Do you struggle to keep the humidity where it needs to be for ball pythons?
Are you looking for ways to keep your ball python safe from shedding issues related to humidity?
Humidity and skin-related health problems are among the most common issues you’ll have to deal with when it comes to keeping ball pythons.
Fortunately, this is easy to avoid if the humidity in your ball python’s enclosure stays in the range it’s supposed to.
It’s important to know this and how to keep the humidity up in a ball python tank.
The ball python’s tank should have a relative humidity of 50-60%. Improper humidity can cause health issues in ball pythons. Since most rooms are 20-30%, you need to do some work by including a water dish, misting if needed, storing the tank in the proper place, and buying humidity-raising devices.
Look ahead for more tips and related information.
Table of Contents
Ball Python’s Humidity Requirements
Ball pythons come from the warm and humid areas of Central West Africa. In their natural environment, humidity levels usually hang around 55% to 70% and sometimes even shoot up to over 80% in the morning.
For a pet ball python, things are slightly different. These slithering charmers do best when their enclosure’s humidity levels land anywhere between 50% and 60%. Not too high, not too low, just right.
If you maintain the humidity levels in your ball python’s enclosure, your pet might stick around longer than the average 10 years. Win-win, right?
What happens if the humidity is too low or too high? Read on to find out!
Keeping your ball python in a habitat with low humidity will create some serious problems for your pet. These include skin issues, such as retained sheds and rough scales.
Shedding issues are especially concerning. Ball pythons need proper humidity levels to aid them during their shedding process. Improper shedding can cause injuries and infections.
This occurs when the skin doesn’t disconnect from the snake’s body completely or too early.
When the dead skin breaks off too early, the sensitive skin is exposed to germs and blood, and injury may sometimes occur.
If the skin doesn’t break off properly, the dead skin may inhibit the growth of new skin and this part of the snake’s body, which causes other damage.
In both cases, the risk of injury is high, but more importantly, the risk of infection rises.
Once infected, it’s essential to take your ball python to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.
So, how low is too low when it comes to humidity?
Make sure the humidity doesn’t drop below 45%. Not even at night when the temperature drops.
On the flip side, when the humidity levels in your ball python’s enclosure are too high, you run into a whole other set of problems.
If the humidity exceeds 75%, you run the risk of creating an environment where bacteria and fungi can thrive. In more serious cases, your snake may develop stomatitis, commonly known as mouth rot, which is a bacterial infection that can be quite unpleasant.
An excessively wet environment can also cause respiratory infections in your pet. These infections are uncomfortable and deadly.
Since temperature and humidity are closely related, high humidity levels will bump the temperature in the enclosure up, too.
The ideal ball python temperature range is between 75-80°F on the cool side and 80-85°F on the warm side. The basking spot should be around 88-96°F.
If your ball python’s tank is consistently above the mentioned range (because of high humidity), you’ll end up with a snake that’s overheated and stressed.
The good news is that most rooms are around 20-30% relative humidity, so going too high isn’t likely to be an issue.
However, these problems are often easily avoidable by keeping the relative humidity consistent at 50-60%.
How is this done?
The following section deals with the information you may need.
9 Ways To Keep Ball Python Tank Humidity Up
This section talks about the different ways to maintain your ball python tank’s relative humidity.
Remember to keep track of the tank’s relative humidity with a good hygrometer.
A hygrometer is a device that measures the quantity of water vapor in air and humidity.
- Day/Night Temperatures
- Humidity & Timing Control
- Alarm When Temps Reach Unsafe Levels
Set The Temp Right
Higher temperatures are important for keeping humidity right.
The correct temp will help evaporate the water in the water dish into the air and increase the humidity. It will also help your pet to regulate their body temperature.
Overall, temps should be like this:
- Basking temperature = 88°F – 96°F (31° C – 36° C)
- Overall temperature = 78°F – 80°F (26° C – 27° C)
- Hide/cool spot = 75°F (24° C)
- Nighttime temperature > 65°F (18° C)
How to Maintain Temperature in Ball Python Tank?
Eager to achieve the perfect temperature gradient for your ball python? Here are three ways to do it:
Using a heat mat (also called the under-tank heat pad) is one of the most efficient ways to keep the temperature gradient in check.
Place the heat mat under one-third of your pet’s tank. As the warm air moves to the cooler side, it’ll help maintain the right temperature gradient.
If you’re a newbie to the world of ball python petting, use a heat lamp instead. It’s a safer option – no burns!
Radiant Heat Panels
Radiant heat panels are an expensive option but very effective. These are electrically operated and can be attached to the ceiling of your pet’s tank.
They create long-wave infrared radiation that naturally warms up your snake while simulating the sun in its natural habitat. The best part? They don’t produce any light, so they won’t disturb your ball python’s sleep.
Just make sure you keep an eye on the humidity. These panels can deplete it.
Heat tape and ceramic heat bulbs are other acceptable heat sources.
Keep A Water Dish In The Tank
Keep a shallow water dish on the warm side of the tank at all times. The heat will cause the water to evaporate, increasing the humidity in the enclosure. If you don’t observe a noticeable change, use a bigger water dish.
The water should be deep enough for the snake to bathe in but not so deep the snake goes under all the time.
The sides of the water dish should be low enough; the python can get over easily.
Between this and the temperature, your humidity should be close or perfect.
Store the Tank Away in a Cool place
If you notice the humidity is still low, you may need to check out where you’ve placed the tank.
Items such as heaters, windows, vents, and exterior doors tend to dry out the air quickly.
Where possible, keep the tank away from these places, and you may notice the relative humidity goes up.
Reference our post on how to set up a ball python tank for help getting this correct.
Pick A Good Substrate
Never underestimate a suitable substrate and its impact on humidity.
Reptile carpets and other liners work just fine for protecting the snake’s skin and helping with cleanup, but they don’t trap and increase humidity.
Look for actual substrates made using wood and other fibrous materials.
Still not sure what’s the best substrate for ball pythons when it comes to humidity? Here’s a list for you:
- Cypress Mulch – Highly absorbent, looks presentable and holds moisture like a dream.
- Orchid Bark – Maintains humidity levels, holds up well, and is a good option if you’re worried about mold. It’s expensive, though.
- Sphagnum Moss – An excellent way to increase the humidity in your pet’s tank without disturbing his hide.
Make sure to spot-check the substrate daily for droppings and gathering mold. Change the substrate every 1-2 months.
Keep the Substrate Moist
There will come a point when your substrate starts to dry out. That’s when you need to take action.
- Remove the plants, furniture, and water bowl from your pet’s tank.
- Fill a cup of water (at room temperature) and add to the substrate.
- Give it a good mix and spread the substrate evenly. It shouldn’t be too soggy.
- Replace everything back.
Mist If Needed
Some owners like to mist down the ball python’s tank once per day.
This shouldn’t be needed if you follow the other steps, but there’s nothing wrong with doing this to help raise humidity and keep the snake hydrated.
If you go this route, don’t spray more than once per day. Too much, and your snake may end up with a respiratory infection.
How to mist?
Fill a spray bottle with room temperature water and spritz the walls, substrate, and plants in your pet’s tank.
Get A Humidifier For The Tank
If you live in an arid climate, these steps still may not be enough.
At this point, consider getting a humidifier for the tank or the room at large.
A room humidifier should get the room up to 35-40%, and then let the rest of the steps take care of the rest.
Switch to a PVC Enclosure
Although glass enclosures are the most popular choice for ball pythons, they’re not the easiest to control when it comes to humidity. If you’re struggling to maintain a consistent humidity level in your pet’s tank, switch to a PVC enclosure.
PVC enclosures are specifically designed for reptiles and have higher humidity retention. They’re much more durable and light weight. Plus, they’re a breeze to clean and require minimal maintenance as compared to glass tanks.
Use a Humid Hide
A humid hide is a moisture box that you can keep inside your pet’s tank. The box has a moist substrate and helps provide a high-humidity microclimate for your ball python’s shedding needs.
Simply put, it’s a mini-sauna for your pet. This way, even if the humidity in the rest of the tank is low, your ball python can retreat to his humid hide whenever he needs some extra moisture.
You can either buy the humidity box from a pet store or make your own using a plastic tub, sandpaper, good-quality absorbent substrate, and a utility knife.
Here’s a quick DIY guide for you:
- Give your chosen plastic tub a thorough wash to eliminate any harmful chemicals. Get a tub with a removable plastic lid. It’ll make cleaning easier.
- Make holes in the lid. They should be slightly bigger than your pet snake’s head.
- Smoothen the edges of the holes with sandpaper to avoid any injury.
- Line the tub with a good-quality absorbent substrate such as sphagnum moss or coconut husk. Mist it occasionally to maintain moisture.
- Place the humid hide in your pet’s tank somewhere near your reptile heating pad or under a basking light.
- And you’re done!
Tips to Reduce Humidity in a Ball Python’s Tank
As discussed, extremely high temperature and humidity levels can also disturb your pet snake’s health. To maintain a perfect balance, here’s what you can do:
- Increase ventilation by adding more air holes or using a mesh lid.
- Remove any water dish from the tank or reduce misting sessions.
- Change the substrate to a less moisture-retentive one, such as reptile carpets or liners.
- Move the tank to a well-ventilated area, away from any heat sources.
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner in the room to reduce overall humidity levels.
Remember, it’s important to constantly monitor the temperature and humidity levels in your snake’s tank. Keep an eye on them and make necessary adjustments as needed to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy.
Bringing the Tropics Home: A Happy Python Awaits
Ball pythons are hardy snakes with a wonderful temperament. It is why they make popular pets.
However, if you’re bringing a ball python home, you must know that maintaining appropriate humidity levels is crucial for his health and well-being.
So, what’s the ideal humidity level for a ball python?
Thanks to this article, we now know that ball pythons prefer a humidity level of 50-60%. Keeping up with this range can increase your pet’s life and keep infections and diseases at bay.
Did you find the information in this article helpful?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we strive to educate reptile lovers about the proper care and maintenance of their pets.
If you’re looking for more information on how to set up a ball python’s tank or what to feed your pet snake, check out our other articles! We have a lot of useful resources for you.
Until next time, happy reptile keeping!