The banana ball python, banana snakes, or banana royal pythons as some people like to call it, is a snake species endemic to Africa.
These are ball python morphs that are arguably the most popular pet snakes available in the market. The banana ball python is a naturally occurring base morph of over 5000 different morphs overall based on color and body patterns. The banana ball python sports a yellow base color with a light cream or pink pattern making for a very beautiful sight to behold.
What tops off their appearance is the presence of small black spots. This then justifies the banana moniker, as the spots resemble those seen in a banana turning overripe. A banana snake indeed.
With a great look and overall friendly nature, you can’t go wrong with having this for a pet. To get you started on your pet rearing journey, here we’ve compiled for you the ultimate care sheet for the banana ball python.
Do Banana Ball Pythons Make Good Pets?
Banana ball pythons have created for themselves a reputation of being the quintessential pet snake in America, and for good reason. Snake owners all over the world cannot overstate how the banana ball pythons make for great beginner pets. If you find yourself at a snake pet store, you’ll be surprised to see how ball pythons make up the bulk of snake pet offerings all over America.
A pet banana ball python is a welcome initial first pet for anyone looking to start a snake pet hobby. With their docile nature and relatively low-maintenance lifestyle, these ball python morphs may just be your gateway pet for the rest of the Python or snake offerings should you want to further this hobby.
The Temperament Of A Banana Ball Python
The banana snake has a gentle and docile nature. For that reason, they can be a good choice for a pet snake as they pose no real dangers to its carers.
The ball python is a gentle and calm snake making the banana ball python easy to handle. They also do not like conflict and a python coils into a little ball hence their name. Being prey to larger predators in the wild, they tend to hide their heads as a defensive response to avoid serious injury.
These are nocturnal animals as you can see from the vertical slits of their eyes. This means that they can be very quiet and sedentary in the day. At night, the ball python is relatively more active and will be seen up and about within its enclosure.
One particular issue with the temperament of ball pythons is that they can be very picky eaters. This largely depends on what they have gotten used to initially, say if the original breeders fed only live mice. Later on, if you want to transition them to eating frozen or thawed they may not readily eat them.
The exception to this rule may be the baby ball pythons that have yet to grow accustomed to their environments. Fresh from the breeding grounds, these young snakes tend to be more aggressive and defensive in response to the surroundings but give them the right care and time. They will come around eventually.
Banana Ball Python Sizes and Estimated Life Span
The banana ball python is a base morph of over a thousand different other ball python morphs. As such, its characteristics as to size and estimated life span are generally similar.
The ball python can grow to an average length of three to four feet long. However, some have grown to up to five to six feet long for other breeders. This is all a case to case variance of the breed and plays into the choice of enclosure for your would-be pet.
Ball pythons live a long life and if you like the notion of keeping a long term pet, then the banana ball python may be perfect for you. On average, the life span of these ball pythons can reach up to 30 years or more. Based on the current records on ball python life spans, the oldest known ball python life span is 47 years old.
The Optimal Diet For A Banana Ball Python
A banana ball python mostly have a diet of rodents in the wild. The same can be applied to them in captivity. They prefer to eat mice as these are small enough for a ball python to consume.
Mice are readily available online or at the local pet store. Some find it advantageous to buy these online as they are more readily available in bulk this way as opposed to those in the actual store. Nevertheless, it’s not usually too difficult to procure these. These are our recommended pinkies for younger snakes, these are our recommended adult mice, and these are our recommended fully grown rats depending on the size of your snake.
This now brings us to the main drawback of caring for a banana ball python. The ball python is known to be a very picky eater. Though many of these pets come with feeding guides, the ball python can be difficult to feed depending on how it was initially fed by the breeders.
Pet owners usually feed ball pythons with mice. These can either be live or thawed, depending on how the pet was trained early on. In general, you want to be feeding the python with a mouse approximately the same size as its girth. As your pet grows, you will want to adjust the size of what you’re feeding it like bigger mice or eventually, rats.
Whenever they finish feeding, make sure not to disturb or handle them until after several hours. Some owners even suggest not to touch them for a day or two. Whatever guidelines you follow, avoid handling these pets at this time to avoid any untoward indigestion issues. They’re likely to regurgitate if you disturb them while they attempt to digest the food.
Ball pythons are usually frequent feeders. However, a ball python’s mating season falls between November up to the first quarter of the following year. It’s usually during this time when you’ll notice a change in their feeding habits. Offering mice to them normally does not stimulate them to eat.
New pet owners may be distressed with these picky eating habits and our advice is mainly to observe for the first few months. Remember that ball pythons can go a number of months without eating. However, if the python starts to lose weight or mass or if there are changes in its behaviors, you may want to bring it to a vet for a check-up.
Giving your pet snake the right kind of water is paramount to its good health and longevity. You want to be giving your pet good quality water such as authentic mineral water. However, if that’s not available, you can give tap water but make sure to treat it with a water conditioner first to remove chlorine and ammonia. These substances are harmful to your pet
Tips For Keeping A Banana Ball Python In Captivity
Banana ball pythons are relatively easy to care for in captivity. This is what makes them very amenable as entry-level pets for those looking to start on a ball python pet collection.
Handling Tips For The Banana Ball Python
The banana ball python is one cool cat and so should you be when you’re handling this good boy. Being one of the most docile pets you can ever have, its such a breeze to handle these pets once they’ve grown accustomed to you.
One thing to remember is to watch their head. Banana ball pythons are usually head shy so approaching it from the head can be very stressful for them. Instead, slowly introduce yourself from behind by gently stroking its body first with your fist or curled fingers. Early in your relationship, the snake might hiss or become defensive of you as you do this but don’t worry and just soldier on with frequently stroking him so he grows accustomed to you.
After gently stroking the ball python and he starts relaxing on you, then you can start picking it up with your hands. Again, handle him mostly in the middle of its body as it is heaviest in this part. Support him in such a way that you’re hands are holding onto his entire weight. This gives him a stronger sense of security and is more likely to grow accustomed to you if you do so.
Instanced where you shouldn’t handle the snake is after feeding as well as when it is shedding. Handling it at this time is ill-advised and may be a detrminental experience for your pet.
Shedding is an important part of the life cycle of the banana ball python and its ability to do so during regular intervals is a sign of good health. There are three important steps to the shedding: (1) Pink belly, (2) dull color, and (3) blue eyes. Shedding usually occurs as a response to how much the snake is feeding and growing.
Remember that their shedding should come off as one whole beautiful piece. If it’s coming off in smaller pieces, the humidity may be too low so consider increasing that from 60-65% to about 75% to facilitate smoother shedding experience.
The Natural Habitat Of A Banana Ball Python
The natural habitat of Banana Ball Python is those of the savannahs, sparsely wooded areas, or grasslands of Central Africa. Examples of countries in this region are Senegal, Mali, or Guinea. That is to say, the ball pythons are well attuned to warm climates with lots of sun.
These areas are known for having relatively warm temperatures. Temperature can range from 65 F to 104 F. There’s not much rain so temperature levels remain warm most of the day. Ball pythons are relatively adaptable, however, and their cold-blooded nature makes them adept at extremes of temperature.
As with all pet snakes, you want to be able to recreate their natural habitats. That entails a properly sized enclosure, with sufficient temperature gradient, correct humidity and enough hiding places for the snake to put its body into.
Proper Type And Sizing Of Enclosure
It starts with a proper enclosure. You can opt to use either glass, plastic, or PVC tank. The type of enclosure isn’t as important as the size. Many younger banana ball pythons will be fine in something like the Hagen Exo Terra Terrarium but older, and fully grown ball pythons will likely need a specialist or custom build terrarium to ensure it needs their requirements.
If you’re getting a brand new ball python, rough estimates suggest you to start with a 20-gallon or 30-gallon tank. Because these ball pythons have a predicted size growth, investing in a large enough tank may alleviate the need for upgrading to a larger one if your start with say a 10-gallon tank.
Choice Of Subtrate
After you’ve gotten the enclosure down, it’s time to decide on the appropriate substrate. You want to choose an appropriate substrate that can hold moisture and keep humidity. It’s essential to the python habitat to recreate the natural environment of the animal in order to ensure good overall health of your pet.
There are many different types of substrates but we here prefer to use a high-quality coco fiber substrate mixed with a small amount high-quality cypress mulch. This combination provides just the right amount of moisture hold and the mix is just right so that it doesn’t become damp. This substrate is also small enough so as to not cause impaction in case the pet swallows the substrate.
It’s also important to get the substrate level right for the banana ball python. Ball pythons, in general are not burrowing snakes so you won’t need substrate to be too deep. However, you will need to consider certain factors in order to decide what is the optimal level. Having more substrate may interfere with creating a heat gradient with your heat matte (more on this later). For that reason, we recommend substrate levels of an inch up to two inches. If you’re expecting to place more decorations in the cage, you might want to bump up the levels to four to six inches.
It’s important to take care of your banana ball pythons in order to prevent complications and guarantee their longevity as pets. Choose to use only quality substrates for use in your enclosures and prevent skin rot or inadvertent impaction. Substrates to avoid for a ball python enclosure are cedar, pine, walnut, and sand. If you follow these simple guides, you’re well on your way to a happy python.
Once you have the substrate down, it’s time to fill out that enclosure with fixtures meant to provide the python with much-needed hiding spaces or resting areas.
A decent hide box is essential for re-creating the snake’s natural habitat. Actually, the more small spaces you provide the better, as long as the enclosure can accommodate it. The hide box provides the python an area to hide completely and feel secure. This is good for the overall health of the python.
In terms of placement, you want to put the hide box on one end of the enclosure. The hiding area should coincide with the designated hotspot, which we will discuss in more detail later.
Another component you will need within the enclosure is the water bowl. In choosing a size, you want a bowl where the snake can fit in and get out easily. You want this bowl to also be heavy enough so the snake cannot turn it over.
Get The Temperature And Humidity Just Right
A python is a cold-blooded animal that needs to sufficiently thermoregulate using its environment. You will need to recreate this temperature gradient when building your snake habitat.
You’ll need to create a hotspot within the enclosure. Usually, you’d want to place your heat source to coincide with the primary hiding place that you’ve already placed on one end of the enclosure. This hiding place gives the snake an area to hide and at the same time gives it enough heat to make its stay comfortable.
A heat matt or a tank heater can be readily available in most specialty pet stores. You will want to place this underneath the enclosure itself and not within directly underneath the substrate to provide just the right amount of warmth. Temperatures can get too high this way and can potentially harm your pet.
You want to aim for a temperature of 90F on the hotspot and then 80 F on the cool side, creating a temperature gradient across the enclosure of about 10 F. You should not let the temperature drop below 75 F. There is usually no need for heat lamps because ball pythons are not basking animals anyway.
Humidity level is also an important condition to maintain within the enclosure. Provided you already have the ideal substrate, you can use simple hygrometers to check the overall humidity within the habitat. You want to aim for a humidity level between 60-65% on regular days. Humidity levels also play a role during the shedding cycles so be sure to increase this at those times.
Are Banana Snakes Dangerous?
Banana ball pythons may look intimidating but they are considered one of the most docile reptiles known to man. Because of this, the ball python truly can be a great choice for a pet because of their quiet nature.
Banana ball pythons are also essentially constrictors, which mean they are non-venomous and pose no danger to humans. They only bite as a means of getting their prey. Ball pythons will then proceed to constrict their prey using their coiled bodies to suffocate them before eating.
Do Banana Snakes Bite?
Banana ball pythons do not usually bite. Though they are carnivores, they do not usually engage in biting as pet snakes. This is unless of course that a snake may become confused of the current situation. Otherwise, their calm and docile natures don’t usually preclude biting.
Do note however that mistakes in feeding can lead you to get bitten by the ball python. If you’re not using tongs and feed these snakes by hand, you can get bitten as the ball python takes the food from you. Snake keepers should always maintain good food handling practices to avoid these complications.
As a ball python keeper, it is an inevitable possibility to get bitten. These bites are not deadly though so its nothing to be seriously worried about. It’s all about gentle and proper handling of the snake so that it won’t get surprised or provoked to defend itself against you.
The bites also do not hurt much so its best not to panic when it bites you. As a constrictor, the snake will attempt to wrap its body around your hand in an attempt to feed on you. Keep your cool and wait for the snake to let go.
Usually the ball python will let go after you’ve remained stationary for a time. The ball python will eventually realize its mistake and will move on to do other things.
How Much Does A Banana Snake Cost?
Banana ball pythons are relatively popular in the pet snake market as most specialty stores carry them frequently. Online and actual stores may carry these snakes and will sell for their regular price. However, if you happen upon a reptile convention, you’re more likely to find a bargain on these well-loved pets.
A regular banana ball python will cost somewhere along the $250 price tag. Some stores offer these as either hatchlings or juveniles with a price range of $230 to just under $300. Purchasing adult versions may entail a higher price tag. Buying online can also be more expensive, setting you back some $1000.
Rarer variants of the banana python can be purchased at higher price points, such as the Super Banana Ball Python priced at $700. These variants have more pronounced yellow color compared to others.
Female banana ball pythons are also more expensive compared to their regular male counterparts. The banana ball python population is mostly male and because of their finicky genetics, females are harder to come by.