Last Updated on January 7, 2023 by ellen
If you’re wondering about the best bedding for ball pythons, learn more about the best ball python substrate options.
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Best Bedding for Ball Pythons
There are many different substrates for ball pythons. The choice of one in your snake’s enclosure will depend on personal preference and climate.
Ball python substrates will help absorb moisture to inhibit mold growth. And it will help keep humidity levels at the proper level. They should mimic what might be found on the forest floor.
Zoo Med Forest Floor is ultimately the best substrate for a ball python. You can buy it here.
What is a ball python?
A ball python is a type of constrictor snake native to Africa. The scientific name for the ball python is Python regius. They are also referred to as royal pythons. Ball pythons are not venomous and are relatively small compared to other types of snakes.
As their name suggests, ball pythons like to curl up into a tight ball. When they feel threatened, they will coil around themselves with their head tucked in the center of the coil.
Ball pythons are popular pets because they are relatively small and docile. They can live for 20-30 years with proper care.
What is the best substrate for a ball python?
So, what is the best substrate for a ball python? Keep reading for my suggestions.
The best substrate for a ball python will absorb moisture and help keep humidity levels at the proper level. It should also mimic what might be found on the forest floor.
There are many natural substrates available, so choosing one you feel comfortable with is essential. Some more popular substrates include newspaper, paper towels, cypress mulch, and reptile carpet.
If you are using these in a homemade ball python enclosure, make sure that the enclosure’s material follows these same guidelines.
How often should I change my ball python’s substrate?
You should change your ball python’s substrate every one to two weeks. This will help keep the enclosure clean and free of bacteria. It’s also a good idea to spot clean the substrate daily.
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Cypress mulch as a substrate
Cypress mulch is an excellent substrate for ball pythons. It’s absorbent and helps keep humidity levels at the proper level. Cypress mulch also mimics what might be found on the forest floor.
Cypress mulch is available in pet stores and online. It’s important to choose a mulch that is free of chemicals and pesticides. Find it here.
Cypress mulch should be changed every one to two weeks. It’s also a good idea to spot clean the substrate daily.
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Coconut fiber as a substrate for ball pythons
Coconut fiber is another excellent substrate for ball pythons. You can use coconut husk as a ball python substrate because it is absorbent and helps maintain humidity.
It has a very natural appearance and makes an ideal snake substrate. Coconut husk is available in pet stores and online. It’s essential to choose a coconut fiber that is free of chemicals and pesticides.
In case of accidental ingestion, you want to be sure that the substrate has no impact on your ball python’s health.
Can I use pine shavings for my ball python?
Pine shavings are not recommended as ball python bedding. Pine and cedar shavings can cause respiratory problems in snakes.
They can also irritate a snake’s skin and should be avoided. If you’re looking for a natural substrate, cypress mulch or coconut fiber are both excellent choices.
Can I use potting soil as a ball python substrate?
So, you can use potting soil as a ball python substrate, but it’s not the best option.
It can be expensive, and it’s challenging to find a brand that is free of chemicals and pesticides. Soil also doesn’t absorb wetness well, so it’s not ideal for environments with high humidity.
Coconut husk or coconut fiber is a better option to inhibit mold growth in your ball python cage. Ball pythons require just the right substrate to manage humidity levels.
Can I use a paper substrate as snake bedding?
As snake bedding, you can use a paper substrate, such as newspaper or paper towels. Paper bedding is absorbent and help keep humidity levels at the proper level.
Paper substrates are also relatively inexpensive and easy to find. They should be changed every one to two weeks. It’s also a good idea to spot clean paper bedding as needed.
Paper towels are affordable and don’t cause problems with your ball python’s heat pits. But, the best ball python substrate will be one that is more similar to their life in the wild.
You can use a paper towel base below other types of ball python beddings.
How thick should ball python substrate be?
The thickness of the substrate will depend on the size of the ball python enclosure. For a 10-gallon tank, a layer of two to three inches should be sufficient. For a 20-gallon tank, a layer of three to four inches is best.
It’s important to choose a substrate that is absorbent and won’t mold or mildew. Cypress mulch, coconut fiber, and reptile carpet are an ideal substrate choice for ball pythons or other snakes.
What is the best way to clean ball python substrate?
The best way to clean ball python substrate is to spot clean it daily and change it completely every one to two weeks. This will help keep the enclosure clean and free of bacteria.
To spot clean the ball python substrate, remove any waste or soiled areas and replace with fresh substrate. To completely change the substrate, remove all of the old substrate and replace it with fresh substrate.
What are bioactive substrates?
So, bioactive substrates are substrates that contain live plants and beneficial bacteria. These substrates help create a naturalistic environment for reptiles and can help reduce the amount of work needed to maintain the enclosure.
Bioactive substrates are more expensive than traditional substrates, but they can be a great option for experienced reptile owners.
The best terrarium for ball pythons is one created as a bioactive terrarium.
What is the most hygienic substrate?
The most hygienic substrate is one that is easy to clean and free of bacteria. Cypress mulch, coconut substrate, and reptile carpet are all good choices. It’s important to spot clean the substrate daily and change it completely every one to two weeks.
Ball python cages can be a breeding ground for holding humidity at unsafe levels. Too high humidity levels can cause mold growth.
What are bad substrates?
Bad substrates are those that are difficult to clean or that harbor bacteria. Potting soil, sand, and gravel are all bad substrate choices. These substrates can be difficult to clean and cause reptiles health problems.
Choosing a substrate that is easy to clean and free of harmful bacteria is essential. Cypress mulch, coco fiber, and reptile carpet are all good choices. You should be able to find these at your local pet store.
Zoo Med Forest Floor is ultimately the best substrate for your ball python. You can buy it here. It’s highly rated by ball python keepers to use with their caged animals.
It works well for maintaining humidity and is one of the best loose substrate that holds humidity at the proper level. And this snake bedding absorbs odors well in your snake’s enclosures.
Finally, if you need reptile health information, speak to a certified veterinary professional. Ask other snake keepers you know who they go to.
Best tanks for ball pythons
You will need a tank that is at least 85 gallons. Look for one that is specifically for reptiles.
Can ball pythons share a tank?
It is not recommended to keep two pythons in one tank. It can lead to stress and canibalism.
Stay tuned for a post on how to bathe a ball python.
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Ellen runs a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont. She has experience with a variety of small animals, dogs and cats. She has also cared for ducks, chickens and rabbits. Combined, she has over 20 years of experience in pet care and pet sitting.