What is the Recommended Tank Size for a Ball Python?

What is the Recommended Tank Size for a Ball Python?

Having a magnificent enclosure for your beautiful ball python is essential, along with ensuring that the tank you choose is appropriate for the snake's size.

In recent years, ball pythons have become popular choices for reptile enthusiasts due to their captivating patterns and relatively calm nature. Providing them with food and water alone is not sufficient to ensure their well-being. Offering your ball python an enclosure that meets their specific needs is an important aspect of their care. 

As part of our guide, we discuss the best ball python enclosure sizes and essential features to consider when choosing the right enclosure for your pet.

Ball Python Activity Level and Space Requirements

In the wild, ball pythons are primarily nighttime creatures, spending most of their time hidden in burrows or leaf litter. While not known for being incredibly active climbers, they do appreciate having the opportunity to explore and regulate their temperature. 

Alternatively, if you are a reptile pet owner and are considering the purchase of a ball python enclosure, it's important to consider the animal's natural behavior as well as the need to provide sufficient space for your pet to fulfill his basic needs.

How Big Should a Tank be for Ball Pythons?

The size of the tank for your ball python depends on its age and size. So when considering the size of the tank for these reptiles according to their weight and size, consider the following main points:

  • For hatchlings (0-6 months) measuring 10-17 inches and weighing 50-80 grams, a 10-gallon tank suffices. 
  • Juveniles (6-9 months) ranging from 20-25 inches and weighing 275-360 grams need a 20-gallon tank. 
  • By one year, when they measure 1.5-2 feet and weigh 500-800 grams, a 40-gallon tank is required. 
  • At two years, with a length of 2-3 feet and weight of 800-1100 grams, the tank should still be 40 gallons. 
  • By three years, when they reach 2.5-3.5 feet and 900-1500 grams, consider a 40-gallon tank. 
  • At four years and beyond, when they can grow up to 3-6 feet and weigh 900-3000 grams, a tank of 55-75 gallons is needed, especially for females.

Recommendations Based on Ball Python Development on Enclosure Size

Adult Ball Python Enclosures (over 4 years old)

For these larger snakes, a minimum enclosure size of 4' x 2' x 2' (length x width x height) is recommended. Approximately 65-75 gallons or more would be needed for this breeder tank or an enclosure of similar size. This provides adult ball pythons with sufficient space to thermoregulate, explore, and express natural behaviors. 

Spacious Doesn't Always Mean Better

While there's no harm in offering adult ball pythons even larger enclosures, it's important to strike a balance. An excessively large enclosure can make it difficult for your snake to find warmth and security. Providing multiple hides throughout the enclosure is crucial to create a sense of comfort, especially in larger spaces.

Choosing the Right Enclosure Type: Glass Tanks vs. PVC Enclosures

Glass Tanks

A popular choice for ball python terrariums, glass tanks provide excellent visibility and allow you to observe your snake's behavior. Although glass tanks are generally well ventilated, they can pose a ventilation problem. Modify the lid or use mesh screen panels to ensure proper air circulation.

Furthermore, glass tanks tend to retain heat less effectively, which may require you to modify your heating system.

PVC Enclosures

PVC enclosures are gaining popularity among ball python keepers. Their excellent heat retention and humidity control make them ideal for maintaining a stable environment. PVC enclosures can also be customized with ventilation holes and come in a variety of sizes to meet your requirements. Because of their non-porous surface, PVC is easily cleaned and disinfected. They may, however, not provide the same level of visibility as glass tanks.

Ultimately, the ideal enclosure depends on your individual preferences and your snake's needs. Consider factors like space availability, aesthetics, ease of maintenance, and budget when making your choice.

Choose the Right Ball Python Tank from Reputable Sellers

When browsing listings for ball pythons for sale, take the time to research the seller's reputation. A reputable breeder will often provide detailed information about the breed, genetics, enclosure/tank size, and care history of their ball pythons. 

Wilbanks Reptiles provides not only a wide selection of high-quality ball pythons, but also a broad range of tanks and enclosures for your new pet.

In addition, be sure to provide appropriate hiding spots and furnishings in the tank of your ball python. By providing these items to your snake, you are ensuring that he is comfortable and secure in his environment. Choosing the right tank size and accessories will ensure that your ball python thrives in its new environment.

Beyond Size: Essential Features of a Ball Python Enclosure

Even though the size of a ball python enclosure is important, there are other qualities to think about as well. To make your decision even easier, here is a list of additional features you should consider:

  • Substrate: Provide a loose, moisture-retentive surface like pine chips, coconut coir, or repti-bark to allow your ball python to burrow and thermoregulate.
  • Hides: Offer at least two hides, one on the warm side and one on the cool side, to provide your snake with a sense of security and a place to retreat.
  • Water Dish: A fresh water dish large enough for your snake to soak in should always be available.
  • Heating: Ball pythons are warm-blooded creatures and require a heat gradient within their enclosure. Under-tank heaters or radiant heat panels are commonly used to achieve optimal temperatures.
  • Thermometer: Monitor the temperature within your enclosure using a digital thermometer with probes on both the warm and cool sides.
  • Lighting (optional): While not strictly necessary, low-wattage UVB lighting can benefit some ball pythons. Consult a veterinarian for specific recommendations.

Creating a Thriving Environment: Bringing it All Together

After choosing the right enclosure for your ball python and gathering the necessary elements, you are ready to create a safe haven for him. To assist you in setting up your ball python enclosure, the following tips are provided:

Cool Side: The cool side should maintain a temperature range of 78-82°F (25-28°C).

Humidity: Maintain moderate humidity levels of around 50-60% by providing a humid hide filled with damp moss and regularly misting the terrarium.

Declutter for Safety: Avoid overcrowding the enclosure with decorations, as this can limit your snake's space and potentially trap them.

Secure Closures: Ensure all enclosure doors and lids lock securely to prevent escapes.

To maintain hygiene and prevent bacteria growth, make sure that your ball python enclosure is regularly cleaned and disinfected.

Enrichment for Ball Pythons: Going Beyond the Basics

While ball pythons may not be the most active reptiles, they still benefit from environmental enrichment. Providing enrichment opportunities stimulates natural behaviors, reduce stress, and encourage exploration. 

The following are some suggestions:

  • Rotate hides and decorations: Occasionally switch out hides and climbing structures to keep your snake's tank environment interesting.
  • Offer climbing branches: Provide sturdy branches or climbing structures for your snake to explore vertically.
  • Scatter feeding: Instead of placing food directly in the feeding dish, try scattering frozen prey items around the enclosure to encourage your snake to hunt.


By understanding your ball python's space requirements and choosing an enclosure that meets their needs, you can create a comfortable and enriching environment for your scaly companion. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to ball python enclosure size.  Consider your snake's age, your budget, and the space available before making your decision. Moreover, Wilbanks Reptiles is here to help you find the perfect ball python enclosure or tank and ensure you have all the resources you need to become a confident and responsible ball python owner.