The Ultimate Pastel Ball Python Care Sheet!

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Reptiles are not usually the conventional choice for beginner pets. After all, reptiles have not been known to be friendly animals. In fact, a number of the most dangerous animals in existence belong to the animal class of reptiles.

But among the group of reptiles is the ball python or royal python, a popular and well-loved snake that has taken the reptile-loving community by storm. With its signature calm temperament and a large variety of morphs available in the market, there is no greater option than ball pythons.

Among the morphs available, the Pastel Ball Pythons are one of the most popular in the marketplace for reptiles.

What exactly is a pastel ball python you might ask? What sets it apart from the other morphs or ball pythons in the market? Why is the pastel ball python one of the best pets available?

Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the Ultimate Pastel Ball Python Care Sheet for your perusing pleasure. After you’re done reading through our guide, you’ll be sure to have the pastel ball python on your shortlist as the next pet to bring home for your reptile-loving sensibilities.

Do Pastel Ball Pythons Make Good Pets?

Is Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player of all time?

Some things in this world are simply left to the better judgment of people. Many times, it’s a matter of sticking to the facts or adhering to certain well-established standards in shaping our judgments on whether something is true or not. The same can be said about pastel ball pythons.

For the most part, ball pythons and their morphs have singlehandedly driven the market of pet reptiles to new heights. This meteoric rise in popularity is a testament to what ball pythons have done for the pet culture as a whole.

You need only to visit a reptile pet convention and be amazed at how rich and numerous the ball python market is. From pastel to axanthic ball pythons, banana to bamboo ball pythons, or albino to spider ball pythons, there’s a ball python morph for everyone and anyone looking to have reptiles they can cherish.

Ask this question to a long time pet owner or a seasoned ball python breeder and you will be treated to an endless litany of what makes a pastel ball python so great. With a docile-nature, perfect size for captivity, high adaptability, and a variety of beautiful morphs, what’s not to love about the pastel and other ball pythons? After all, ball pythons are what give reptiles a good name.

Going back to the question, do pastel ball pythons make good pets? Are pastel morphs any good?

If you’ve made it this far, I’m sure you already know the answer to that. And as you read and discover more about the wonders of ball pythons, that confident “Yes” will become a resounding “YES”!

How Can You Tell A Ball Python From A Pastel?

Thinking about pastel will surely remind you of rich colors as in childhood. For the most part, the pastel python is a great example of rich colors among reptiles.

The pastel is a type of ball python that’s considered a basic morph. It is also one of the oldest available morphs of these reptiles in the market. What makes the pastel one of the important morphs is how the pastel genes improve upon almost all the other morphs when combined.

Regular ball pythons will usually have a base color of brown, black or dark grey with areas of yellow, gold, or light brown across the rest of the body. What differentiates the pastel morphs are the overall brighter colors, especially the yellow pigmentation. The pastel morphs will also have high degrees of blushing across the color patterns as well as a characteristic faded head pattern.

Other characteristics unique to the pastel morphs include the pale eyes and white lips. A pastel will have a very clean underbelly that sets them apart from other ball pythons in the market. Truly the pastel is a visual splendor worthy of your attention.

Do Pastel Ball Pythons Lose Their Color?

The pastel morph is one of the more visually stunning reptiles available in the market. These morphs are characterized by bright colors and will make you seriously consider how reptiles can actually be beautiful animals.

In that regard, you need to set certain expectations when getting a pastel morph because these morphs tend to lose their color as they grow older. The term used is “brown-out” wherein these morphs display dulling of their original bright colors.

Some morphs, however, are more resilient than others and retain colors better than the other reptiles.

The Temperament Of A Pastel Ball Python

Pastel Ball Pythons are still ball pythons in essence. Having said that, these reptiles have the same characteristics as many of the other ball pythons in the market.

The pastel ball python morphs are considered one of the most docile reptiles both in the wild and even in captivity. Their calm and subdued nature is exemplified in their signature behavior when threatened: they coil up into a ball and hide their head. This is where ball pythons take their name and it is a contrasting behavior to all the other aggressive reptiles in existence.

Adult ball pythons are not at all aggressive. As hatchlings when these reptiles have yet to acclimate with their environments, they will display aggressive behaviors similar with other reptiles in an attempt to establish safety and security for themselves. They soon outgrow this, however, and will only eventually only seek out food when they are hungry. As adults, many ball pythons will adopt the signature docile nature they are more popularly known for.

Pastel Ball Python Sizes And Estimated Life Span

Ball pythons are predictable reptiles and this characteristic has added to their reputation as amazing pets in captivity. Depending on whether your ball python is a male or female, these reptiles can grow to a known average. Female ball pythons grow to 3 to 5 feet while male ball pythons grow to an average of 2 to 3 feet. A length of 5 feet is already considered big by market standards.

There are various reports as to the largest recorded length for a ball python to be at 6 and 1/2 feet but there are no official records to confirm this. That was a relatively large snake by ball pythons’ standards with an alleged weight of 8100 grams. For comparison, the average weight of these reptiles is at 4000 grams.

If you’re looking to be keeping a pet for a long period of time, ball pythons certainly have that going for them. These reptiles can last an average of 30 years if you follow the appropriate care of these pets as detailed in a comprehensive guide such as this. In the wild, the lifespan is much shorter and believed to be at 15 years due to the harsh living conditions. The longest recorded age for ball pythons is at 47 years.

Size and lifespan are more or less consistent across all the ball python morphs. The pastel ball pythons are no exception to this you can be sure that they grow just the right size and conveniently fit in the habitat you decide to keep for them at your home. Their long lifespans mean these pets will keep you company for a considerable amount of time should you put in the effort to their appropriate care.

The Natural Habitat Of A Pastel Ball Python

Ball pythons are endemic primarily in West Central Africa but they have been found variably in Australia and other similar countries with warm climates.

These reptiles can be specifically found in shrublands, grasslands, and savannahs where there are many nooks and crannies for them to hide in.

As with other reptiles, ball pythons are cold-blood which means they thermoregulate based on their environment. These reptiles are also nocturnal, meaning they rest most of the day and come out at night to explore and hunt.

Tips For Keeping A Pastel Ball Python In Captivity

It’s important to have a good working knowledge of the natural habitat of the ball pythons. This directly plays into creating the ideal habitat for these reptiles if you plan on bring them home as your pet. Emulating the important components of their habitat is paramount to ensuring the healthy disposition of the pastel ball pythons.

Enclosure For Ball Pythons

It all starts with a properly sized enclosure. As a general rule of thumb, you need to create a habitat that is just as big as the ball pythons. Knowing the average size of these reptiles, many recommend using a 20-gallon or 30-gallon tank. Though this size may be too big especially if you got your pastel as hatchlings, these reptiles grow fast enough and usually fall within just the right fit for these enclosures.

To recreate the natural habitat of the pastel ball python, you will need to decide on an appropriate substrate. Ball pythons are not burrowing reptiles so in general, you want to allocate enough substrate that amounts to at least an inch or two inches thick across the entirety of the enclosure for a basic set-up. You wouldn’t want a substrate that’s too thick as this might make heating the enclosure difficult. As you go along and place more components within the enclosure beyond the basic set-up, you may need to increase the amount of substrate.

Substrates For Reptiles: Which Is Right For The Pastel?

There are many available substrates in the market right now, however, what we recommend you use are the coco fiber substrates. These are excellent in holding moisture and keeping humidity levels just right. This substrate is also small enough so as not to cause impaction in your ball pythons in case they swallow it. Best practices show that mixing cypress mulch into this substrate has shown good results in creating a substrate that’s just right.

Enclosure Components For Reptiles: Pastel Considerations

There are essential components to be placed within the pastel ball pythons’ enclosure. One is a hiding place. Pastel ball pythons need to feel secure through hiding within their habitat. A hiding place is essential to their overall health. You will want to place this hiding place/box over on one end of the enclosure corresponding to the hotspot, which we’ll discuss later.

Another essential component is the water bowl. You will want to get a bowl that’s heavy enough so that ball pythons cannot turn it over. You also want it to be just the right size so that these reptiles can fit in and get out easily. Remember also to serve water that’s safe for consumption in reptiles. Tap water can be used so long as you use a water conditioner such as Reptisafe to remove chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia in water.

Cold-Blooded Reptiles: Getting A Killer Temperature

Reptiles are cold-blooded and the ball pythons are no exception. For that reason, these reptiles will require a consistent warm temperature within the enclosure. Using heat mats placed underneath the enclosure and right below their hiding place will provide these reptiles the necessary temperature to thermoregulate in captivity. Aim for a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit over the hotspot.

Shedding And Reptiles: Pastel Considerations

Note also that the pastel ball python, much like other ball pythons, will undergo a shedding process from time to time. There are three important phases to the shedding process: (1) pink belly, (2) dull color, and (3) blue eyes. There’s no definite way to tell when ball pythons start the shedding process but this will depend on the overall care you provide and how much you’re feeding these reptiles.

It’s also important to give extra attention to ball pythons during their shedding process in that adjusting the environment can optimize the outcomes. Ball pythons in the wild will tend to look for hiding places that have the correct amount of humidity to facilitate a better shedding process for them. For ball pythons in captivity, you will need to increase the humidity for your ball pythons to emulate this environment.

Standard humidity levels in ball python enclosures are usually along the 60-65% range. During the shedding period, you will want to increase this to around 70-75%. The shedding should come off of the ball pythons as one whole piece. If you notice that the shedding is coming off in pieces, that means the humidity is too low and that you will need to adjust.

The Optimal Diet For A Pastel Ball Python

Ball pythons mainly thrive on a diet of rodents in the wild. In captivity, this is largely the same. These reptiles can live on a largely rodent rich diet and it won’t ever be a big problem for caring for these reptiles. Mice can be easily bought online or in local stores but online is usually where you can several dozens of mice at a time.

As a general rule, you want to be feeding these reptiles with mice whose size relatively equals the girth of your pastel morph. Mice will usually be appropriate for this type of feeding but as your reptiles start to grow, you may need to upgrade their diet to rats. Whenever you finish feeding these reptiles, be sure to leave them alone for a day so they won’t regurgitate what they just ate.

You can feed the ball pythons with either live or frozen mice depending on how these reptiles have been trained in terms of feeding. Take note that the pastel ball python can be a picky eater and this can be a source of stress for concerned pet owners. This may be especially apparent during breeding season wherein these snakes can go on weeks or even months without eating.

Reptiles aren’t known for being picky eaters and this can be the detrimental factor not in favor of the ball pythons as pets, the pastel included. Reptiles are known to be voracious eaters and ball pythons stand as one of the more peculiar reptiles in this regard. When preparing to care for a pastel as a pet, read up extensively on proper veterinary care for reptiles with regards to their diet so that you as a pet owner will know how to give appropriate care for these reptiles.

This can be normal for ball pythons in general and should not be cause for worry. However, when these reptiles start showing a decrease in weight or are displaying rather different behaviors, it may be time to bring it to a vet for further evaluation.

Do Pastel Ball Pythons Bite?

It’s not uncommon for newcomers to ask whether pastel ball pythons bite. After all, considering a reptile for a pet is a rather unusual option and preconceived opinions make sense to consider whether a snake will bite.

In the same way pet dogs bite, so too do pet snakes. Suffice to say, pastel ball pythons do not bite harm you. Ball pythons, when acting as predators, do not bite as a means of hunting or killing their prey. These reptiles are constructors, meaning they wrap around their prey and suffocate them before consuming them as food.

If you ever do get bitten, that is completely on you. Ball pythons will only ever bite if they feel threatened or confused. Also, if you adopt poor feeding practices (i.e. giving food using your hands), you will get bitten. Ball pythons generally have poor eyesight and can mistake your hand for the mouse you were trying to feed it with.

When you get bitten by pastel ball pythons, these are minimally painful and are not venomous so there’s no need to worry about it. These bites, however, can have a very strong grip on you. If you try to struggle against the snake, it’s reflexes trigger to the ball pythons to tighten their hold on you.

In these situations, the trick is to not panic and keep cool. You will need to trick your ball python that you’re not the prey it thinks you are. If you don’t struggle and keep relatively still, these reptiles will realize that it has mistakenly taken you for prey and will start to let go. You are just left with small indentations of its teeth on where it bit you. No harm, no foul.

Are Pastel Ball Pythons Dangerous?

Given that so many reptiles can be dangerous creatures, can the same be said about pastel ball pythons?

If you’ve been reading up to this point, the obvious answer is no. These reptiles are no more dangerous than the labrador or Cheshire cat you have at home for so many years. If anything, the pastel python is the mascot for pet reptiles well suited for keeping as a pet at home.

A pastel possesses a docile and calm nature that makes them optimal as beginner pets for anyone wanting to adopt snakes at their home. Their signature “balling up” maneuver to hide its head from certain threats is proof that this pet is more likely to protect itself than attack you. And the older this morph gets, the more docile it becomes.

Rest assured that if you’re getting ball pythons for pets you’ll be treated to one of the most carefree pets you can ever have the pleasure of owning.

How Much Does A Pastel Snake Cost?

The pastel is one of the more popular morphs of ball pythons in the market right now. As such, they can be bought for a relatively cheap price compared to other reptiles and morphs.

Pastel morphs over on the Morph Market will cost an average of $70 to $80, with the cheapest amounting to $50. It’s when these basic morphs are bred with other reptiles of other morphs do the price climb to expensive heights.

For example, a pastel leopard hurricane clown morph from J. Kobulka Reptiles will set you back a whopping $9000. These are expensive reptiles.

What Can You Breed With A Pastel Ball Python?

The great thing about the pastel is how it improves upon all the other morphs’ characteristics when bred with it. Truly, ball pythons are one of the most diverse group of reptiles in the market and you will not be left wanting in diversity.

For example, a pastel bred with another pastel can produce the super pastel, whose extra yellow color makes it one of the most alluring reptiles available.

A pastel combined with pinstripe ball pythons creates the lemon blast ball pythons. A pastel bred with spider ball pythons produces the bumblebee ball pythons.

The pastel truly has a special place in breeders hearts as it ably enhances the overall outcome of the other ball pythons they are bred with.

Image Licensing

Shared under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Brett Levin – Pastel Ball Python – https://flic.kr/p/sk65Fx