When people think about getting a pet, they usually think of a cat or a dog, maybe even a guinea pig. Still, an increasing number of people are starting to take interest in more… well, scaly pets, such as snakes. Among the most common choices for such a companion is the ball python. But with a unique set of requirements, ball pythons are not the right pets for everyone. Humidity, for example, is one of the most important factors of every snake’s life. If you are a new snake owner or in need of advice, here are some key aspects when it comes to ball python humidity requirements.
What Is Humidity?
Humidity, in rough terms, is what we call the quantity of water present in the air. So let’s say we live in a rainy area — we call that a high humidity zone. Likewise, deserts are considered low humidity zones thanks to their lack of water in the air.
The difference between high and low humidity areas is highly noticeable. The former is described by its heavy, warm air — usually making us feel sticky. Meanwhile, the latter has very dry and rough air.
Ball Python Humidity
Ball pythons are native to west Sub-Saharan Africa — grasslands and savannas. As a result, their natural habitat has an average humidity range of 45–75% with highs of up to 90% and lows of down to 30%. Shedding, and overall health, are usually affected by those humidity levels.
The consensus is that the overall humidity of the enclosure should be around 50-60%. It’s also worth noting that during the shedding cycle, ball pythons need more humidity to help them get rid of that old coat. It’s also better to provide different levels of humidity — with 50% on the warm side of the tank and 70–90% on the cooler side. Usually, snakes don’t mind a bit too much humidity, but go too low and they are going to have a hard time shedding their skin.
Changing the water bowl is the first thing you should do in case you have high humidity problems. A smaller bowl will result in less water available to evaporate, meaning lower humidity levels overall. You can also improve ventilation. Creating holes and vents in your ball enclosure will allow the dry air to flow in, while also getting rid of the humid air. Similarly, a dehumidifier can help with the overall room humidity levels.
Likewise, if the air is too dry, a humidifier can help raise the humidity levels. Also, avoid using heat lamps as they will dry up the enclosure too much. Heat mats, on the other hand, provide heat from below. That makes sure that any moisture on the bottom evaporates, resulting in increased humidity levels.
Lastly, don’t ignore the importance of bedding. Changing it whenever it feels too damp will reduce humidity. In contrast, wetting it will result in higher humidity levels.
All in all, it’s important to know that ball pythons have a hard time adapting to new environments. As a result, we advise trying to mimic their natural habitat as much as possible. Ball python humidity is just a piece of the puzzle. However, with knowledge and commitment, the other shall fall into place.