Ball pythons are cold-blood reptiles and some people keep them in their homes as pets. Cold-blooded animals use outside sources of heat to raise their body temperature as their bodies are unable to directly keep their bodies warm, therefore it is up to you to make sure that your pet has the optimal temperatures necessary for its survival.
So, do ball pythons need a heat lamp? Ball pythons do not need heat lamps to warm their bodies, but they need a heat source. Heat lamps provide basking heat perfect for reptiles like lizards. Ball pythons warm their bodies by positioning their bellies on a warm surface like a heat mat pad. In the wild, ball pythons warm their bodies by staying close to the ground underneath trees and bushes. In captivity, ball pythons need a warm habitat to raise their body temperature.
The ball python is the most popular pet python in the world. One important thing to note before choosing a ball python as a pet is their temperature needs. Keep on reading to find out more about temperatures that can kill your ball python, how long they can go without a heat lamp, and the type of light a ball python needs.
Keeping an eye on the temperature of a snake’s habitat is an important part of taking care of it. You can tell the mood of the snake by its surrounding temperature. Snakes tend to be inactive during the cold and highly active during a hot spell.
Freezing temperatures and very hot temperatures can be fatal to a ball python. Snakes, in general, do not like areas with cold temperatures. Ball pythons are native to central and western Africa, regions that experience warm weather throughout the year. A ball python will raise its temperature by resting on its belly on warm ground in the wild. If the ground becomes too hot, the python will move to a cold place to cool off.
If you leave your snake in freezing temperatures and cannot find any warmth, you can find it dead the next morning. Ball pythons need a habitat that has a temperature between 90 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures higher than that could lead to serious burns. If your ball python cannot find a cool spot to lower its body temperature, it could die from heatstroke.
You should note that there is a difference between surface temperature and air temperature. Surface temperature is the temperature of the item your ball python is resting on, which could be glass, wood, or rocks. Air temperature is the temperature of the environment around the ball python.
Surface temperature and air temperature can be different; the surface temperature can be hot, and the air temperature can be cold. You should never let your ball python’s habitat air temperature exceed 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your ball python’s habitat needs a thermal gradient, which it will utilize to control its body temperature. There should be a cold spot at one end of the cage and a hot spot at the other end. Your ball python will move from one spot to the other as it deems fit. In the wild, a ball python can move to different areas of the forest to find warmth or cool its body. You also have to monitor the cold and hot spots to ensure that they are in the correct temperatures.
Do not guess the temperature levels of your ball python’s habitat. You can install digital thermometers at both ends of the habitat and read them regularly to ensure your ball python is comfortable. You should also monitor your heating equipment. If you are using a heating pad, do not leave it on the whole day. If you are using lamps to heat the equipment, use the ones with low heat. Too much basking heat for your ball python can lead to discomfort and skin burns.
Ball pythons also need some humidity in their habitat. Humidity helps improve your ball python’s respiratory health and also sheds its skin. Humidity should range between 45 to 75%. If you make the habitat too hot, humidity levels will drop, and it could cause discomfort to your ball python. If there is too much humidity, your ball python could have trouble shedding its skin.
How Long Can Ball Pythons Go Without a Heat Lamp?
Temperatures play a crucial role in the survival of ball pythons. If you keep your ball python at the wrong temperature, it could have some adverse effects on its health.
Whether ball pythons can go without a heat lamp depends on the temperature around its habitat. If you live in areas where temperatures can fall below 30 degrees Fahrenheit at night, then your ball python may need a heat lamp to keep it warm. If you live in areas where room temperature can be between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, your snakes will be comfortable without the heat lamp for a long time.
If your ball python goes without heat for a long period, it could develop a weak immune system. Snakes easily get sick if exposed to cold weather conditions for a long time. Research shows that snakes that die after a cold spell show symptoms of lung problems. A ball python can develop lung problems both in the wild and in captivity. If you plan to go away for a while, leave your ball python with someone who can take care of it during the cold season.
Temperature plays an important role in the digestive system of a ball python. Snakes need heat to digest their food, and since they cannot generate their own heat, they rely on outside heat sources to digest their food. If the habitat is too cold, your ball snake will not digest its food, and it will start to regurgitate its food.
Your ball python will not eat any more food or drink water until its habitat’s temperature increases. If you do not provide our ball python with a heat source, it will start to lose weight and become very weak.
You can help a cold ball python increase its temperature by putting it inside a large bowl of warm water. You can also install heating accessories in its habitats, such as heat pads, heat tapes, and heat lamps. You should always be careful; it can reach a point when you cannot save a cold ball python. If the ball python suffers from hypothermia, its organs such as kidneys and liver will begin to shut down, and at this point, no amount of heat will bring your pet snake back to good health.
What Type of Light Does A Ball Python Need?
Ball pythons have incredible colors and patterns. There is no need to keep your ball python in the dark since you will not be able to enjoy their presence. Since most pet enclosures require lighting, you should choose the best option for your pet.
Ball pythons do not require any special light for their habitat. You can install normal room light bulbs in its habitat, and it will be fine. The light will be enough for them to see and move around the enclosure. Ball pythons are nocturnal, and they rely heavily on their sense of smell to move around. It will be a waste of money if you install some fancy expensive light in your ball python’s habitat.
Also, there is no need to install UVB light. UVB light is important for pets such as bearded dragons and turtles. It provides them with UVB rays that are important in keeping them healthy and strong. Snakes do not need UVB light to remain healthy.
Sometimes, UVB light can cause health complications to your ball python. If you decide to install UVB lights in your ball python’s habitat, make sure there is a shade for the snake to go under when the heat becomes too much.
You can use the light installed in your ball python’s habitat to create a day-night routine for it. It is important to provide your snake with a consistent 12-hour day-night cycle. You should turn the lights on every morning and turn them off in the evening.
You can install lights with a timer if you think it might be difficult to adhere to a strict schedule. If you fail to create a day-night cycle for your ball python, it might get stress, and it could affect its feeding habits.
Both hot and cold temperatures have negative effects on a ball python. It is up to you to create an environment where your ball python can warm or cool down its body. If you unknowingly leave your ball pythons to stay in a cold place for a long time, take them to a vet as soon as possible.
Ball pythons do not necessarily need heat lamps, but you can still install one and monitor it. Instead of a heat lamp, you can also install a heating pad to heat the snake’s habitat whenever necessary. Do not use heat rocks in your snake’s habitat. They get hot unevenly and do not heat the surrounding air.