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Average Cost to Maintain a Ball Python

Types Ball Python

Ball Pythons are surprisingly easy to take care of. It would be enough to spend a few hundred dollars on one every year. In this way, Ball Pythons are cheap pets and do not require that much maintenance. But the initial setup for the Ball Python enclosure may take up to $1000 and after that, the yearly maintenance of it would amount to around $ 100 – $ 300.

If you are looking for a reptile pet that doesn’t require that much maintenance and expenses, then Ball Pythons are the perfect pets for you. They might even be your lifetime companion because they live up to 20 – 40 years if you take care of them properly.

How much does a Ball Python cost?

The cost of the Ball Python completely depends on the age, morph, and size. If the morph of the Ball Python is rare, then it could cost you several thousand or maybe even a million dollars. If the morph is common, then the cost of the ball python costs about $10 – $100.Whether you purchase one from a breeder or from any pet store, the cost really depends on the morph and the age.

If this is still too pricey, then you can cut down the Ball Python’s cost if you adopt the one from your local animal shelter. Some people who are moving out of the city often sell their Ball Pythons; sometimes if you are lucky you can even get the Ball Python for free from them or they will ask for $5 to $50.

Ball Python 2

Cost of Cage Setup

The cost of setting up the vivarium is just a one-time expense. The enclosure may cost around $20 – $150 depending upon the size of the enclosure.

Most people use a glass vivarium and it is advised by all. The vivarium does not come along with a lid so you have to buy that as well. Choosing and purchasing a lid enclosure depends upon the type of enclosure you have, and this may cost you around $20 – $150.

You can even buy a plastic enclosure like Reptibreeze funarium but that would be too small for your pet. If your Ball Python is a baby or a juvenile, then you can use a plastic enclosure but eventually, you have to buy another enclosure when it grows into an adult Ball Python.

If you want to buy some premium cages made up of specific wood which goes along with your room, then it may cost you few thousand dollars.

Substrate

You have to use bedding for the enclosure to withhold the humidity level of the enclosure. You have to change that substrate once a week while cleaning the enclosure. They cost only about $3 – $6 for a month.

Water Bowl

You have to use a water bowl so that your Ball Python can soak and drink water. You can even use a plastic tub which you may already have at your house, but do make sure that the edges are not sharp. You can even buy a new water bowl according to the size of your pet which may cost around $5 – $15.

Hides

You have to purchase a hide for your Ball pythons because most of the time they spend their time hiding from the light. You can make it on your own by designing a cave using cardboard or a by using a plastic mold. Always make sure that you don’t use any chemicals and the thing should not have any sharp edges. If you want to buy hides it may cost around $5 – $20.

Non Venomous Ball Python

Plants for a Ball Python Enclosure

Believe it or not, the availability of the plants inside the enclosure makes the Ball Python think they are safe. They play with the plants too and it gives them a feel of the forest. But you have to make sure whether the plants are safe for Ball pythons or not.

Some of the safe plants for Ball Pythons are:

  • Weeping fig trees
  • Episcia cupreata (Flame Violet or Silver Skies)
  • Neoregelia (Tiger Cub)
  • Neoregelia (Zoe)
  • Fresh moss
  • Neoregelia (Fireball)
  • Philodendron cordatum 
  • Ficus elastica (Tineke Rubber Plant)

These plants also help to maintain the humidity level of the enclosure. They may cost around $10 – $50 per year.

Cost to Provide Temperature and Humidity

The setup helps your Ball Python to be healthy, happy, and stress-free, so you’ve to concentrate on this one. For providing heat in the enclosure we have to use an under-tank heater. It comes in different sizes and the cost depends accordingly. On average, they cost around $10 -$25 for a month.

Though your pet loves the nighttime darkness, you have to provide some lighting to moderate the sleep cycle of your pet. Moreover, it can also provide the required heat to the enclosure.

Ball Pythons Pet

I wouldn’t recommend using a regular incandescent UVB bulb because it takes so much room inside the enclosure and also they may cause skin burns for your pet. Use a fluorescent-type UVB bulb with the bulb mount so that you can place it comfortably wherever you want inside the enclosure.

The UVB bulb would cost around $5 – $15 for a month depending on the Watts and the light bulb mounting costs around $5 – $10 for a month.

Other than these they don’t require heating lamps, heating pads, or heating rocks inside their enclosure. You just have to maintain the overall temperature of the enclosure. They require basking spots so in that area you can place a UVB bulb.

You also have to monitor the temperature and the humidity level so for that you need gauges. These gauges may cost around $ 15 – $ 40.

Food for Ball Pythons

Ball Pythons eat once every two weeks or three weeks depending on their age. So the expense on the food would be minimum. They also don’t require a variety of food. The common food that you would provide them all the time is pinkies, rodents, or rats. This may cost around $10 – $ 20 for a month.

You can also reduce the cost by buying in bulk from online shops, but you have to preserver them properly.

According to the size and age of the pet, you have to provide the food accordingly. If your pet is alive for 30 years then the cost of the food may cost a few thousand dollars. You can even cut down the cost here by buying a jumbo mouse instead of rats.

Ball Python 1

Repetitive Expenses

There are few things that you would be spending on per year, which you should consider by months:

  • Food – You have to feed Ball Pythons every 2 weeks so it would cost $120 – $240 per year.
  • UVB bulbs – You have to change the bulb regularly like every month or every 2 months which completely depends on the quality of the bulb. This would cost around $10 – $30 per year.
  • Timers and Gauges – If the thermometer or the humidity gauge is not working you have to replace them so it may cost you around $15 – $40 per year. If you buy a quality one, it may last years.
  • Substrate – I would suggest you change the substrate every week because snakes’ urates and excrements would be present. This would cost around $10 – $30 per year.
  • New hides – When the Ball Python use their hide soften, the hides become damaged. If you replace these twice a year, then it would cost you around $10 per year.
  • Plants -There is no need to change the plants inside the enclosure but if the plant is damaged or you want to decorate the vivarium according to your room, then it would cost you around $25 per year.

Medical expense for Ball Pythons

To make sure that your Ball python is healthy and doing well you have to take them to the veterinarian’s clinic for annual checkups. I would recommend taking your Ball Python for a complete checkup every 6 months so that you can avoid any emergency medical expenses and the diseases can be treated at the earliest.

For an annual checkup, it may cost around $ 40 – $100 per year depending upon the type of plan you choose. Sometimes, there may be emergency vet visits if your Ball python is infected so it is advisable to keep an extra $200 for those situations. On average, you may spend around $150 per year on medical expenses.

Final thoughts

When you calculate all the required items, from the initial cost of the Ball Python, to food, lighting, and plants, to medical expenses, it could cost you around $500 – $1000 per year. The electricity cost for the under-tank heating pad and for the UVB lighting should be considered, too.

But on average, if you buy a common morph of Ball Python then it would only cost you around $500 per year including all the extra costs. So before buying a Ball Python, analyze the cost and set a budget every year, and act accordingly, then you won’t spend any extra money and you can keep track of all the expenses for your Ball Python.

There are several ways to cut down on a few costs, like buying their food in bulk and purchasing a second-hand Ball Python and cage; that may save a few hundred dollars. After 2 or 3 years of owning the Ball Python, you will definitely have a knack at maintaining the Ball Python with reduced costs of maintenance.