How Big Of A Tank Does A Ball Python Need

Are you getting ready to bring a pet ball python home?

Or maybe you’re trying to figure out if a ball python is the right pet for you?

One of the most important things to do before bringing a ball python home is to ensure you have adequate space for its enclosure.

So today, we’re going to answer the question, “how big of a tank does a ball python need?” while also sharing with you two of our favorite ball python-friendly tanks.

Juvenile ball pythons less than 3 ft long require a 10-20 gallon tank measuring at least 36” x 18” x 18”, while adult ball pythons need at least a 30 – 40 (preferably larger) gallon tank with at least 8 square ft of floor space and 2 ft of vertical space for climbing.

how big of a tank does a ball python need

Brief Intro to Ball Pythons

Before we dive into the ball python’s specific tank requirements, let’s learn a little more about these snakes so we can better understand why they have specific tank requirements. 

Ball Python Characteristics

Ball pythons are medium-sized snakes.

Their maximum length capability is around 6′ feet long, but typically they stay within the 2′ to 4′ feet range.

Female ball pythons grow longer and larger than male ball pythons, averaging lengths of around 3′ to 5′ feet., while males typically only grow 2′ to 3′ feet long. 

Ball pythons have thick, stocky bodies, square snouts, and flathead.

In the wild, their coloring is typically a dark brown base with light brown or golden flecks and an ivory underbelly.

These subtle colors help camouflage them for hunting and hiding from predators.

In captivity, however, breeders have produced ball pythons with a wide range of colors and patterns.

Ball Pythons in the Wild

Ball pythons (known in Europe as “Royal Pythons”) are native to western and central African countries like Central African Republic, Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Nigeria, and many more.

Although originating in Africa, they have become quite popular today as pets, so they are now found in captivity all over the world.

Due to owners releasing their pet ball pythons, there is now a small feral population living in the Florida Everglades. 

Ball Pythons Natural Habitat & Lifestyle

The ball python’s natural (and preferred) habitat is grasslands, savannas, and slightly wooded areas.

In this natural habitat, ball pythons experience high humidity levels and both wet and dry seasons. 

Ball pythons are semi-arboreal creatures, meaning they spend some of their time up in the trees as well as on the ground.

Female ball pythons prefer to spend much more time on the ground than their male counterparts. 

As nocturnal reptiles, ball pythons spend their days hiding out in underground burrows and emerging when the sun sets to hunt for prey at night.

They are most active at dawn and dusk. 

Ball pythons squeeze their prey to death, thus suffocating them. 

In the wild, ball pythons are solitary creatures, meaning they live and hunt alone, so even in captivity, they should always be housed separately from other snakes. 

How Big of a Tank Does a Ball Python Need

Now since we’re acquainted with where ball pythons come from and what their lifestyle and natural habitat are like, we can better understand their specific tank requirements.

First, we want to address two common misconceptions about ball pythons.

First, adult ball pythons do NOT prefer small, cramped spaces.

Some people believe ball pythons get stressed in larger tanks and prefer to be housed in cramped enclosures.


Second, ball pythons do NOT only grow as large as their enclosure.

Ball pythons will keep growing as large as they are supposed to, no matter their enclosure size. 

Ball pythons need plenty of space to move around, climb branches, exercise, and experience mental stimulation, and if you deny your ball python of this adequate space, it can grow extremely overweight and get other health problems.

So follow these tank size requirements carefully to ensure your ball python stays happy and healthy. 

And if you’ve purchased a baby or juvenile ball python, make sure to regularly check in on its size to ensure you upgrade to a new tank when needed.

Also remember, for baby/juvenile ball pythons, it’s best to start with a small tank and move to a larger one when they grow (as opposed to jumping straight to the largest size) since they feel more secure and safe in an enclosure suited to their size.

The minimum tank dimensions for a hatchling ball python (up to 300g) is a 10-gallon enclosure or tub measuring around 20″ x 11″ x 13″.

For juvenile ball pythons less than 3′ feet long, provide a 40-gallon enclosure measuring at least 36″ x 18″ x 18″.

Adults and subadults over 3′ feet long do best in a 120-gallon tank measuring 48″ x 24″ x 24″ or larger.

However, if you choose a different tank size for your adult python, ensure there are at least 8 square feet of floor area and at the minimum 2′ feet of vertical space for climbing.

Ball Python Tank Safety Tips

Make sure the tank or cage you purchase has an escape-proof mesh top securely fitted and locked onto the top of the cage.

You don’t want a runaway snake on your hands! It’s also important for the top to be metal mesh since you will place heat lamps directly on the top cover.

You’ll also need to ensure whichever tank you choose has secure locks on the door/s.

If not, your ball python could potentially push its way out.

A few of our favorite ball python-friendly tanks include this REPTI ZOO Reptile Glass Terrarium and the REPTI ZOO 67Gallon Reptile Large Terrarium

REPTI ZOO Reptile Glass Terrarium Tank Double...
  • Size of RK0119 :36" x 18" x 18". Tough screen top provides ventilation and allows uvb and infrared penetration
  • Raised bottom frame in order to fit a substrate heater; Waterproof bottom makes this tank can be used both as desert...
  • Front doors can open separately, easy to feed your pet and prevent escape


If you’ve been wondering how big of a tank does a ball python need, we hope this article answered your question!

Ball pythons have specific tank size requirements, ranging from 10-gallon enclosures for hatchlings to 120-gallon enclosures (or at least 8 square feet of floor area and 2′ feet of vertical space for climbing) for adults.

The main thing to keep in mind when purchasing a ball python tank is to ensure it has enough space to move around, exercise adequately, and get mental stimulation.

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