For humans, the right temperature usually boils down to personal preference. That’s not the case when it comes to snakes, though, as temperature affects their overall health. Ball pythons, for example, simply don’t function like they should when exposed to too much or not enough heat. Setting up the enclosure might be confusing for new owners as getting it right requires a bit of knowledge. No matter why you are here, we’ll try to help you understand all about the proper temperature for ball python.
Ball Python Temperature
Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles, meaning that they get all their required heat from the environment. In the case of improper heating and inconsistent humidity levels, they tend to stop eating and then go inactive. That is the main reason maintaining a proper enclosure temperature is so important.
Ball pythons are native to Africa and can be found in grasslands and savannas. As a result, the temperature they thrive in averages between 68–86°F, with spikes up to 96°F. It’s worth noting that ball pythons enjoy borrows with much lower and more stable temperatures — 72–80°F mostly.
All of that means that snake owners should create a thermal gradient in the pet’s enclosure — with warmer and cooler areas. Start with a warm side, with an average surface temperature of 95–100°F, and gradually lower it to 75°F tops. When it comes to night time, the average temperature for ball python can be around 75°F.
It’s important to know that air temperature and surface temperature are not one and the same. While the air might feel mild, the surface temperature could be much hotter.
The first thing any ball python owner should do is to keep track of all enclosure temperatures. The surface temperature can be measured using an infrared thermometer. Meanwhile, use a normal digital thermometer for air temperature measurements. Keep in mind that the air temperature should never go over 95°F. In case you have trouble raising the heat in the enclosure, there are some devices that could help you.
Heating pads and lamps are just a few of the devices that can help with temperature issues. When choosing between the two, it’s important to know that both of them affect humidity. If the enclosure is already somewhat dry, using a heating lamp will make things worse. The heating pad is the ideal solution as it provides heat from below. As a result, it only changes the surface temperature and not the air. Place the pad under the substrate in the warm area for the best results. Make sure to also use a thermostat, as some heating pads tend to overheat.
A radiant heat panel is another product similar to heat pads. Thanks to its placement on top of the tank, a radiant heat panel will distribute heat evenly. As with the pads, it’s important to use a thermostat that will regulate the temperature of the heat panel.
Important: Avoid heat rocks at all costs as they are dangerous and could hurt your hissing friend.
Overall, snakes can make for some exotic, long-term companions. Researching the proper temperature for ball python is just the start of the journey. We recommend looking up humidity next as it’s usually tied to the enclosure temperature. In the end, while owning a snake is hard work, try to make it easier by listening to your hissing friend.