ssscales February 17, 2013 5

Many times the mistake many new keepers make is they get their pet ball python and what is the 2nd thing that pet store sells them? Chances are a fish tank, screen top, probably a hot rock or heat lamp of sort, and a bag of bedding. Don’t worry, every single person that has every kept a snake very likely started in that very same spot or similar. We all had dozens of tanks as teenagers lining our bedrooms. I won’t go into everything IMO that is wrong with that picture as that would be a whole other section and how you keep your snake is your business.

What I will tell you is how I keep my Ball Pythons for optimum health and care. I have learned the best system for keeping many snakes or even a few snakes is in a rack set up. This is ideal unless you have a large snake that does better in a cage setting. For Ball Pythons there is no need for this and racks allow you to keep more snakes in the same square foot space. I use Vision racks but there are many rack systems out there that could work for you and your budget and you can always build your own and save a pretty penny! My Visions are heated with Heat cables at the back, but you can use Flexwatt to provide belly heat for your rack. I keep my ambient (room) temperature at 80-82F and provide a hot spot of 96F. Not saying this is the only way of doing this, but it’s my way….to each their own.

Here is how I keep hatchlings to appx 600g:
These are Vision hatchling tubs that you can find at Vision website, but you also use 6qt Rubbermaid or Sterilite tubs found at any Wal-Mart for $2.00. I like Vision tubs because they are made of thicker plastic and are more durable. I like to use shredded Aspen as bedding about 1/4″ thick laid in the bottom. Also use hide boxes for these I use flower pot saucers bought at any Wal-Mart or Home Depot for $0.49-$0.89. On water bowls I use to have plastic crock style dishes at $2.00-$5.00ea which I used for many years and had no complaints. Only problem was they required cleaning, disinfecting, and rinsing and when you have many snakes, this takes up a lot of time. For the past 6MO I have switched to using PVC couplers and disposable deli-cups $0.01-$0.02 and it has saved me a lot of time!! I use 2oz cups and 2″ PVC couplers (buy the ones with threads on the inside) for the hatchlings and 16oz cups and 4″ PVC couplers for the yearlings to adults. It’s pretty simple for example: I pay $0.01 per 2oz cup and buy about 5000 at a time. $0.01 times say even 100 babies = $1.00/wk. Times 200 babies $2.00/wk and so on. It is well worth it when you think of the time you save, water you save, etc. Of course, please RECYCLE these when disposing of them.

Yearling to sub-adults:
Here is keep Ball pythons from 600-1800g. This is a Vision V35 tub which is comparable to a Sterilite or Rubbermaid 28-32qt. Some times you will go from a 6qt tub, to 12qt tub (600-1000g) and then to this size tub (1000-2000g appx). It will vary depending on what you prefer and route you take but again this is my way. Again using shredded aspen at about 1/2″ laid at the bottom. On these I am using Neodesha Plastic hides which I like a lot. One the balls get to about 1000g I stopped using hides all together for the most part. Once again the disposable deli-cup and PVC combination for water. What I do is on Sunday I will replace the cups and add fresh water, on Wednesdays I will simply dump out the water and add fresh water…replacing the cup again on Sunday.

Adult females:
I will keep my males in the above tubs all their lives simply because I do not feed them as large as females. My males once they get to 1000g get one small (appx 75-80g) rat every 1-2wks depending on the time of year. Compared to my females will continue to expand on their sized meals into medium (125-175g) sized rats weekly as long as they are feeding. The below is a Vision V70 tub, similar in size to a Iris CB70 or Sterilite 41qt tub for example. Here I prefer to use Cypress Mulch, again just a matter of preference. You can use paper or aspen, depending on your rack, environment, system and needs, etc. Same 4″ PVC coupler and 16oz deli-cup as above. These cost me about $0.16ea and I buy 2000 at a time. Also buy these from Restaurant supply companies, Janitorial supply companies.

Hope this helps some of you and points you in a direction that better suits you and your needs.


  1. Chris james February 17, 2013 at 1:19 am -

    I think is great that your so willing to educate and help people (myself included ) not many people will take the time to help others so unselfishly so a big thanks to you bud! !!!!

  2. ssscales February 17, 2013 at 1:47 am -

    Thanks, I’m always glad to help whenever possible and hope others will do the same.

  3. Andrew Norris March 11, 2013 at 5:06 am -

    I am thinking of buying a BP. Since it would be my only one, I am not going to have a rack system. What type or brand name plastic tub do you reccomend. Also is there a problem with UTHs being used with plastic tubs.

  4. ssscales March 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm -

    Sterilite, Rubbermaid, Iris, Vision plastic tubs all are fine. No problems with Flexwatt to plastic, just use a Tstat and it will not get that hot.

  5. Abel April 1, 2014 at 3:49 pm -

    Hi,I recently switched my ball pythons over to a rack. I ordered it with belly heat. My question is,why would condensation build up around the whole entire tub? Is the heat strip getting too hot? Should I send the rack back to the maker or is it something I’m missing?thanks

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