.

PS, varnishing the wood should be fine, I've seen many enclosures done that way, just use descretion to find a kind that seems least caustic.
Another PS, I would just disregard the arguing, scorp,mushroom and bear are all good dudes, they are just looking out for your best interest, plus the person in question is a juvenile, so his expirence is absoultly limited compared to the more frequent and knowledgable contributors to the website. I know I was always looking for a fight when I was 16. Kids, lol.
 
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Halgeir

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
157
Thank you for your respond EAD063.

My final conclution is that I need to be very careful about temperature and humidity, in other words, keep a heat pad, get both heat and humidity monitors. I will also make the enclosure size 120x50x50 cm in wood/glass since the BP I'm buying is aprox 1 meter long.

Thank you all for your tips and suggestions. I will post again when I've built the enclosure and gotten the snake or if I run into some building problems along the way.

Once again, thanks guys for your time and effort into helping me.
 

Bear Foot Inc

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
408
Sound like you are going to have a healthy snake!! Good luck with it. Feel free to ask any other questions you might have,
~Samuel
 

ScorpDemon

ArachnoScorpion
Old Timer
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Jun 5, 2005
Messages
595
Don't forget the pictures.. there must always be pictures.
I'm too lazy to post em, so I don't post when I get new animals anymore.. lol
 

Midnightrdr456

Arachnoprince
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Jan 17, 2006
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1,088
i actually wouldnt use wood if you can. It can be used successfully but can also lead to problems (plus its harder to clean). I forget the name of the material but you can purchase something and stores like Home Depot (they have those in Norway?) its very similar to plastic material, and they can cut it for you there to the sizes needed.

Wood will work but make sure its 100% treated or it can lead to problems. Best of luck with your new addition when you get it!
 

Avic_Addict

Arachnosquire
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Apr 2, 2007
Messages
84
I thought of using wood and glass. Make a frame of wood, front and the sides with glass and the backside of wood.
Hi there!

When building your viv I would strongly recommend not using glass for anything except the door at the front of the viv. The rest (walls, floor, ceiling) should be constructed of wood which can be sealed using one or two coats of good quality non-toxic yatch varnish (examples of good vivs for royals at www.vivbuilder.co.uk). The reasons for not using glass are:

1) Royals are very shy and prone to agraphobia, hence them not liking vivs that are too big. A royal kept in a viv built largely of glass would feel very exposed and vulnerable, leading to stress and a refusal to eat. By making the walls solid, you will make the snake feel much more secure and happier in its environment.

2) Glass does not hold heat as well as wood, making it very difficult to maintain correct temperatures within the enclosure which can lead to a sick snake and a lot of money wasted on electricity.

3) Glass expands rapidly when heated and so there is always a risk of it cracking and injuring your animal.

4) Excess glass in an enclosure can lead to the development of an abnormal behaviour called ITB (Interaction with Transparant Boundaries) in which the reptile becomes increasingly distressed and rubs its face against the glass until it is bloody and raw. This is a stereotypic behaviour (in the same class as the abnormal pacing back and forth behaviours seen in big cats in zoos or circuses) and is defined by animal behaviourists as a sign of mental abnormality.

Also, I must stress that heatmats and hotrocks must be avoided at all costs when housing royals. They are a type of boid (class of heavy-bodied snakes including pythons, anacondas and boas) and will easily burn themselves without realising on any form of ground-level heating. I have had to deal with more royals with thermal burns from heatmats than I care to remember, and the damage can be devestating.

Instead, I would recommend a heat-plate or ceramic heater (with reflector, heat resistant holder and safety cage) for large enclosures of say, 36 inches by 24 inches, and infra-red basking bulbs with safety cage for smaller vivaria. Obviously all heaters must be run on thermostats.

One last thing; - Please, please please DON'T feed your snakes on live rodent prey. I know it is common in the USA and many people swear that it is healthier/more natural for the snake but it can be so very dangerous. Again, it is sadly one of those things that I have seen in surgery too many times - the snake doesnt eat for whatever reason, and ends up being attacked by the rodent resulting in horrific injuries or even death of the snake. It can happen in just a flash and even those people who say 'Oh its ok, I always supervise at feeding times so the snake doesn't get hurt' aren't doing their animals any favours as it only takes a split second for a rat to sink its teeth into the snakes eyeball.

The pics in this post (about halfway down the page) should be enough to convince anyone that feeding live prey is not in the interests of the snake (ask any reptile vet if you need further proof).

http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/snakes/22911-making-live-feeding-safer-2.html


Anyway, sorry to have gone on. I hope this helps - keep us updated and don't be afraid to ask questions!
 
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