Ball Python Keeping on a Budget

Donna Fernstrom
by Donna Fernstrom
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Reptile equipment can be expensive, but a simple setup for a ball python doesn't have to break the bank.

The following article will tell you how to put together a setup that will give your snake everything it requires for the least amount of money. This setup is actually superior to typical glass tank setups in terms of the health of your animal and the ease of care. It can also be used for other species with similar care requirements.

Bare Minimum Equipment Required

- A 41 quart clear Sterilite, Rubbermaid, or similar plastic blanket box will provide a suitable home for an adult ball python. You may also use a taller clear plastic latch box over 100 quarts, if you want to provide vertical space as well, though ball pythons are largely terrestrial. For a hatchling up to one year old, an 18 quart bin is recommended. From age 1 to 2, a 32 quart bin will provide ample space.

- Luggage padlocks or other small key locks, or strong clamps. Ball pythons are quite strong. They can injure themselves easily attempting to pry up the lid on a plastic bin and crawl through the gap, so the lid should be secured tightly and be impervious to being forced open or warped to provide an exit for a strong snake.

- A radiant heat source. This must be safe for use with a plastic bin. Shopping around online in reptile supply stores will give you a variety of options for heat pads that can be used with plastic cages (most such pads can only be used with glass, so shop carefully), or a heat rope.

- A thermostat or rheostat. This is an essential piece of equipment which should never be done without. It may be the most expensive purchase in the setup, but it is the most crucial for your pet's health and safety. A proportional thermostat of good quality, such as Herpstat or Helix, is best. An analog thermostat such as Big Apple Herp's BAH1000 is also a decent alternative. Rheostats should only be used in an environment where the room temperature stays very constant, night and day, throughout the year. Never use heating devices without a thermostat or rheostat, as most produce enough heat to burn the animal or cause it to overheat (which could prove deadly). A heat pad that seems to be producing the right amount of heat when you buy it can heat up much further as it ages.

- A water bowl deep enough for the snake to submerge in to soak.

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