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Ball Python

Experience Level: Intermediate

Ball Python in terrarium

Ball Pythons

Did you know? Ball Pythons are curious and docile by nature. In some parts of the world they are called “Royal Pythons.” In the United States, we call them “Ball Pythons” because they curl into a tight ball with their heads pulled into the center when nervous.

Ball Pythons originate from the grasslands and forests of Central and West Africa. Adult Ball Pythons should be housed individually.

(A) Use a 40-gallon (32-36" long) or larger terrarium for an adult Ball Python (a 20-gallon terrarium may be used for a juvenile Ball Python).

(B) Locking screened lid, if not included with habitat.

Step 1Choosing a Terrarium

Ball Pythons require a temperature gradient (cool side/warm side) to appropriately regulate their body temperature. Temperatures within the habitat should also vary between daytime and nighttime hours. 


  • Equip the habitat with (C) two thermometers (one on each side of habitat) and (D) one hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels.
  • Heat is provided by a (E) high-wattage heat bulb placed directly above the basking spot and should be the warmest point in the habitat during the day. Turn the basking light off during the evening.
  • Use a ceramic heat emitter, under-tank heater or night heat lamp as needed to maintain nighttime temperatures.
Target Range
Humidity 30-50%
Day-Cool Side 80-85° F (27-29° C)
Day-Warm Side 90° F (32° C)
Night 70-80° F (21-27° C)



Step 2Heating & Lighting

Ball python in terrarium

New surroundings and environments can be stressful for reptiles. Prior to handling your pet, give him 3-4 days to adjust to his new surroundings while monitoring his behavior for any signs of stress or illness. Shortly after purchase, ask a veterinarian familiar with reptiles to examine your pet.

• Runny droppings for more than two days

• Eating or drinking less; weight loss

• Swollen joints

• Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth

• Shedding problems; discolored skin

• Avoidance of the basking area; more time spent hiding

If you notice any of the above signs, speak with a PetSmart store associate or reptile veterinarian with questions about the health of your pet.

Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program; a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets.

The program includes:
• Specific standards our vendors agree to meet in caring for and observing pets for common illnesses.

• Specific standards for in-store pet care.

• The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.