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all pictures and artwork on this web site are the exclusive property of Joe Pociask Pythons 2002, 2003, 2004


Basic Care Instructions:

In the table below, we have outlined the basic care information for Ball Pythons and Irian Jaya Carpet Pythons.  This information is based on our experience with these snakes and our discussions with other hobbyists and breeders.  While these guidelines are a good starting point, you should thoroughly research the specific requirements for any animal you intend to keep.  There are numerous internet and print resources available on these and other species you may wish to keep.

Requirement Comments Ball Pythons IJ Carpet Pythons

Enclosure and Substrate

Your snakes require a secure well ventilated enclosure.  Glass aquaria (with secure screen top), plastic sweater boxes, and custom reptile enclosures are all acceptable.  We house our Balls and Carpets on shredded aspen bedding, but cypress mulch, newspaper or paper towels also make an acceptable substrate.  Do not use cedar bedding! Juveniles prefer a small enclosure.  A 10 gal. aquarium or similarly sized enclosure will do nicely for a year or so.  Adults will require more space.  We house our adults in a custom made rack system with plastic sweater box enclosures.  A 30 gal. aquarium will provide adequate space for all but the largest of specimens.  Ball pythons do not seem to require a great deal of vertical space, so floor space is the key factor. Juveniles seem to do well in 20 gal. tall aquariums or similarly sized enclosures for their first year or two of their life.  Adults require more space.  A 50 gal. or larger aquarium or similarly sized enclosure is necessary.  We keep our adults in custom made enclosures that measure about 40 in. wide by 20 in. deep by 20 in. high.  These pythons are great climbers and will use the enclosures' vertical space if provided with branches or ledges.


Temperature and Humidity As with all snakes, it is important to provide your animals with a temperature gradient (warmer temperatures on one end of the enclosure).  This temperature gradient allows the animals to maintain an ideal body temperature. Temperatures can be maintained with lamps, under-tank heaters, heat tape or ceramic elements.  Special lighting is not required for either of these species.  It is important to control your heating devices with a thermostat or rheostat.  In both species, a slight night-time drop in temps is desirable.  If you plan to breed your snakes, a winter cooling period is also necessary.


For Ball Pythons:
- 92 F  warm side
- 85 F  cool side
(we keep babies slightly cooler, at about 87 on the warm end)


ideal relative humidity of 30% to 50%, which can be increased during shedding cycles

For IJCPs:
- 86 F  warm side
- 80 F  cool side


ideal relative humidity of 40% to 60%, which can be increased during shedding cycles

Cage Furnishings Both species require some  very basic cage furnishings.  Although a very beautiful naturalistic environment can be created, it is not required.  Keep in mind that a fancy, naturalistic enclosure will be more difficult to clean and maintain. For Balls, one shallow and tight hiding spot should be provided on each end of the enclosure.  This seems particularly important for hatchlings.  One small water bowl should be provided and fresh water should be available at all times. For IJCPs, I provide one or more stout branches for climbing.  Thick grape-vine type branches are available at most pet stores and can be ordered on-line.  You may fashion your own branches if you wish.  Its a good idea to sterilize the branches with heat prior to use. Do not use cedar!  One or two hiding spots can be provided, particularly for hatchlings.  I do not provide separate hides for our adults, but they can "hide" in the corners of their enclosures and behind and under their branches.  One small water bowl with fresh water should be available at all times.


Feeding For general maintenance of either species, one appropriately sized pre-killed or thawed-frozen rodent should be fed every 1 or 2 weeks.  For hatchlings, breeder females, or to encourage faster growth, you can feed more and/or more often. Hatchling Ball Pythons will take small adult mice or rat pups.  Although the prey item may seem too large to you, most baby BPs will ignore smaller prey.  We try to feed all of our adults medium rats, however some to seem to prefer very large mice instead. Hatchling IJCPs will take fuzzy or hopper sized mice.  Adults can be maintained on large mice or small to medium rats.



Blacksburg, Virginia

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