The Sunset Ball Python is one of our favorite snake morphs due to its amazing color. It has a rich, auburn red color that’s brightest on the head and stretches over the entire body. This snake has a long lifespan that can reach 30 years or more. If this sounds like an animal you would like to own, keep reading while we discuss size, habitat, feeding, health, and much more to help you make an informed decision.
Quick Facts About the Sunset Ball Python Morph
|Species Name:||P. regius|
|Common Name:||Sunset Ball Python|
|Adult Size:||4–5 feet|
|Minimum Tank Size:||40-gallon|
|Temperature & Humidity||75–85 degrees C
Does the Sunset Ball Python Morph Make a Good Pet?
The Sunset Ball Python Morph makes a great pet for children and adults because it is easy to take care of and doesn’t mind when you handle it. It’s large and slow-moving, so it won’t scare inexperienced handlers with sudden movements, and it’s non-venomous, so there is no danger.
As we mentioned earlier, the Sunset Ball Python Morph has an auburn red color that does, indeed, resemble a sunset. Several different patterns can accent the color, and it generally grows to be about 5 feet long, but there are many reports of these specimens growing even longer.
How to Take Care of a Sunset Ball Python Morph
Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup
Your Sunset Ball Python can get quite large and will require at least a 40-gallon tank to live. Larger is even better if you have the budget and space in your home. The aquarium will also require plenty of wood and branches to help stimulate your snake’s natural environment.
The tank will also need at least two hides, which are boxes or containers that provide enough space for your snake to climb in. They will need to be large enough to fit the entire snake, and you will also need to add a source of freshwater to your aquarium.
The Sunset Ball Python is a nocturnal animal, so it will not need any special UVB lighting. However, you will likely use heat lamps to create a basking area in your habitat and raise the overall temperature. Since these snakes operate at night, you will need to set up a lighting cycle, so the lights are on for 12 hours and off for 12 to help recreate their natural environment. We recommend using a timer for consistency.
Heating (Temperature & Humidity)
Your Sunset Ball Python will prefer the temperature to stay between 75 and 85 degrees F to replicate its natural environment. You can use heat lamps, hot pads, ceramic heaters, and other methods to maintain the higher temperatures. We recommend using an accurate thermometer to eliminate guesswork.
Your Sunset Ball Python will feel best living in humidity levels of 46% and 75%. Fortunately, many people in the United States experience similar moisture content in the air, so you won’t need any special equipment. However, the higher temperatures and heating devices can dry out the air, so you will want to use a spray bottle filled with water to replace it. It’s important to use a hygrometer to get an accurate humidity reading and check it often. You will need to increase the humidity and keep it on the high side while your pet is shedding.
Since your Sunset Ball Python requires a habitat with high humidity, it’s better to use a substrate that retains that humidity. We recommend using coconut fiber because it’s inexpensive, soft, and retains moisture. You can also use wood fiber like aspen or even hemp.
|Tank Type:||40-gallon glass vivarium|
|Lighting:||Standard lighting, heat lamps|
|Heating:||Heating pad/tape on the bottom of the enclosure, heat lamps|
|Best Substrate:||Coconut fiber|
Feeding Your Sunset Ball Python Morph
Your Sunset Ball Python will eat mice when it’s a juvenile, but we recommend switching to rats as soon as possible because ball pythons tend to stick to only one kind of food once they get used to it, and feeding your python rats is much more efficient than several mice. You will want to feed your pet pre-killed frozen mice and rats to reduce the risk of transferring parasites. Since the snake eats its food whole, it will get all of the nutrients it needs, including calcium that it gets from digesting the bones. As a result, you will not need to dust the food with a calcium supplement like you need to do with many other captive reptiles.
|Fruits||0% of the diet|
|Insects||0% of diet|
|Meat||100% of diet – small/medium-sized mice and rats|
Keeping Your Sunset Ball Python Morph Healthy
Keeping your Sunset Ball Python healthy is a matter of maintaining temperature and humidity levels in the proper range. Dry air can make it difficult for your python to shed its skin, and it can cling to some areas of the body, especially around the eyes.
Common Health Issues
One of the most common health issues your Sunset Ball Python will face is respiratory issues. Cool temperatures and incorrect humidity levels can cause a respiratory problem in your snake. If you notice a loss of appetite and bubbly, stringy saliva, we recommend taking your snake to the vet.
Like other ball pythons morphs, Sunset Ball Pythons usually have a long lifespan that can approach and even surpass 30 years as long as you keep the temperature and humidity within limits and only provide food that’s free of parasites.
Once your male and female snakes are fully grown, you can prepare them for breeding by dropping the temperature and allowing them to enter brumation for the winter months before placing them both in the same habitat. If they do not seem interested in each other, adding a second male can help speed up the process. When the snakes begin to mate, they will twist together and can remain that way for a few hours or a few days, during which time you should not disturb them.
If mating is successful, the female will tend to wrap around the water bowl and lie belly up. She will usually lay her eggs in about 30 days, and they will hatch 60–80 days later.
Related Read: Can Two Ball Pythons Live Together in the Same Cage?
Are Sunset Ball Python Morphs Friendly? Our Handling Advice
The Sunset Ball Python Morph makes a fantastic first pet for someone who wants to learn about raising snakes and reptiles. It’s slow-moving, so it won’t make any sudden movements while learning how to hold it, and it doesn’t mind when you carry it. Just make sure you get your snake used to handling by increasing the time spent holding it incrementally. If you have just brought your Sunset Ball Python home, give it several days to adjust to its new living conditions before trying to pick it up. Patience is key to a good long-term relationship with your python.
Shedding & Brumation: What to Expect
Your Sunset Ball Python will shed its skin every few weeks, so you will need to learn the signs, like discolored eyes, to know when to increase the humidity. High humidity will help the skin come off and speed up the process. As long as you keep the temperatures high, your snake stays active with no need to enter brumation. The only time you will allow the snake to enter brumation is if you intend to mate it with another snake.
How Much Do Sunset Ball Python Morphs Cost?
Unfortunately, the Sunset Ball Python can be quite an expensive morph due to the difficult gene responsible for its coloring, which can be tricky to work with for breeders. As a result, the price for this particular morph is incredibly high. You should expect to pay at least $4,000 for your Sunset Ball Python, and some might be much more expensive depending on how long the waiting list is.
Care Guide Summary
The Sunset Ball Python is an amazing snake with a head-turning deep red color that is highly sought after by those of us who enjoy the ball pythons and all their varying morphs. Its habitat is easy to set up and maintain, and it’s suitable for a beginner. It likes when you carry it, and once it gets used to you, it will enjoy staying with you for extended periods.
We hope you have enjoyed our look into this rare morph and have learned something new. If we have convinced you to look for a breeder, please share this guide to the Sunset Ball Python morph on Facebook and Twitter.
We have lots of other ball python morphs for you to look at!
Featured Image Credit: PetlinDmitry, Shutterstock