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Do Ball Pythons Make Good Pets?

Nicole Cosgrove

There are few pets as controversial as the snake, and the king of pet snakes is the ball python. But do ball pythons make a good pet for your home, or are you better off keeping them as far away as possible?

The truth is that snakes get a ton of unwarranted abuse, and as long as you’re not scared of them, adding a pet snake to your home has tons of perks. But what all can a ball python do for you, and is one right for your home? We break it all down for you here.

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Perks of Having a Pet Ball Python

While many people don’t view a ball python as an ideal pet, the truth is that they offer many of the same perks that you would get from a more traditional pet option. For starters, ball pythons provide companionship.

That might not sound like much, but this helps prevent loneliness, reduces stress, and has numerous other health benefits. But one of the advantages of a ball python is that you get all these perks with relatively few care requirements.

Compared to a dog or even a cat, a snake requires less care and time, which means even if you’re on a relatively busy schedule, you can keep up with caring for a ball python.

Owning a ball python can give you an increased sense of responsibility or help teach kids about proper pet ownership.

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Image credit: TKBackyard, Shutterstock

Concerns of Having a Pet Ball Python

While a ball python might be the perfect pet for some owners, for others, they don’t offer any of those benefits. The truth is that it comes down to whether you’re comfortable around snakes.

According to a study in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, about one-third of all adults suffer from ophidiophobia, making it the most common phobia in the world. With so people uncomfortable around snakes, many of the potential perks are instantly negated.

Another potential concern is that while they require less care than many other pets, that doesn’t mean no care. If you’re on an extremely busy schedule, you might not have the time to properly care for your snake and reap the rewards.

Are Ball Pythons Friendly?

When it comes to docile snakes, it’s hard to beat a ball python. While they will certainly take a little time to tame, they’re among the friendliest snakes out there.

The key is consistent and gentle handling. If you take the time to handle your ball python once or twice a day, they will become extremely comfortable around you, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

hand holding ball python
Image Credit: Hand Robot, Shutterstock

Are Pet Ball Pythons Dangerous?

In short, ball pythons are not at all dangerous. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t common-sense precautions that you should take.

While snakes often get a bad rap as dangerous pets, there have been zero recorded fatalities from ball pythons. You still need to be careful with them, especially when around small children and infants.

In the unlikely event that your ball python bites you, you don’t have to worry about seeking out any special medical treatment. Ball pythons are not venomous, so simply wash out the affected area to prevent any kind of bacterial infection from taking place.

Furthermore, while a 3–5-foot snake is small in the reptile-owning world, you still shouldn’t have them wrapped around your head or neck. While your snake is highly unlikely to try and constrict to kill you, they can squeeze rather tightly when simply trying to get a firm grip.

Are Ball Pythons Good for Beginners?

Due to their docile nature and how easy they are to care for, ball pythons make great pets for beginners. Not only do they have minimal care requirements, but they also won’t take a ton of time out of your day.

The most challenging factor is getting their temperature gradients and humidity levels right. We highly recommend practicing with an empty enclosure before bringing a pet snake in. You’ll master it in no time, and you won’t have to worry about making your snake uncomfortable as you figure everything out.

new snake dividerFinal Thoughts

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet for your home, a ball python might be exactly what you’ve been looking for. They’re easy to care for and docile and make great companions. However, keep in mind that not everyone is comfortable around snakes, and exposure doesn’t always help.

So, if you or someone else in your family is uncomfortable around snakes, you should consult with them before bringing one into your home. But as long as everyone is fine with it, a pet snake is a great choice.


Featured Image Credit: Darlene Munro, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.