How large of an enclosure does my ball python need? There is a lot of debate regarding this topic, so I will do my best to answer this question objectively. There are two schools of thought on this topic, the first being; Give a ball python as much room as possible. Ball pythons ideally need living arrangements that allow them to fully stretch their bodies. A hatchling ball python that measures 16" in length should have an environment where one side is 16" long. The problem with this arises with large adult female balls that can get 5 feet or longer, that their enclosure would have to be 5 feet long. The second school maintains that the larger the environment, the more chance of the snake becoming stressed and stop eating. Since ball pythons are not arboreal (tree-dwelling) snakes, they spend most of their time underground or hidden for security, and would rather be secure in a smaller environment. Ball pythons under 500g can easily and comfortably be kept in a "Shoebox" Rubbermaid (16" X 8") and an adult kept in a "sweaterbox" Rubbermaid (23" X16") or an "underbed" Rubbermaid (34" X 17").   What is the best substrate for ball pythons? This is a personal choice. There are many good substrates out there; newspaper, paper towels, wood shavings, mulches, reptile carpets, etc. You should decide on a substrate that is best for you and your personal set-up. Some things to keep in mind when choosing; a substrate that is easily replaced when it becomes soiled, inexpensive, easy to find, one that does not allow bacteria to grow. Different products work well for different people and setups, I personally went through all the substrates mentioned above before deciding to stick with unprinted newspaper stock and paper towels.   What "furniture" is necessary in my ball python's enclosure? You will need a water dish with fresh water all the time, a reliable heat source and a dimmer, and a rheostat or proportional thermostat to properly maintain temperatures for your ball python. You'll need at least one hide box for your snake to sleep in over the heat source. If you decide to add a second hide box, place it at the cooler end so that your ball python has the choice for proper thermoregulation. You'll also need a substrate for the bottom of the enclosure. Lastly, you'll need a good-quality temperature probe and hygrometer to maintain proper temperatures and humidity in your ball pythons living area.   How much humidity does my ball python require? Ball pythons do very well with 50%-60% humidity at all times. When it comes time to shed, you should increase the humidity to around 80%.   What temperature does my ball python require? Ball pythons are cold-blooded, meaning that they cannot produce their own heat like humans, so they need to get their heat externally from the environment. In order to properly allow for this to happen, we need to supply a heat source. The best way to go about properly heating would be an UTH (Under Tank Heat). There are many different options available for you to properly heat your ball pythons enclosure. Among them; heat rope, heat tape, human heating pads and reptile heating pads. Regardless of what type of heating source you decide to go with, you will NEED to attach a dimmer, rheostat or thermostat to your heat source so that you do not burn your ball python. This device will control the current allowing you to adjust and maintain the proper temps for your snake. The hot side, which should cover ¼ to 1/3 of the overall floor space of the enclosure, should be between 90-95 degrees. The cooler side, which should have no supplemental heat, should be 75-80 degrees. The ambient, or air temperature should be a average constant of 80 (+/-) degrees.   How often should I clean out my ball python's enclosure? Whenever it gets dirty, or is soiled by your ball python.   Does my ball python need special lighting? No, your ball python does not require any special lighting. However, your ball python should have access to a light source (lamp, window, room light) so that they can benefit from a day/night light cycle.   What should I used to clean out my ball python's environment? There are many commercially available cleaners to be found at your pet store or online to clean your ball python's environment. These commercial products can become quite costly. One of many excellent alternative cleaners, that will not only clean your snakes environement but disinfect as well, would be is a diluted bleach solution in an atomizer. updated Feb 1, 2011