So, can ball pythons live together? It might sound like a good idea to let your pet pythons stay in the same enclosure. However, experts don’t recommend it.
Ball pythons are solitary creatures. They don’t actually enjoy living together. Let’s take a closer look at why that is and what happens if they live together in the wild.
Does it matter what gender the snakes are?
What happens if you ignore this advice and move forward with two ball pythons?
Is there any way to make it less stressful for your snakes?
Let’s dive into those questions.
How Many Ball Pythons Can You Keep Together?
Ball pythons are unique snakes. They are slow-moving, non-venomous, and extremely anti-social.
Like most other snakes, ball pythons only meet up if they are ready to mate.
So, if you’re considering putting them in the same cage together, you should only do so when the snakes are ready to breed and if you plan on having baby snakes.
Ball pythons don’t like spending time together outside of mating season.
Consider avoiding housing them together outside of breeding purposes.
Can Male and Female Ball Pythons Be Housed Together?
As we just outlined, the only time you should house two ball pythons together is when you plan on mating them.
Male and female ball pythons can live together for a limited time.
The breeding season for ball pythons is from early November through Mid-March.
If your ball python is over two years old, is in good health, and you’re interested in breeding it, then consider introducing another ball python of the opposite gender.
Your female ball python will ovulate for a few weeks, and after two or three weeks of the ovulation period, she will shed her skin. Experts call this the ‘pre-lay’ period.
Before she lays her eggs, a female ball python will keep warm by curling up with her tail under her body. You’ll see this behavior for up to 48 hours before she lays her eggs. She’ll also be very irritable and restless during this period.
Expect a clutch of six eggs from your female ball python.
Again, ball pythons shouldn’t live together, especially when a female is laying eggs.
Will 2 Male Ball Pythons Fight?
Yes! 2 male ball pythons will fight if you keep them in the same cage together. This is particularly true during the breeding season.
On the surface, their ‘fights’ don’t look that bad. You can expect hissing and shoving on the part of the mall pythons.
The goal of the fighting isn’t to kill each other, but it is to assert dominance over one another to determine who will breed with the females.
For this reason, if you’re keeping two male ball pythons in the same tank, you could stress them out significantly.
Imagine if you were in a fight with someone but had to live in the same tank for weeks if not months on end.
You’d likely suffer psychologically.
So do ball pythons.
If you want your ball pythons to live together, keep them in separate tanks in the same room, instead of in the same tank.
Can I keep 2 Female Ball Pythons Together?
Female ball pythons are different from their male counterparts.
A female ball python is typically more peaceful and calmer.
Yet, this doesn’t mean that two female ball pythons should live together. It’s tempting to think that two female ball pythons can live together in harmony, but they also struggle to get along.
Female ball pythons don’t fight outright as males do, but they do compete with one another in more subtle ways.
There are two things that your female ball pythons want: tons of yummy food and a nice warm, humid place to sleep.
When you want two female snakes to live together and place them in the same enclosure, you might not notice much change–at first.
However, you’ll eventually begin to see the signs of the stress response. They’ll avoid one another, and the weaker snake may stop eating or drop weight because the dominant female is consuming all the food and taking the best spot in the tank.
So, don’t try to make two ball pythons live together when it’s the opposite of what they want! Don’t make your ball pythons miserable.
Is It More Work To Keep 2 Ball Pythons Together?
Cohabiting ball pythons sounds fun, right?
Not so much.
If you’re insistent on housing ball pythons in the same place, there is much to consider.
For example, you can’t simply let your pythons fend for themselves. The two snakes will require some supervision.
One snake will be the dominant snake, and one will be the submissive snake.
It’s extremely rare for two snakes to fall in love and be best buds forever. It simply isn’t in their nature.
Ball pythons are solitary creatures. They prefer to be alone.
If you insist on housing ball pythons together in the same tank, you’re setting them up for failure.
The first sign of a problem is a stressed snake. Here’s how you can tell if your ball python is stressed.
How Can You Tell A Ball Python Is Stressed?
If your ball pythons don’t enjoy living together, they’ll become stressed.
But what are some signs that your ball pythons are stressed?
Here are a few tell-tale signs that your ball pythons are feeling stressed.
#1. Lack of appetite.
Ball pythons lose their appetite for many reasons, including during shedding season. If your ball python’s time to shed its skin, it may stop eating for a bit. However, if their lack of appetite lasts longer than 10-14 days, it could be stress.
#2. Face rubbing.
Ball pythons also tend to rub their nose against rocks and objects in their enclosure when they start to feel stressed out. This odd behavior also shows up if a ball python simply wants to explore its environment. Repeated face rubbing indicates that your snake is stressed out, however.
#3. Aggressive behavior.
If you have had your pet snake for any amount of time and you begin to notice aggressive behavior, it could be your snake is stressed. Aggressive behavior looks different from one snake to the next. Pay attention to your ball pythons to determine if their behavior is aggressive or if it’s a baseline for your pet. Hissing and striking at you are two aggressive signs that your python wants out of its small enclosure.
How to Destress Ball Pythons?
If your ball python is stressed out because you introduced a new snake and you have two ball pythons together in the same tank, then the first step is to remove one of your snakes.
Simply purchase a new enclosure for your snake to begin with, and make it a comfortable environment for your pet.
If that doesn’t seem to destress your reptile friend, try to avoid handling them for a week or two at least.
You will be amazed by how quickly your snake will begin to feel better if you simply leave them alone.
It’s also a good idea to maintain your routine with your python, keeping them healthy as much as possible.
They’ll restore their mental health soon enough.
What Do Ball Pythons Do In The Wild?
In the wild, seeing ball pythons together is unusual outside of breeding season. Wild ball pythons tend to leave each other alone.
Every now and again, you’ll see two snakes in the same burrow out of necessity. However, they steer clear of one another, by and large, preferring the sweet sound of silence over the hissing and stress vomiting of other ball pythons.
Bonus Tips for Keeping Ball Pythons Together
So, even though we answered the question ‘can ball pythons live together’ with a resounding ‘no’, you’re still insistent on keeping your ball pythons together in the same enclosure, eh?
Here are a few other important tips to keep in mind for keeping ball pythons together:
- Don’t house two male ball pythons together. This is especially true during the breeding season but is also a good rule of thumb.
- Don’t house two female ball pythons together. The same dynamic is bound to happen between females as it does between males. The females will fight for food and a warm place to curl up.
- Know the signs of stress in pythons. A loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, hissing, and striking at you, their owner, or any other behavior that is out of the norm for your snake, should be taken as a sign your ball python is in distress.
What Snakes Can Live Together Peacefully?
So if the ball python can’t live together peacefully, which snakes can?
Here’s a brief list of which snakes can live together in the same tank and NOT be stressed.
- Garter Snakes
- Water Snakes
- Green Snakes
- Rough Green Snakes
- Smooth Green Snakes
Be careful about pairing any of these snakes with another snake of another species. They can stress each other out, and some species of snakes have been known to cannibalize one another. Don’t take that risk with your pet snakes!
What To Do Instead of Cohabitating Ball Pythons Together?
Instead of keeping your ball pythons in the same cage, create a safe environment for them separately.
The only way to give your ball pythons enough space to not feel stressed if they’re in the same cage is to give them something like 24 square feet of space each!
For more information about what to consider when developing the right enclosure for your ball python, check out this post we made about ball python environments.
The financial investment that requires might not be worth it.
Instead, consider giving your ball pythons their own cages.
Keep your ball pythons safe. Give them the space they need by allowing them to live safely in their own cage.
You’ll be amazed by how happy your pet snakes are when they have their own place to curl up and be snakes!
They are solitary animals, and you should house them as such. Avoid severe stress for your snakes by giving them their own enclosure.