Skip to content
Are Ball Pythons Good Pet Snakes for Beginners? | Zen Habitats

Are Ball Pythons Good Pet Snakes for Beginners? | Zen Habitats

Ball Python: The Ideal First Snake?

Are you wondering: Do Ball Pythons Make Good Pets? Or maybe thinking about bringing a ball python into your life? Ball pythons are undeniably popular beginner snakes. But are they the perfect fit for you? Maybe this is your first snake, or even your first reptile - You’ve come to the right place! Let's delve into the pros and cons of this charismatic constrictor.

Pros: The Gentle “Giants” of the Snake World

  • Docility: Ball pythons are renowned for their docile temperament. They are not quick to bite and tend to be forgiving with beginner handlers, making them ideal for gentle handling. Their teeth are small and relatively painless in comparison to other reptiles (namely, arboreal snakes), meaning even if you are bitten, it is more likely to hurt your ego than your skin.
  • Low Maintenance: Compared to other pets, ball pythons are a breeze. They require feeding once per week to once every month (depending on size and age), and their enclosures do not take up large amounts of space. They do not track mud in from outside on their paws, or need daily litterbox cleanings like some of the more traditional household pets, and you won’t catch them barking or chasing the mailman either! 
  • Manageable Size: Ball pythons typically grow to 3-5 feet, a comfortable size for most snake owners. To some, ball pythons may seem large compared to smaller snakes you encounter out in the garden, but their hefty body weight makes them appear larger than they really are. 
  • Visually Stunning: Breeders have created a dazzling array of color and pattern morphs, offering a ball python morph to suit every taste. In fact, ball pythons may have the most “phenotypic plasticity” of any animal in the world! Meaning their genes easily mutate over time to create new color and pattern variations. As a result, there are over 7,500 morphs in existence today, with more being discovered all of the time! Check out the Top 10 Most Popular Ball Python Morphs!

Cons: Not All Scales Are Created Equal

  • Picky Eaters: Some ball pythons can be fussy eaters, refusing frozen prey (their typical diet) and preferring live rodents. Thankfully, most can be switched over to frozen thawed with a bit of time and effort. Here is an article on helpful tips to switch your ball python to frozen thawed! 
  • Health Concerns: Ball pythons are susceptible to respiratory infections if their enclosure humidity isn't properly controlled. There are also several morphs of ball python that can cause genetic defects like neurological issues ( Spider morph ) or deformities ( Super Cinnamon ). Thankfully, these morphs can be avoided by educating yourself on problematic morphs and steering clear of purchasing animals with those morphs. 
  • Long-Term Commitment: These snakes can live for 20-30 years, so be prepared for a long-lasting pet. Alternatively, many ball pythons are available in rescue organizations or up for rehoming. Adopting an older ball python can be a way to enjoy these marvelous creatures without the 20+ year commitment of purchasing a baby snake. 
  • Not the Biggest Fan of Interaction: While docile, ball pythons aren't cuddly companions like dogs that will seek you out and follow you around all day. They may tolerate handling, but their main enjoyment comes from exploring their surroundings. Learn more about how to provide species appropriate enrichment here!

The Verdict: 

Ball pythons make fantastic first snakes for those who can provide proper care and research and prepare for the potential downsides. Their docile nature and manageable size are a plus. However, be prepared for potential feeding challenges and the responsibility of caring for a long-lived animal.

Beyond the Ball Python:

If the potential downsides of ball pythons seem like too much to handle, consider other beginner-friendly snakes like corn snakes or rosy boas. These snakes share many of the ball python's pros but might be less prone to feeding issues.

Ultimately, the best first snake is the one that you can confidently care for and appreciate. Do your research, and happy herping!

Here is a shopping list for products to look into before bringing home your ball python: Ball Python Ultimate Shopping List

New to ball pythons or want to up your knowledge? Check out our Ultimate Zen Guide on Ball Pythons! Over 90 pages of curated research and advanced keeper knowledge in one handy guide, all about ball pythons!

More Resources

Cart 0

Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping