If you’re a reptile lover, having a ball python is a really fantastic choice for our first-time snake. These easy-going pets provide an excellent introduction to the snake world so you can learn all the ins, outs, ups, and downs.
But like any other pet, they come with their fair share of costs. Bringing home a Ball Python can cost $25-$100 through adoption, or $75-$500+ through a breeder. Asides from adopting or buying the Ball Python, it’s important to know all of the aspects of care is essential so you can decide if it’s in your budget. Let’s go over what to expect.
Bringing Home a New Ball Python: One-Time Costs
When you bring home your ball python, most expenses will occur upfront. Once you get the initial cost out of the way, general expenses can decrease significantly from month to month.
Sometimes you might come across a friend or a perfect stranger that just needs to get rid of their ball python. For unforeseen reasons, owners can become unable to take care of these animals and they might require immediate rehoming.
Often, if you get a ball python for free, people will also be willing to part with their cage and supplies. You could get ahead of things by finding a free option, but you also want to ensure that they are perfectly healthy.
Sometimes, certain shelters or rescues will wind up with a ball python or two on hand. If that happens, there’s a vet on hand to ensure that the snake is perfectly healthy and identify any health concerns.
You can never know exactly what you’re going to get as far as age and temperament are concerned, but professionals will be willing to work with you to see if you’re a good fit.
If you buy a ball python from a breeder, prices can vary drastically depending on the variation you’re interested in. The ball python breeding industry can get very intricate, coming up with morphs of all kinds.
Certain ones are much more valuable than others, and prices will reflect that. It’s best to research to see which is most suitable for your experience level.
Initial Setup and Supplies
The initial setup for your ball python will be your most expensive part. Between purchasing the snake and all of the necessary items, you’re looking at a pretty high bill to start this relationship.
However, once you have all the necessary items, you can expect to buy maintenance items from that point forward. Eventually, your snake might require a bigger enclosure, but you will have lots of time to prepare for the event.
Here is a list of some supplies you can expect.
List of Ball Python Care Supplies and Costs
|Reptile Heating Pad||$20|
|Dry Hiding House||$20|
|Moist Hiding Spot||$20|
|Large Water Dish||$7|
|Scoop for Cleaning||$15|
How Much Does a Ball Python Cost Per Month?
Ball pythons can be very inexpensive pets after you have your setup complete. But due to health and other challenges, prices can increase quickly or might vary from month to month. For example, you might have an emergency or unexpected vet trip that can set you back. So, it is best to know the high points so you can better plan.
You might spend significantly less money on healthcare when it comes to a ball python for generalized appointments.
However, prices can climb drastically when it comes to emergencies or other types of medical care. Exotic vets are traditionally more expensive and require very specialized training.
Ball pythons have meals that are quite spaced out. Food can generally be inexpensive, but it must be the correct and size-appropriate meal. It might also vary depending on if you feed your ball python frozen or fresh mice and rats.
Some people choose to cut out this cost completely and raise their own mice and rats. This can be a very profitable business as well if you sell to other snake owners. That’s a way to make a few dollars back and to eliminate certain costs.
Medications and Vet Visits
Generally, you won’t have to worry much about medications or vet visits. But don’t think your snake is exempt. Some snakes develop particular health ailments like any other animal requiring routine care.
To prevent any of these issues from coming about, it’s best to take your ball python to the vet annually for routine checkups. If they do require any monthly vetting, you can decide it at a later time.
Because exotic pet coverage can be so pricey, you can spend a month if they have ongoing issues. However, most health issues snakes run into are curable over time.
When it comes to pet insurance for reptiles, it’s currently slim pickings. Nationwide pet insurance is one of the only companies that offer exotic pet coverage.
In the future, other options will likely be available as more insurance companies pick up the needs of less traditional pets.
Your snake needs an environment that is ideal for its original habitat. Since no python can create body heat on their own, they need a suitable heat lamp, creating a basking spot on one side of the tank and a cool side on the other.
Your ball python can regulate itself depending on their bodily needs. You also have to keep up with changing out these substrates and keeping the objects from the cage clean.
A tidy cage will ensure the longevity of your snake. This is generally inexpensive but will need to be maintained regularly.
Obviously, your ball python won’t need toys to keep them busy like a dog or cat. But that doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from certain entertainment items in their enclosure. For a ball python, a good basking spot or hiding spot can really increase movement around their tank.
They might also enjoy climbing up logs, sticks, and other height points in the enclosure. If you have various natural items in the tank, they are more likely to explore, but they will need plenty of places to curl up and relax, too.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Ball Python
So now you know how much it will cost to own your snake monthly. A lot of it will depend on your preferences as well as the general health of your snake. We provide a good range so you can see how inexpensive or pricey it can actually be.
Additional Costs to Factor In
Even though those are general numbers on monthly ball python care, other categories to consider are:
Most ball pythons are very healthy creatures. But sometimes, events can happen that you don’t foresee. If your ball python has a medical emergency due to injury or illness, you might have a pretty hefty vet bill on your hands.
Having pet insurance can alleviate a lot of these stressful financial impacts. However, if you don’t want to opt for pet insurance, you can always have a fund set aside for potential problems.
Not everyone is a fan of snakes. If you ask your mom or dad to come take care of your snake while you’re away, you might be met with immediate resistance. In this case, you might have to hire someone to take care of your pet when you’re unable to.
Since snakes are such low maintenance and require spaced-out care, you could pay significantly less for these services than someone who owns dogs and cats.
Even though your ball python will grow slowly, they still reach a pretty substantial size when they are fully grown. When you get your ball python as a baby, they might not require very big of an enclosure.
As they grow, consider upgrading their living situation to something more suitable to accommodate their size or give them more space. Enclosures can be pretty expensive.
But don’t worry! You will have a lot of time from the time you bring your ball python home to expand.
Owning a Ball Python on a Budget
Everyone could stand pinching a penny or two when caring for their pets. While ball pythons are generally inexpensive to care for, there are still ways that you can cut corners while ensuring your pet is maintained correctly.
Saving Money on Ball Python Care
You can enroll in auto shipments if you order supplies for your snake online. These services are set up to reorder frequently used products on a timely basis, so you don’t have to remember to—and it can save you a few dollars when you do.
Raising and Selling Your Own Food Source
If you’re a reptile lover, you should get into the business of buying and selling your own food source. Most snakes eat mice and rats, which can be a profitable side gig.
This does leave you with additional animals to care for, as they will need appropriate living quarters to reproduce and live. However, you will quickly have more mice or rats than you know to do with.
These rodents reproduce very quickly, and just selling the offspring alone will put money back into your pocket. If you do not have the time or resources to care for these animals appropriately, this money-saving hack should be avoided.
It might be a bit pricey to set up your ball python’s habitat at first. But once you get past the initial process, these pets are generally quite inexpensive to care for.
There are always specific ways you can cut corners, permitting it does not decrease the livelihood of your animal. Always make sure to have pet insurance or savings set aside for any emergencies you might face.
Featured Image Credit: Agus_Gatam, Shutterstock