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Do Ball Pythons Climb?

Jordin Horn

The ball python is a beloved pet that gets its name from its defensive strategy: scrunching up into a ball. Some people call it the rock python because all it seems to do is stay on the ground. But do ball pythons ever climb? Ball pythons climb a little bit, and their enclosure should allow some space to do that. However, they are not great climbers, so those climbing elements should support them well while they climb. Read on to find out more about ball pythons and climbing.

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What Do Ball Pythons Like to Climb?

ball python
Image Credit: Photohobbiest, Shutterstock

In order to create more excitement in your ball python’s life, you can give him a few things to explore and climb on in his terrarium. This is not necessary, though, as many pet ball pythons do just fine without climbing objects in their cage. It’s not known for a fact that ball pythons like to climb at all, but they do climb around when there is an opportunity to.

Ball pythons, though they can climb, are not known to be good at it. Ball python owners have reported their pet snakes falling from a clumsy climb. Make sure your terrarium has a soft landing for your python should he fall down from one of these climbing endeavors.

Many people wonder if ball pythons can climb up walls. It may ease your mind to know that they cannot climb up vertical walls. Thin snakes climbing up a rough, uneven surface like a rock wall will be able to scale a wall, but this isn’t true for ball pythons. Ball pythons cannot climb walls because their bodies are very thick and their muscles are not built for it.

The climbing objects in the terrarium should be slanted objects that are slightly rough, sturdy enough to support your python’s weight, and not too far off the ground. Some great options are fake bark that’s propped up in a slant or a plant bar that’s slightly elevated (but not too tall).

Ball Python Tank Requirements

Ball Python Morph
Image Credit: Cheng Wei, Shutterstock

While climbing objects are more or less optional for a ball python enclosure, there are other things that are more necessary for a ball python habitat.

To start, the enclosure size changes as the python ages (if you plan on keeping a young python). A python hatchling can go in a 10-gallon tank, a juvenile under 3 feet needs a 40-gallon tank, and an adult over 3 feet long needs a 120-gallon enclosure. This means that there needs to be about 8 square feet of floor area for your adult snake.

Screen tops, although convenient, can be damaging for your snake’s nose over time. They also let too much humidity escape from the cage, which the snake needs for proper shedding and livelihood. Go for a plastic or glass enclosure that dissipates heat well with a locking lid. Both of these materials are fine for your snake and easy to clean. Do not use tape to secure the lid, as this can also cause injury to the snake.

Give your python at least two hiding holes in his terrarium. You want to make sure one is near the heat source while the other one is farther away from it. This gives him a cooler option to hide when he’s too warm but still needs the security.

A low-level UVB light should be provided 12 hours a day, and the rest of the time turned off to mimic the equatorial day/night patterns of its original habitat. The temperatures should vary in the enclosure, from a nighttime temperature of around 74 degrees F to a basking surface area temperature of around 97 degrees F. The air inside the terrarium should never exceed 95 degrees F.

Humidity is also important for your ball python. The tank should stay within a humidity of 45-75% most of the time. This helps your python maintain a healthy respiratory system and aids in proper skin shedding.

The tank should be cleaned with an F-10 solution or bleach solution at least every month.

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Final Thoughts

As one of the most popular pet snakes in the world, information about the care and maintenance of ball pythons is readily available. They are a great beginner snake to have as a pet due to their sweet nature and easy care. By just following a few simple rules of care, your python will be happy and healthy for as long as 30 years or more.

Because of their long lifespans, make sure you are 100% committed to caring for a ball python for the years to come before purchasing one of your own.


Featured Image Credit: Soundfrau, Pixabay

Jordin Horn

Jordin Horn is a freelance writer who has covered many topics, including home improvement, gardening, pets, CBD, and parenting. Over the years, she has moved around so much that there's been no time to settle down and own a pet. However, as an animal lover, she dotes on and cuddles any pet she happens upon! She grew up with and dearly loved an American Eskimo Spitz named Maggie and a Pomeranian/Beagle mix named Gabby. She calls Colorado home, but has also recently resided in China, Iowa, and Puerto Rico Jordin does not like to settle for the "easy answer" when it comes to living life with your pet. She loves to research the best methods and products out there and cut through the jargon so you can see plainly what something is or how something is done.