Ball Python Cost Breakdown
The initial cost of owning a Ball Python varies depending on the color morph you choose, but is the same after the initial costs.
Compared to other pets such as dogs and cats, a pet ball python is easy to care for. For instance, they don’t require as much attention. Also, you don’t need to feed them as much as dogs and cats. These gentle reptiles are regal and independent.
However, they can be costly to obtain. The setup of their enclosure can be also costly to put together. Here, we will be answering the question, “How much do ball pythons cost?”
The cost of a ball python isn’t just the price, which can be any between $50 to $5000 (most ball pythons cost $100 to $500), but also the cost of feeding, heating, lighting, and setting up the python’s enclosure.
The ball python is endemic to West and Central africa. It is also called the royal python.
You can buy captive ball pythons from CBreptile.com. You can buy either an adult, juvenile, or baby ball python from them.
Cost Of A Ball Python
The price of a ball python is dependent on several things including age, size and most importantly the morph. The rarer the ball python morph, the more expensive the snake will be.
So what is a morph? Well a morph is a unique physical appearance which differs from how the snake appears in the wild. For instance, ball pythons are usually brown in color with light brown patterns between dark brown spots. However, there are ball pythons that are all white in color. Some are orange in color and so on. All of these are different morphs.
Regular Ball Python
Price: $30 to $50
Scientific Name: Python regius
A regular ball python doesn’t cost much. Expect to spend below $50 to a normal ball python. These are easy to acquire and are common in herp pet stores. The ball python is one of the most common snakes out there and the regular ball python is the most common one out there.
Some common morphs
Here are some of the most popular morphs out there and their pricings. When it comes to morphs, it is common to find snakes with a mix of several miophs.
Price: $300 to $400
The albino lacks dark pigmentations. These snakes have a white background with yellow patterns. They are one of the more popular morphs out there.
These come in varying shades of brown, white, black and silver. This is because axanthic morphs lack red and/or yellow pigmentations.
Price: $75 – $100
This morph has intense yellow patterns on a blackish brown background.
These are brown backgrounds with yellow patterns.
The yellow and black patterns of this morph gives it its common name. They cost under $200 and are relatively easy to find.
Also known as Puma, this morph is tan to brown in coloration.
This morph has dark scales with light brown rings.
Price: $75 – $100
This morph has a dark background with light brown patterns highlighted by black markings.
These are white with light brown markings.
These come in varying shades of dark brown with yellows patterns.
This morph has yellow patterns on a gray background. A cross between an albino and a candy is called candino.
Blue Eyed Leucistic (commonly known as BEL)
Price: $400 to $800
These have blue eyes and white scales. While BELs can be difficult to find, they aren’t among the rarest morphs out there. Because of their rarity, they are more expensive.
Cost Of Setting Up The Enclosure
A comfortable enclosure ensures that the ball python is comfortable and stress free. This is important to the health of the snake.
While young snakes require small enclosures (this ensures that they feel safe), adults require larger enclosures. An enclosure size of at least 36 x 16 x 12 inches should be large enough for the snake. The REPTI ZOO 67 Gallon Reptile Glass Terrarium, which cost $410, should be large enough for the ball python.
When it comes to substrates there are several options out there. My preferred substrate of choice for a snake enclosure is Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding. A single bag costs $5. Grass carpet can also be used. So can paper towels. However, beddings such as Aspen and coco coir are superb at keeping humidity levels in check.
You need to spot clean as often as possible. This removes urates and fecal matter. A waster remover such as Fluker’s Eco Clean Reptile Waste Remover is great for getting rid of waste. This costs around $12.
Snakes need hide boxes in their enclosures. This provides them with a dark place to retreat to. A good hide box should be big enough for the snake to fit its entire body. There are several types of hide boxes available. Some hides even look like rocks and other natural objects such as logs or rocks.
Really, the snake doesn’t mind the appearance of the hide as far as it provides an excellent hiding spot. The Pangea Reptile Hide Box may not look fancy but it provides the needed hiding spot for the snake. This hide box costs about $16.
Decorations beautify the enclosure and give the snake’s living space a natural feel. There are several objects you can use. These include logs, vines, and even large rocks. If the decorations are taken straight out of nature, I recommend sterilizing them. For instance, the rock can be boiled.
I recommend the Flexible Bend-A-Branch Jungle Vines. These cost about $16. They are also safe.
We will go into more details further on. Ball pythons are carnivorous and should be fed rodents. They accept pre-killed rodents. 25 frozen pinkie mice can feed an average-sized ball python for several months. This will cost about $75.
Both food and water are needed for survival. The water dish must be one that doesn’t tip over easily. Snakes are known to enter their water dish. If it isn’t sturdy enough, it can easily tip over. The Exo Terra Water Dish is sturdy and large enough for the snake. This costs about $20.
Ball pythons require moderately high humidity. The humidity level within the enclosure should be around 60%. When the humidity within the enclosure is low, slighting misting the enclosure can help increase humidity levels. As such, a spray bottle may be necessary. The spray bottle should be one that produces a fine mist. The Driew Plant Mister is an excellent choice and costs about $10.
Thermometer And Humidity Gauge
Keeping track of the temperatures within the enclosure is essential. The Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Infrared Thermometer (around $30) is an excellent thermometer. It allows you to quickly and efficiently measure the temperature levels within the enclosure. You can keep track of the temperature within both the cool and warm ends of the enclosure.
These are used to regulate the temperatures within the enclosure. They ensure that the heat lamps and heat pads installed don’t overheat the enclosure. One popular thermostat for snake enclosures is the Inkbird Digital Temperature Controller. This thermostat costs about $50.
This heat lamp can be used to create a basking spot with temperatures in the low 90s (88 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit). The cool end should have temperatures of at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit. There are several heat lamps to choose from. The Wuhostam ceramic heat lamp, which costs about $16, is an excellent choice.
Lamps may not be enough to keep the enclosure warm, especially at night. A heat mat installed underneath the terrarium allows the snake to warm its underside. These should be used with thermostats to avoid overheating. The iPower Reptile Heat Pad, which costs about $22, is ideal for ball python enclosures.
You may need a heat lamp fixture and a white light fixture to install the lamps within. The fixture you choose for the heat lamp must be one that can withstand a high amount of heat. The Fluker’s Mini Sun Dome Reptile Lamp is ideal for ball python enclosures. This costs about $13. You may also need a fixture for the cool white light bulb.
Some reptile terrariums come with fixtures preinstalled. It is best to know if the terrarium already has the needed light fixtures before buying a fixture or two.
Cost Of Feeding The Ball Python
As carnivorous, ball pythons feed on meat, specifically rodents. They feed by swallowing the prey whole. Ball pythons prefer to feed on live prey.
Since it can be difficult and time-consuming to store and care for live rodents, as such, frozen rodents such as mice and rats are a good alternative. Also, live rodents tend to fight back which can injure the snake. I recommend feeding the snake pre-killed rodents unless your herp vet tells you otherwise.
Make sure you run thaw the frozen mouse and warm it up before offering it to the python. This will trick the snake into thinking the rodent is alive. You may also need to wiggle the rodent in front of the python to simulate the movement of a live rodent.
The size of the rodent depends on the size of the snake. Small juveniles are better off feeding on small pinkie mice while large adults are better off with rats. The rodent fed the snake must not be larger than the snake’s width of the snake’s mid-length.
Rodents that are too large for the snake can become choking hazards. The snake may also regurgitate large rodents. This is stressful for the python and it can affect its feed habits.
If you feed the snake rodents that are too small, the snake can become malnourished as it may not provide the snake with enough nutrients.
Ball pythons eat once every 7 to 14 days. The older the snake the less often you need to feed it. While adults may feed just once every two weeks, juveniles may need to feed every week.
Small pinkie mice can cost anywhere from $1 to $2 a mouse. Large mice usually cost $4 to $5 a mouse. Large rats (which is suitable for large ball pythons), can cost as much as $20 per rat. These are packaged and sold in quantities of 20 to 50 mice or 5 to 10 large rats. The rodent needs to be kept frozen at all times. Only thaw the mice that you’ll be feeding to the snake.
Since adults feed just once every two weeks. 5 large rats can feed a large ball python for 10 weeks. 20 mice can feed a juvenile for up to 20 weeks depending on how many mice you feed them a week.
From here you can easily determine how much it cost to feed your pet snake.
It can cost you between $130 to $350 to feed a ball python yearly. As compared to other household pets this cost isn’t high.
You may also want to consider whether or not to buy in bulk. When acquired in bulk, the rodents are usually cheaper. However, they will require more storage space in your fridge. Also, if something goes wrong such as a power outage, you stand to lose a lot. If you have several snakes, then it may be better to buy in bulk. However, if you have a single snake, buying a whole year supply of frozen rodents may not be the best idea.
Summary Of Initial Costs
|Tank Size: REPTI ZOO 67 Gallon Reptile Glass Terrarium (67-gallon tank)||$410|
|Waste Remover: Fluker’s Eco Clean Reptile Waste Remover||$12|
|Hide: Pangea Reptile Hide Box||$16|
|Decor: Flexible Bend-A-Branch Jungle Vines||$16|
|Frozen/Live Rodents: Pinkie mice (25 pack)||$75|
|Water Dish: Exo Terra Water Dish||$20|
|Mister: Driew Plant Mister||$10|
|Humidity gauge: REPTI ZOO Reptile Terrarium Hygrometer||$16|
|Thermometer: Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Infrared Thermometer||$30|
|Heat Lamp: Wuhostam ceramic heat lamp||$16|
|Heat Fixture: Fluker’s Mini Sun Dome Reptile Lamp||$13|
|Under Tank heat pad: iPower Reptile Heat Pad||$22|
|White Light: Great Eagle A19 LED Light Bulb||$7|
|Temperature Controller (Thermostat): Inkbird Digital Temperature Controller||$50|
|Substrate: Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding||$5|
Initial estimated Cost of housing and feeding a ball python: $718
Of course, you can cut down costs by about $400 if you are on a budget. You can decide to keep the snake in a Rubbermaid container temporarily. Also, you can decide to use only under tank heating and no heat lamps.
The asking price of a ball python depends on the morph and usually its rarity. Rare morphs can be very expensive with asking prices of over $1000. However more common morphs cost under $100.
The price of the snake is not the only cost. Setting up the enclosure can cost more than acquiring the snake species, but not always. Feeding and potential medical expenses all add up to the cost. It is prudent to know the overall cost of a ball python before acquiring a pet snake.
If you have any questions or information, please leave a comment.