20-40 gallon for juvenile ball pythons
40+ gallon for adult ball pythons (ideally larger for female)
As you might’ve guessed, your snake’s enclosure is pretty important. There’s quite a few options you have to pick from. We’ll focus on glass and plastic enclosures, but will also dabble in wooden enclosure options too.
Firstly, some pros and cons to each.
Glass arguably looks the best, but holds less humidity than the other options. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on the climate you live in. Heating sources are primarily made for glass enclosures, especially UTH (under tank heaters) or heat mats. In fact, the packaging of UTH include warnings as to not use them on anything other than glass. These frequently come with screened tops, which release more moisture and heat than plastic. Many people argue that glass enclosures are the worst, and should never be used, but I, and many others, have had great success with them.
This holds much more humidity and heat inside, which may be ideal for you. It’s also the most lightweight and cheapest, as you can find these for just a few bucks. However, let’s be honest... they’re pretty ugly and plastic is never very easy to see into. You probably won’t want to use this option if you’re interested in easily observing your snake without taking them out, or if you were thinking of building a fancy vivarium.
These are the most difficult to get your hands on (in the United States, at least) and you can almost always expect to build this yourself. That may be a great option if you want something truly custom and to your liking. It won’t be as cheap as a tub, but in some cases, may be cheaper than a glass enclosure. Heating wooden enclosures are possible, but more difficult than the other choices, since heat mats do not work through wood, unless you choose to build the enclosure out of PVC, or have a PVC/plastic base. Wooden enclosures usually give the ball python more coverage than any other animal, because the siding is not transparent, compared to a clear enclosure.
These are the most common enclosures in Europe, as I've been told by my European community, while glass are rarely available!
Just how large should ball python enclosures be? It depends on a few variables, including the size of your snake, and whether you're interested in upgrading your snake overtime, or simply getting the ideal enclosure that works for your ball python once full size too. A juvenile ball python could technically get by in something as small as a 10 gallon, but for a very short period of time, so I really don't feel it's worth it to start in something this small. Looking at a 20-40 gallon will be ideal. The larger the enclosure, the more difficult it will be to maintain (maybe more difficult to find your snake too...) however, many snakes can really take advantage of additional space, as long as there is coverage and hiding places.
Adult male ball pythons can thrive in enclosures equivalent to 40 gallons or larger. Adult female ball pythons may even need something greater than this size, as they grow bigger than males.
Can snake enclosures be too large? Many people will say yes, but if you ask me, there is no limit as to just how large your animal's home can be. I did a video on this!