Ball Pythons: Which Setup Is Right for You(2023)

Once you decide you want a ball python its hard to choose how you want your setup to look. Here, I’m going to give you 4 options you can choose from to create the ball python setup that’s right for you and your pet.

Let’s first think of a ball python’s basic needs: they need to be fully enclosed, they need a heat source, and they need a hide and water bowl. We can even figure out a way to set up your ball python on a budget. Lets see what we can do.

Ball Python Setup Checklist

We went over the basics, but let’s list out everything we need to get started. These are things that you absolutely need to have in order to keep a ball python happy and healthy:

  • Enclosure
  • Heat source(lamp or mat)
  • Water bowl
  • Substrate
  • Hide

You can even get creative by adding more things like: 

  • Photographic backdrops
  • Foliage
  • Decor/enrichment pieces
  • Lights
  • extra hides

What are our options?

Reptile Setup Kit

A ball python enclosure kit is a convenient way to get set up quickly with everything you need to get started. These kits come with substrate, heat lamps, a hide and many other extras.

These setups have great reviews and the end result looks amazing.

The one that best fits the requirements of a ball python is this one by Thrive. It comes with everything you need to get started with a ball python setup. 

The tank size is large for a baby ball python, but with more than 1 hide you can make it comfortable even if the snake is too small.

Other kits on the market are meant for a general reptile but all reptiles are not the same, especially ball pythons. These other kits come with sand or aspen as a substrate and if you’ve read my article on the best substrates for ball pythons you know that these are NOT the best options.

PRO-easy to find
-comes with everything you’d need and more
-looks beautiful
CON-expensive
-you may pay for more than you need
-items included may not be suited for your specific type of reptile. 
Price range$90-$600

Storage Tubs

Another way to set up your ball python’s habitat is in a tub. NO, not the bath tub, a storage tub!

 Housing a ball python in a tub takes some extra work though. You’ll need to create air holes with a solder or a drill around the top of the tub for some air circulation.

Its a great option if you’re on a budget and you’re ok with your snake not being a display piece.

Dont forget the lid!!

The lid and locks are important for keeping the snake in this type of “enclosure.” You wouldn’t want them to escape

Storage bins come in all shapes and sizes so make sure you get one that fits the snake well. A good rule of thumb for the tub size is that it should be 1.5x the length of the snake. 

Luckily the flat tubs work as well, so find one that works best for you

A heat mat works best for these types of enclosures. Click here to find the right one.

PRO-You can choose a tub size that fits your needs
-It can be put on a shelf or be hidden
-Keeps in humidity
CON-You have to make air holes yourself,
-It doesn’t look as eye-pleasing,
-It will wear out faster than a glass tank
PRICE RANGE$10-$150 depending on size

Snake Rack Setup

Buying ball pythons gets addicting!!

There are so many morphs available it’s hard to only have one. The problem is that ball pythons should NEVER housed together(unless they are breeding).

A space saving option is a snake rack. These won’t take up much space like a tank or tub can and they look sleek.

The tubs slide in and out easily to access your snake. You can even get tubs that have a built-in water bowl.

This setup works best for snake breeders since they can hold tons of snakes in a compact way.

They usually come with heat tape in them which is a form of under belly heat that a heat mat would produce.

Looks boring? Don’t worry. You can still add artificial plants and other decor! It just won’t be seen by people passing by.

I personally have gotten racks from Vision Products, Freedom breeder, and ARS and they have been great. I recommend looking at local resellers since shipping can be a pain. I’ve had luck on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. 

PRO-Heating is already set up(in most)
-Saves space
-Holds the most amount of snakes
-Easy to clean
CON-EXPENSIVE – especially if you want quality
-Large enclosures need to be built
-Heavy
-Snake is not visible 100% of the time
PRICE RANGE$70-$3000

Ball Python Terrarium Setup

Terrarium set ups look like the setup kits. The only difference is that it is CUSTOMIZED to how you want it to look.

A terrarium can be created with a simple aquarium tank or you can opt for a front opening tank like the one offered by Exo Terra.

Pick your own substrate, pick your own hide and your own water bowl and you are all set. Add some foliage to make it pretty and the snake is ready for display.

These look the best with a light source like a heat lamp just make sure the lights are turned off at night to keep the snake cozy.

There are so many options for fake foliage and hides that you can get anywhere(even the dollar store). You can get creative and if you find enough bargains it won’t cost much to get started. 

The good thing about this option is that they are being sold all the time second hand. Check places like OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace to find extra bargains. 

PRO-Customizable
-Budget friendly
-Nice display
CON-Finding each item takes time
-Lockable lids sold separately for fish tanks
-Doesn’t hold humidity as well as tubs or racks 
PRICE RANGE$30-$400

Choose the Best FOR YOU!

If you’re looking for the cheapest ball python setup just to get you started I would definitely go with the tub option.

There are many tutorials on YouTube on how to set these up, they are simple and you can DIY it.  

Banana ball python in a tub

If you are looking for a setup that won’t leave your pockets empty and looks nicedefinitely opt for DIY terrarium or a set up kit.

These look beautiful for displays and you have the choice of customizing it yourself or getting all of the supplies in one! 

When you have the budget and you want to house more than 1 ball python definitely go for the rack. It is an expensive option but clean up is so easy with these and in my opinion ball pythons are the happiest in this system. 

Conclusion

When setting up a ball python’s home all you need is the basics.

You can get started with just $30 and save to get something even better and more pleasing to the eye.

Definitely opt for a rack if you plan on getting multiple snakes, but the tank set ups look amazing especially when you can personalize it to your liking.

Tubs are a space-saving, budget-friendly option so even if your wallets are empty you can have a ball python as a companion too!

I hope this information helps and feel free to contact me for any questions you have. What type of enclosure do you prefer for your slithering pals?

Pros and cons of ball python set up options