Ball Pythons require extreme care when it comes to humidity. I’ve never owned a snake, but I’ve been researching Ball Pythons for a while. I’ve never realized how important the humidity in their tanks is, so I’ve compiled information to better understand how to keep a Ball Python healthy in its living environment.
What is the best humidity range of a Ball Python? A Ball Python’s optimal humidity levels are between 50%-65%. Humidity should be slightly higher, in the 65% range, when the Ball Python is shedding.
Humidity can seem like a small part of owning a Ball Python compared to all other aspects or snake ownership, but it is definitely one of the most important parts. I quickly realized that the humidity was a factor far more complex than a simple percentage; humidity can quickly dictate the overall happiness and health of your Ball Python. Below is some of the most important information I’ve found about the humidity levels for a Ball Python.
Why is Humidity Important?
Humidity is the variable that keeps your snake healthy. Too little humidity can cause problems with shedding and too much can cause problems in the python’s Respiratory System. Infections are common in cases of high humidity, so extra caution needs to be shown if humidity is consistently above the range of 60%-65%.
As you can see, it is very important to constantly maintain the correct humidity for your snake. Once you have found a good system, it will be easier to maintain a steady humidity, but a lot of trial and error must occur before it’s right. Here is a list showing how you can maintain the correct humidity if it’s too high or too low.
If your humidity is too low in your glass tank, add a towel or tin foil to the top of your tank (leave enough space for ventilation!).
If you find that it’s too high, you should check the materials laid down to see if they’re too moist. If you find that they are, change them and add less mist. Another option could be to replace your big water bowl with a smaller one.
If you are using a plastic made tank instead of a glass one, you should take the same steps for too little humidity as you would for a glass tank.
If your humidity is too high in a plastic tank, you may have the additional option of trying to drill a small hole or two into the side of the tank to regulate humidity. You want to start with just one and work your way up adding a few more until you’ve found a good balance of humidity. You obviously don’t want to make the holes too big to keep the snake from hurting itself or escaping. That’s would be one unnerving game of hide-and-seek…
How do I create humidity?! Good question. There are many options you could choose when creating humidity for your Ball Python. Some include:
- a water bowl and heating mat
- creating a humid hiding place
- wet substrate and a heat lamp
If you’re using a heating mat, it is common to place the water bowl on top of it to transform it into a makeshift humidifier. Humidity can also be lowered or raised by the size of the bowl you choose. If you find too much humidity in your tank, try a smaller bowl and vice versa.
You can also create a hiding place for your Ball Python that is strictly for humidity. Ball Pythons typically like to hide during the day because they are most active at night. You should have several places that your snake can crawl into during the day already, so one of those can become a sauna for your python. A good spa day can do wonders for its health! I’ve read that these enclosures can be called “humidity retreat boxes.”
They can do wonders for your Ball Python and allow them to come in and out a more humid spot at will depending on how they’re feeling. You Ball Python is the best judge of its health and would benefit from the ability to move in and out of a humid spot at will.
All this talk about creating humidity leads us all to the question: how do you gauge the humidity in the snake’s tank? The answer is to use a hygrometer! They are relatively cheap and priceless for keeping your snake comfortable and healthy. You can find many different hygrometer options to fit your needs here from Amazon.com.
The Temperature of the Enclosure
Humidity can be created by the presence of water in the air kept at a precise temperature. The temperature of a tank can be created by a heat lamp, heating mat, or, a more expensive option, a heat panel. The temperature should be monitored by multiple thermometers within the tank. It is also important for your Ball Python to have basking places with a higher heat intensity, and they should also have a cooler spot that allows them to regulate their own temperatures as much as they can.
The basking spots can be kept up to 90-94 degrees, the cooler places should stay around 75 degrees. Sometimes it is a good option to have day and nighttime temperatures, but it is important to give your Ball Python the option or both.
Temperature and water are the key ingredients to creating a humid environment for your Ball Python. You want to make sure all your thermometers and hygrometers are in proper working order to keep your snake’s home comfortable and safe. Here, you can find an article we wrote all about what the best temperature is for ball pythons.
Substrate Can Affect Humidity
The substrate, or the base layer of material for your snake’s home, is very important in creating a good living environment for your python. It comes in many different types depending on your preferences. Most can be purchased at the local pet store.
A couple that I have seen advertised by snake lovers is Cypress Mulch and Aspen Shavings. Cypress Mulch can be sprayed with water to increase humidity. Aspen shavings have also been suggested as a good substrate for Ball Pythons. You want to have a material that will absorb water well to assist in the creation of your snake’s humid home. We wrote an article that includes a buyer’s guide to bedding, and how to choose the right bedding for your ball python. Find the article here.
Do Ball Pythons need a heat lamp? Ball Pythons need heat for sure, but it doesn’t have to be from a heat lamp. Heat lamps are a good source of heat for your Ball Python, but there are other options on the market that snake lovers find safer and more efficient. One option is the heat panel typically used by avid big snake owners. Heating pads are also popular.
Can a Ball Python hurt you? A Ball Python can hurt you if you abuse or neglect it. They can bite and may if they feel threatened. Sometimes they will curl up in a ball instead, but you should always stay aware. They are known for their calmer demeanor and are a common option for beginners. You should always handle your Ball Python with care and respect.