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How to Care For a Banana Ball Python: New Owners Guide

Banana Ball Pythons are a specific color morph that has an awesome look with the name banana coming from their coloration mix similar to the ripening of a banana

These strange snakes were purchased by American ball python breeders for a good chunk of change. Years of careful breeding proved this was a genuine morph, not just a mutation but one which could be inherited.

Will Slough first bred a banana morph in 2003 and sold snakes from the clutch for over $20,000. However, as sales increased in the 21st century, the price went from $20k to just $150.

Banana Ball python
Banana ball python
Do they make good pets?yes, great for beginners
Can you handle them?Yes they are easy to handle but give them time to adapt to their new environment (few weeks)
DietMostly mice and rats (sometimes chicks for diet enrichment)
Lifespan20 – 30 years with good husbandry
Do they bite?Rarely, but they might when stressed out. when stressed they curl into a ball so if you notice this back off and give them space
Humidity needs50%-60%
Heating needsCool side 75-80 Degrees Fahrenheit
Warm side 84-89 Degrees Fahrenheit
Basking temp 90-95 Degrees Fahrenheit
Tank sizeHatchlings 20 gallon tank
juveniles 40 gallon tank
Adult 120 gallon tank
Banana Ball python Quick Guide

They are not poisonous and suffocate their prey instead of poisoning with a bite.

Like many pythons this snake originates from West Africa, so they are used to having high temperatures and short rainy seasons. Their tank should be fairly large, just about equaling 60 gallons, have high temperature, humidity and have plenty of spaces to hide.

Many West African tribes consider the Banana Ball Pythons to be symbolic reptiles. If a ball python is killed, it is given an honorary funeral.

Banana ball pythons are definitely not used to being handled. You should ease them into being handled because you don’t want them to get stressed out.

The ‘ball’ part of their name is because of the position the snake takes when they are being defensive. They curl up into a little ball with their head in the center when they feel threatened or stressed.

Because they are easier to handle than other snakes they are considered a good choice for beginners, and because hey don’t have many health problems, they can live up to 30 years.

What We Like About Banana Ball Pythons

Pros

They have a beautiful banana-like appearance with yellow spots on a tan body
Ball pythons are low maintenance and easy for beginners to care for.
They have incredibly long lifespans, averaging between 20 to 30 years.

Cons

They require lots of practice and patience for them to be handled.
They eat a pure rodent diet, so if you do not like rodents, maybe this snake isn’t right for you.

Banana Snake Appearance

They are easily identified with a tan body and yellow spots.
Their coloration is due to an incomplete dominant genetic mutation.

They have very thick bodies, a small head, and very smooth scales. They shed every 4 to 6 weeks, and while shedding their scales will loosen and their eyes become milky.

The most common color is strong yellow patches and black freckles against a tan undercoat.

Banana Ball Python Size

A full size adult male is between 2ft to 3ft.

The only difference between males and females is their size. Males grow to be two or three feet in length and females are three to five feet.

They typically grow one foot each year for their first three years.

Banana Ball Python Diet

This snake is a carnivore so they only eat meat.

In the wild, they crawl along the desert floor and hunt for mice.

You should only feed Banana Ball Pythons rodents, the Size should not exceed the width of the snake.

You may want to give your ball python live rodents to “hunt”. This makes them feel like they are out in nature hunting for their food.

Banana Ball python Eating
Banana Ball python Eating

Baby pythons should be fed a single rodent every 5-7 days.
Adults need a single mouse every 7-10 days.

DO NOT USE YOUR HANDS WHEN GIVING YOUR SNAKE THE RODENT

It may take some time for the sake to eat its food, so wait about a week before removing the rodent. A water bowl is also critical for your ball python’s diet and health.

The bowl your snake will use the bowl to drink and soak. It should be large enough to soak the entire snake.

Provide fresh, clean water for your snake every day.

Ball Python Lifespan and Health

The banana ball python lives a very long life. Their lifespan is usually around 20 to 30 years with proper care.

Ball Pythons rarely get sick but can if they are not properly taken care of.


Respiratory infections are normally caused by a dirty cage or incorrect humidity levels.

It is characterized by open mouth breathing, wheezing sounds, or mucus from its nose or mouth.
Mouth Rot can be caused by bacterial infections in their mouth.

Anorexia can be common for ball pythons.

Banana Ball Python Enclosure

These pets are naturally found in the West African Desert, however they are very hardy and highly adaptable to life in captivity.

Snake Terrarium

Your enclosure should grow with your python. A hatchling’s enclosure should be 10-15 gallons, a juvenile’s 15-20 gallons, and an adult’s 120 gallons.

Banana ball pythons can live in many different types of enclosure. Just make sure it has good ventilation and a secure top.

Ball pythons like places to hide in captivity.

You should have at least two holes that the snake can hide in.

Heating their enclosure is very important. You can use heating mats, basking lights, or ceramic heat emitters.

The warmer side of the enclosure should be between 80-85°F and the cooler side 70-75°F. They should also have a basking spot with a temperature of 88-92°F. Having a designated basking spot is important to create a targeted hot spot and a temperature gradient. Use a white or clear light in the daytime and red light at night to provide your snake with a 12 hour day and night cycle.

The humidity of their tank should be kept between 50-60%.

Cleaning & Misting

Banana Ball Python
You should spot clean their enclosure each day removing any feces.

Healthy urates are white and pasty, and feces are light brown to black with a medium consistency and some hairs. Runny or clumpy feces could indicate an infection.

Typical Behavior

Banana Ball Python Curling Into A Ball
A happy and healthy banana snake will move slowly but with purpose.

When stressed, they will curl into a ball and hiss at the aggressor.
Ball pythons rarely bite but can lash out if stressed. They are not venomous, so if bitten, wash and disinfect the wound, treating it like a cut.

Banana ball pythons are very solitary snakes and only come together to mate.

Do Ball Pythons Like Being Handled?

Yes. Ball pythons are docile and will tolerate handling, but not too much handling.

When you first bring a python home, leave it alone for a week to get used to their new enclosure. Once it has become acclimated, handle once a week to build trust. Once you have gained trust you can start to handle it more frequently.

Start handling by washing your hands with soap and water.
When handling your banana ball python don’t squeeze it and remain fairly still.

Baby Banana Ball Python

Baby banana ball pythons are born from eggs.

These eggs are around three inches wide and weigh between 2.5.to 3.5 ounces. It takes 4 days for the egg to hatch.

The temperature of the tank will not affect the sex of the hatchlings, but a female will only brood eggs in 86-88°F heat and high humidity.

Breeding occurs annually and produces clutches of between 1-11 offspring.

Mating is very difficult for ball pythons and is typically triggered with environmental cues such as not eating and dropping temperature.

Once hatchlings leave the shell, they should be separated from each other to avoid fights.

Babies won’t eat until after their first shed at two weeks old.

Buyer’s Guide


It is very easy to find basic Banana Ball pythons.

If you do decide to buy one in person then just take your time and look around. A healthy snake will have clear eyes and a rounded body, without any bones showing.

Ask to handle the snake to get a feel for their temperament. A calm snake will move purposefully and be alert, frequently flicking its tongue.

If it’s stressed, it will curl up in a ball and hiss which is a constantly stressed animal.

How Much Is A Banana Ball Python?

The average banana ball python is $100-$150 for a baby. Adults sell for $200-$300. The most expensive banana snake can cost $3,000.

Summary

The banana ball python is the second most popular ball python morph and is attractive for its strong yellow blotches and dark freckles.
They are very beautiful snakes that are great for beginners.

Make sure your pet is eating a regular diet of rodents and has a warm enclosure with a temperature gradient of 75 – 96°F and a humidity of 50 – 60%.

They are usually calm snakes, but don’t enjoy being handled too much.

When purchasing the banana snake, make sure they are calm and alert.

Let us know if you have any more questions!