If you’ve ever taken a moment to browse the variety of small companions offered at your local pet store, you’ve probably seen at least one ball python up for grabs.
After all, they’re one of the MOST common species of pet snakes (opens in a new tab) and for good reasons.
Whether you are trying to figure out if a ball python will make the right pet for you and your situation, or you’d like to convince the people you live with that they have absolutely no reason to dislike ball pythons, you’ve come to the right place!
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Reason #1: Low Maintenance
One of the biggest perks of owning a ball python, or any snake, is their low maintenance requirements.
They typically only eat and defecate once a week or less. Plus, you don’t have to worry about training them, exercising them, grooming them, keeping them busy, or even giving them attention.
On the flip side, while some snakes may stress out from too much handling, ball pythons are remarkably adaptable and agreeable pets.
You can be as hands-on or as hands-off as you’d like to be, within reason, of course.
Ball pythons can happily live their entire lives without ever being handled, or you can handle them (almost) every day – as long as they haven’t had a meal recently.
With a ball python, you won’t have to spend hours or lots of dollar bills on traditional pet things like DIY training or training classes, DIY nail trims and hair clippings or expensive grooming sessions, and daily exercise and mental stimulation.
Snakes aren’t capable of feeling love in the same way other animals can, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come home after a long day, relax, and watch as your chill little dude cruises his enclosure. Good luck trying that with a hyperactive puppy or a hungry cat!
Reason #2: Cleanliness
The cleanliness of ball pythons ties in with the low maintenance factor, and it’s pretty self-explanatory.
With most mammalian pets, you have to worry about daily waste clean-up, odors, shedding fur, indoor accidents, vomit on your favorite rug, litter particles spread around the house, dog slobber on your windows. These issues are either drastically reduced or non-existent with a pet ball python.
- No extra vacuuming.
- No extra window cleaning.
- No surprise accidents in your home.
You won’t have to worry about fur making an unwelcome appearance which means you can confidently wear white clothes, black clothes, or any color you’d like!
And perhaps the best part? Once a week poop clean-up, if that.
On a side note, it’s even believed that ball python poo has a less offensive odor than the poo of many other types of snake. Need we say more?
Reason #3: Small Size
“Absolutely not, those things are dangerous!”
Was that your parent or roommate’s first reaction when you mentioned getting a pet ball python?
Many people that aren’t familiar with snake keeping immediately imagine the headlines about snake owners being killed by their giant Burmese or reticulated python when someone mentions a pet snake.
Luckily, ball pythons stay much too small to cause significant injury to any human being – even young children can safely handle these snakes.
Their maximum length is six feet, and that is the exception, not the rule. The average size for an adult ball python is three to five feet, and they take a few years to reach those proportions.
Thanks to their reasonable size, babies can comfortably be housed in a ten-gallon aquarium, and adults can live in a forty-gallon aquarium, although larger sizes are recommended.
These tanks have an equivalent or even a much smaller footprint in your house than a dog crate or cat tower, and the snake won’t be roaming your home to take up space either.
⭐️ Fun Fact: Did you know, ball pythons are one of the rare species in which the females tend to be larger than the male? Female ball pythons generally average 3 to 5 feet in length whereas their male counterparts average 2 to 3 feet in size.
Reason #4: Convenient and Affordable to Feed
Here’s another bonus to the user-friendly size of a ball python: they don’t eat huge prey items. Imagine having to feed your pet a whole rabbit, or even a whole pig.
Even with a dog or cat, you can look forward to lugging large bags of kibble and litter. Plus, premium pet kibble can get rather expensive.
As babies, ball pythons eat one mouse or rat once a week, then only every two weeks as adults.
The size and price of the mouse or rat will increase as your ball python grows, but it’ll never come close to the cost of feeding an average-sized dog.
Reason #5: Low Veterinary Bills
Ball pythons don’t require vaccinations, monthly parasite prevention, annual bloodwork, routine dental cleanings, spaying or neutering, or even yearly visits.
Unnecessary veterinary visits can also cause more harm than good by stressing your pet out.
Some people still choose to bring their ball python in for an annual physical exam and fecal exam to check for parasites such as snake mites.
This is fine, and it can be beneficial to stay on the safe side. However, it is by no means necessary, and that small annual workup will still not compare to the routine veterinary bills for a dog or cat.
The only exception to this is if your snake gets sick. Your ball python will need an experienced reptile veterinarian, and they may (or may not) charge more than a small animal veterinarian.
This will vary quite a bit, depending on where you live. Still, snakes get sick at a much lower frequency than most other pets.
Reason #6: Pleasant Demeanor
Many people who are afraid of snakes are fearful of being bitten.
It’s true: Anything with teeth can bite, but surprisingly ball pythons are known for their shy, calm demeanor.
Most ball pythons would rather curl up in a ball to hide than bite somebody. In fact, studies have shown that ball pythons experience virtually no stress when being handled for brief periods of time.
Instances of bites among ball pythons are quite rare. Even when it does happen, it isn’t painful and rarely requires medical treatment.
Of course, animals’ temperaments vary on an individual basis.
It’s always a good idea to handle the snake that you’re going to buy before you make your decision. Otherwise, you could end up with one of the very few feisty ball pythons.
However, if you’re looking to adopt a python with a lower strike rate, consider ball pythons a great choice.
Reason #7: Interesting
We get it: sometimes, the idea of having a pet that is unique, rare, or interesting is simply appealing. Not everyone wants an ordinary dog or cat, and that’s okay.
Ball pythons are an excellent middle ground.
There are much rarer, and exotic species of snakes and other animals that someone could potentially acquire, but ball pythons are just on the cusp between “common pets” and “unique pets.”
The most significant advantage of this is that there is still a great deal of information and experience regarding proper husbandry. There are no guessing games or shots in the dark.
Additionally, the prevalence of ball pythons as compared to more rare species of snakes often, unfortunately, means they can wind up in a shelter or rescue.
If your motto is “Adopt, Don’t Shop,” you might be pleasantly surprised to find out that you can avoid purchasing from a breeder and pet store. Adoption from your local reptile or animal shelter can be an option.
Reason #8: Long-Lived
Most long-time pet owners can agree that the biggest drawback to owning most pets is their short lifespan.
Ten years, give or take, simply never feels like enough time with our beloved little pals.
If you take good care of your ball python and acquire it as a baby, you can easily expect to spend the next twenty or more years of your life with it.
And they will usually be a healthy twenty years – ball pythons are not prone to the end-of-life maladies that plague our mammalian pets, like organ failure and joint disease.
Reason #9: Beauty and Variety
Like you might pick out a specific breed of dog or cat, or browse all of the pets in a shelter to pick the one that you find cutest, ball pythons come in a surprisingly vast array of colors and patterns.
Do you fancy white or black? Stripes or speckles? Red eyes or black eyes? There’s bound to be a ball python morph that’s perfect for you.
Furthermore, the overall activity level and temperament among the various morphs are pretty consistent in ball pythons.
In fact, the only difference you might find is a slight increase for specific genetic disorders that arises from artificial breeding. However, care and personality will remain the same from morph to morph.
Imagine falling in love with the blue eyes or beautiful coat of a husky, only to find out that they wouldn’t fit into your family or lifestyle. This isn’t a problem with ball pythons.
As long as you already made sure that a ball python is a good fit for you, you can fall in love with a blue-eyed ball python, or a black and white ball python, or a scaleless ball python.
The ONLY factor that a ball python’s appearance changes are the purchase price and availability.
Wrapping Up Why Ball Pythons Make Great Pets
There is no perfect pet for anyone. Everyone’s situation and expectations vary too much for that to be a reality.
Still, it seems that the reasons ball pythons do make great pets far outnumber the reasons they may not make great pets for someone.
In fact, compared to almost any other pet, they’re:
- Easier to take care of
- Not as messy
- More affordable
- Live longer
- Less space-consuming
- Simply cooler!
Hopefully, you’ve received all of the information you need to make an educated decision – or the required ammunition to convince your parent, partner, or roommate to get on board with your pet of choice.
Good luck and happy snake shopping!