Banana Ball Pythons: A Complete Guide with Pictures and Facts

Banana ball pythons, like many other pythons, are very popular as a first pet snake in many homes. You might be considering getting one yourself, and you may have some questions. I am here to tell you anything and everything you will want or need to know about banana ball pythons.

So, what do you need to know about the banana morph of the ball python species? Banana ball pythons are a morph type of ball python with a brown or tan base color and bright yellow splotching or spots across the entire body. They grow to be around three to five feet in length, originate from West Africa, and are a shy, non-venomous snake. They are a type of constrictor meaning they suffocate their prey instead of biting and poisoning it.

This morph of the ball python isn’t as popular as others but is just as cool, I promise. This type of ball python is similar to all other pythons, but its coloration is one-of-a-kind, for sure.

Like any other new pet (and escpecially pet snake), you want to figure out exactly everything about the pet before you sell yourself on getting it, right? Keep reading and I can tell you all about this awesome breed of ball pythons.

The Natural Habitat of the Ball Python Snake

The banana ball python originates from West Africa, like all other pythons.

The countries they can generally be found in are Senegal, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Uganda.

The weather in these environments is usually very warm, ranging from 65* Fahrenheit up to even 104* Fahrenheit. This section of the continent also doesn’t get much rain because the location is in-between the northern and southern hemispheres of the continent. When they do get rain, it is usually a very short rainy season and goes straight to monsoons.

The ecosystems ball pythons tend to find most appealing are savannas, grasslands, and sparsely wooded areas. These habitats are definitely favored among the ball pythons, but they have been known to be rather adaptable to an array of different environments.

This is what helps make it such a popular snake. Because of its adaptability, it is easier to have it in more places as a pet. However, keeping a ball pythons in an enclosure which mimics its natural origin is beneficial for its health and will make your snake more comfortable. To find an article we recently wrote about the best humidity for ball pythons and how to get it there, click here.

Caging and Other Specifications You’ll Need to Know for a Banana Ball Python

A ball python’s cage should be about one foot by one and a half feet by three feet. This size of an enclosure is more than enough to hold and maintain an adult-sized banana ball python, which will leave it with comfortable room for moving around and will also leave extra room for everything else necessary in your pet banana ball python’s enclosure.

This enclosure can be a glass tank, a plastic tub, or even a sweater box. Make sure your snake’s enclosure isn’t too big, though. Having a cage that is too big can make your snake feel exposed and insecure, which is not good.

After you establish what kind of cage or container to keep your snake in, you will need to get substrate. The recommended substrate from your local pet store should do fine, but you could also use newspapers, paper towels, cypress mulch, and orchid bark, if you so desire.

The paper products tend to be the easiest and cheapest options for substrates. The wood/mulch options are usually wonderful for maintaining the necessary humidity level.

Make sure to avoid any product containing cedar wood, however. It is poisonous to the snakes and will likely hurt or sicken your pet snake, which could lead to fatality. You must also avoid sand and shavings for the bedding because they can also potentially harm your snake.

Make sure to avoid any product containing cedar wood, however. It is poisonous to the snakes and will likely hurt or sicken your pet snake, which could lead to fatality.

For an awesome substrate option, I have included this Coconut Fiber Bedding substrate from Amazon. It is a wonderful, loose burrowing option for your pet banana ball python.

After the substrate, you will need a water dish. You will need one big enough for your snake to take a swim in when it needs to cool down or to moisturize its skin more, which will help it with shedding, as well. 

You don’t need anything fancy for your snake’s water dish, either. You will just need something cheap that your snake can fit in comfortably when needed, but not something too deep.

Be warned, though, that getting a water dish that is too big is also bad for your snake because it can create an environment that is too humid for your snake.

Without a properly-sized water dish, even though the snake will be able to drink water from a badly-sized one, the snake can dehydrate and possibly get sick.

Here is one excellent shallow drinking and soaking dish for your ball python. If you would like to take a look at what else Amazon has in the way of reptile drinking bowls, click here.

After you ensure there is an adequate water source, you will also need a good hide box for your snake. This is an essential feature because this is an escape for your snake from the commotion, an escape from the heat, and a dark place when the light and everything is overwhelming for it.

Without one of these hide boxes, your snake will feel very vulnerable and exposed which will make it super nervous and much more likely to bite someone.

You don’t need to get anything fancy for a hide box either. A simple shoe box that the snake can fit in will do just fine. For some cute and some simple hiding box options for your banana ball python, feel free to browse here.

You will need to make sure you have the proper temperature and humidity setting in your tank too. These measurements are crucial for your snake’s health.

On the basking side of your snake’s enclosure, you will need to keep it at a temperature of about 88* Fahrenheit to 96* Fahrenheit to keep the snake warm. On the ambient side of your tank, you will need to keep it at a cooler temperature of about 78* Fahrenheit to 80* Fahrenheit so that the snake has a place to cool down without risking its health due to being too cold.

The humidity in your snake’s enclosure will also need to be maintained at a level of about 50% to 60%. The proper humidity level will help keep your banana ball python from getting too dry and will help with its shedding.

Lastly comes cage cleaning. You will need to make sure any feces or other waste is cleaned up as frequently as possible. This waste is not healthy for your snake to be around all the time.

I would suggest checking your banana ball pythons enclosure every other day to ensure that any and all waste laying around is cleaned out for the health of your snake.

As long as your snake’s tank is well-maintained as so, you shouldn’t have to clean it more than once or twice a month.

When cleaning your snake’s tank you will need to use a 5% bleach solution. You will need to put your snake in a separate, temporary enclosure while you clean and keep it away from the chemicals and cleaning process.

After your banana ball python is out of the way, you can start taking everything out of the tank. Scrub everything inside that tank with your cleaning solution and the inside of the tank itself as well. You will need to make sure that you deep clean all of your tank accessories, too.

As for the old substrate, you will need to throw that out and replace it with clean bedding but you can’t replace anything in the tank until it is all dried and there is no bleach residue anywhere. The bleach residue will harm your snake, which is why it must be cleaned out completely. When it comes to other accessories and things to include in your snake’s tank, here is an article we wrote all about our favorite pet snake accessories. It goes over the essential things, as well as the non-essential things for your pet snake.

Predators, Prey, and How Banana Ball Pythons Hunt

Like all other animal species in the wild, banana ball pythons have the predators that they must watch out for in their natural environment. These predators include humans, wild pigs, warthogs, and leopards for the adult-sized snakes.

The baby or adolescent banana ball pythons also have to worry about predators such as birds and hedgehogs along with all of the other predators this breed of snake has to deal with.

All of these predators are central to the same environment and ecosystem as the banana ball python.

On the contrary, the banana ball python has prey of its own, of course, because it has to eat to survive as well. The banana ball python’s prey is most often large crickets, pinkies, and fuzzies when the snake is younger and goes straight to adult mice when the snake is full grown.

These animals satisfy the banana ball python’s carnivorous appetite and are small enough to be a decent sized meal for the snake to swallow.

When in captivity, the banana ball python, obviously, doesn’t have to deal with worrying about physical predators. In captivity, this snake only has to worry about its proper living conditions being maintained and making sure it gets fed enough.

You will feed your pet banana ball python small adult mice whenever necessary as its meals. You will only need to do so every week or two which is not bad at all! You can acquire these mice at your local pet store for super cheap as well.

Note: You will need to feed your ball python FROZEN or PRE-KILLED small adult mice.

This is because you shouldn’t leave a live mouse in your snake’s enclosure with it. When you leave these two foes alone, you run the risk of the mouse injuring your snake which is not good at all for your snake’s health. Can you feed your pet snake a dead mouse from the wild? Find out here in an article we recently wrote, that answers that commonly asked question.

In the wild, the banana ball python can’t just be handed its food like it otherwise would in captivity. When living in its natural habitat, the banana ball python has to hunt for its food.

But how does it do that? Many different snakes have different ways of catching and eating their prey, and the banana ball python is no exception from that.

The banana ball python is known as a “constrictor” which means that the snake coils itself around its prey to suffocate it until it dies. After this action, it will then swallow its meal whole and slowly digest it over the next few days.

Banana Ball Python Sizes and Estimated Lifespan

The banana ball python is quite a manageable, small sized snake which always helps especially when starting out with your first pet snake. This snake averages in length are to five feet in length for females and two to three feet in length for males.

The ball python is even known to grow up to five or six feet in length as a huge snake, but these sizes are not likely for this breed of snake.

A mature adult ball python weighs roughly around four to five pounds when healthy and in condition as well. This size will obviously vary depending on the gender and size of your snake.

When these snakes are small, little hatchlings, they are a mere ten inches in length. They proceed to grow to adult size about two to three years after their birth. This time frame is when they reach maturity as well.  

The banana ball python is also known to live for as long as around thirty to forty years. The longest recorded lifespan for a ball python was about forty-seven years and six months before the ball python died. This was a ball python in captivity at the Philadelphia Zoo.

This size of snake is usually very easy to handle. It is long enough to be fun when holding, but also short enough that you won’t be as prone to drop the snake when holding it properly. 

Handling and Temperament: What Your Ball Python Can Handle

When handling your banana ball python, you should always be gentle and slow with your movements. These snakes are easily startled with rapid movements because they begin to feel unsafe.

This is why you must stay slow and steady with all of your movements and make sure you are always supporting your snake’s body so that it feels free to roam, but secure enough to not fall or get dropped by you.

When you first get your banana ball python, you will need to ease into holding it etc. because it will take a bit of time for the snake to trust you and get used to you being around.

After it gets over the fear of you possibly being a threat to it, your snake will be more comfortable with you holding it. While snakes in general are not particularly fond of being held, even by their owners, ball pythons as a species tend to do better with handling than most snakes.

That doesn’t mean they’ll be trying to cuddle you. Banana ball pythons, like all snakes, need a good amount of space and respectful distance, especially after eating.

Be cautious. Some ball pythons, though most are nice and friendly, may be extremely shy and not want to be held often and even possibly hide when you try to pick them up.

Don’t worry, though. This is normal. Simply let the snake get used to you being around and establish some trust with you a little more before you try to handle it. Are you wondering what the normal temperament of a ball python is? Many other people wonder that same thing. Here, you can find an article we wrote that talks about ball python temperament, including how they generally do with children.

When holding your banana ball python, you two are trying to establish the trust between each other. In order to get more comfortable with holding your python (and so it becomes more comfortable with you), it would be smart to sit down and make sure you are keeping a stable hold of your pet snake. Constant moving and shifting will make a newly-handles snake very nervous.

Do not squeeze the banana ball python. That will cause it to feel restricted and get scared. Also, make sure to not handle your snake before or right after feeding because it will stress your snake out and result in it not eating or striking due to stress.

Genes and Names: Banana or Coral Glow Ball Python?

While I was doing research on the beautiful banana ball python morph, I started noticing that this is basically the same as the “coral glow” morph… or at least, that’s what it seemed.

After doing some more research and browsing forums to see what other snake owners have said, it seems that banana and coral glow ball pythons are essentially the same. However, this is a debated topic which is a little vague. It’s hard to trace snakes to their origin.

The lines of these banana and coral glow ball pythons supposedly were started by different breeders. Will Slough and Kevin McKurley apparently both started different lines of the same genetically changed ball python, but the mix is the same, as far as actual genetics go.

However, some say that banana ball pythons are a natural morph of ball pythons which were dying out until over a decade ago, and that coral glow pythons are an imitation genetic mutation of the banana ball python. However, this is difficult to trace and frankly, genetics seem to get a little muddled when it comes to morphs in the snake trade.

Coral glows are also called “White Smoke” morphs. And apparently, in the banana and coral glow breeding world, it was difficult for a long time to produce any males, which is why there was speculation about sex linking and there seem to be some muddled genetics there, as well.

10 Fun Facts About Ball Pythons

Listed below are ten fun facts about ball pythons that you may or may not have known:

#1: They Are the Most Popular Pet Snake

Look up any snake good for keeping as a pet, and you are almost guaranteed to come across ball pythons in the mix, usually listed as number one. Looking for the most conveniently-sized? The one with the most morphs? One that is docile and good with handling? Ball pythons have you covered as the most popular pet snake.

#2: They Weren’t Always So Popular

In the early 1990’s, ball pythons were like most other pet snakes: not too popular, not too fancy. Apparently, they sold for about $20 on average. But then, with the first albino ball pythons bred in captivity, people realized these guys can produce vivid and varied morphs like almost no other snake.

#3: They Can Live Up to 50 Years in Captivity

While the average lifespan for this species of snake is the decent length of thirty years, some ball pythons (which have been taken care of very well) can live up to fifty years. Of course, this is in captivity, where conditions are controlled, there are no predators, and any sicknesses or discomfort can be caught early-on.

#4: They’re Called Ball Pythons Because They Ball Up

The ball python gets its name from the fact that when they are scared or intimidated, these shy little snakes curl up into a cute little ball. Their name is another testament of their shy and docile natures.

#5: The Most Expensive Ball Python Morph is $40,000

This can change anytime and is a fluid market, but generally speaking, the most expensive ball python morph is the Lavender Albino ball python, which is $40,000 and ranks among the most expensive pets on the legal pet market. This snake costs as much as a little fixer-upper home.

#6: They Make Great Necklaces

Ball pythons are also known as “royal” pythons because royalty used to wear them as necklaces way back when. This is because the ball python’s easy and docile temperament allowed these royals to strut around with a gorgeous live snake around their neck, without worrying about it strangling them or their advisors.

#7: They are the Smallest of the African Pythons

While many popular snakes come from the wild savannas and various terrains of Africa, along with tons of other animal species, this docile, beautiful snake is the smallest python from its homeland. It’s great size and temperament, as well as its lack of venom, is what made early snake traders begin bringing this amazing creature to the snake owner’s market.

#8: They Reproduce Every 2-3 Years

Female ball pythons lay about 5-10 eggs per clutch and then circle around their eggs and sort of shiver to produce warmth to incubate their own eggs. However, these mother snakes only reproduce every other year or so, unlike most snake species, which tend to reproduce every year.

#9: There are Supposedly Over 1,000 Ball Python Morphs

With the tons of ball python variations that you may have heard of, such as the banana, the albino, the lavender, and so on, you may or may not be surprised to hear it is estimated that there are over 1,000 different ball or “royal” python breeds on the market.

#10: No Two Ball Pythons Look Alike

With the hundreds of different morphs and tons of variations in those morphs, as well as the tons of ball pythons on the snake market today, you should know that one of the coolest facts about these docile, beautiful snakes is that each is unique. While some snakes, like the garter snake, all look basically the same, you can rest assured knowing that if you get a ball python, it is uniquely yours. No other ball python can look like yours does. It may be similar, but each snakeskin is as unique as a fingerprint.

With all of these ball python facts in mind, and knowing everything you do now about the banana and coral glow morphs, I wouldn’t be surprised if this snake is next on your list of cool animals to own. 

Three quick tips for those about to get a ball python of any morph: 

  1. Make sure you are getting the ball python from a trusted and legal breeder of these incredible animals.
  2. Carefully monitor the humidity and temperature levels in your ball python’s tank and keep it nice and clean for these little guys.
  3. And finally, enjoy owning one of the most popular snake breeds on the snake owner’s market, and remember: your snake is unique.

Related Questions:

Are banana ball pythons venomous? They are not venomous. The banana ball python is a constrictor, which means it suffocates its prey instead of biting and injecting venom into it.

Are banana ball pythons friendly?Banana ball pythons are very friendly. They are a mild-mannered snake and shy sometimes, but never aggressive unless threatened.

Do banana ball pythons make good pets? Banana ball pythons make great pets because of their mild manner and ease of cleaning. They are a very friendly snake and their small size makes them much easier to handle and maintain.

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