Snake lovers, including myself, are looking to give our snakes a safe and beautiful home to remind them of their wild homes. However, when it comes to choosing the proper enclosures for them to thrive in, it can be tricky. For example, can a paludarium be the right place for a ball python?
Paludariums are not the best enclosure for ball pythons to live in. Putting the snake in this kind of tank will cause health issues, endanger the snake and other inhabitants, and result in the ball python’s death if not cleaned up to standards for the snake.
In this article, I’ll explain why Paludariums aren’t a suitable enclosure with health risks associated with them, costs of the tank, and how they can be a danger to other inhabitants if you choose to have any.
The Effects of Living in a Paludarium on Ball Pythons
If you look closely at paludarium setups, they resemble a rainforest most of the time. I want you to think about this: If you have a snake accustomed to dry areas, why would it live in a jungle?
Paludariums are built to accustom swamp and rainforest amphibians with water and land habitat. A ball python is usually found in dry, humid environments like savannahs, and its enclosure should resemble such.
Paludariums are the worst type of enclosure you could use for a ball python. These enclosures are made to support aquatic and reptile animals that can cohabit a space together. While they’re helpful for other types of reptiles, I don’t think you will find much use for them with a ball python.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have any water at all with ball pythons. These slithery snakes love to sit in water to cool down and swim if they need to for survival. The problem with paludariums is having too large a percentage of water, and captive snakes shouldn’t need to swim across the water for survival.
Can I Set Up a Paludarium With Less Water?
The word paludarium, defined by Science Mill, is an ecosystem with different living elements including plants and fish and non-living elements including the water, air, and rocks. Food cycles and energy flows connect these elements and facilitate their interactions.
As you can see in the definition, paludariums are better for aquatic animals and reptiles. Some snakes are marine, but ball pythons are not, and that’s the main limiting factor.
Paludariums can pose a real threat to your ball python if not set up correctly. Whether you put in less or more water is still concerning for the snake. Not cleaning correctly and no constant water filtration will threaten your ball python’s health and result in severe injury and death.
Putting your snake in this type of tank will lead to sickness and, worst-case scenario, death. Here’s why:
Snakes are cold-blooded animals, so they require a constant warm temperature to keep warm. When we get overheated, we go to shade or even use water to lower our body temperature. Snakes do the same and go to any cool area to lie down in.
It can be a problem when you have a paludarium. Your ball python will want to cool down in the water and possibly not get out. Not to mention, they may even freeze to death if the water is too cold. If you didn’t know this, when a snake becomes hyperthermic, its body starts to shut down and is limited in its movements.
It leads to possibly drowning and hyperthermia. In either case, the snake can die if not immediately treated.
Oddly Cute Pets, an informative reptile website, states, as cold-blooded animals, ball pythons need sufficiently warm and cool zones. But temperatures below 70° F (21° C) will cause the snake’s body to shut down and even die if they remain in these conditions long enough.
In a paludarium, you’ll spend a lot more time cleaning the tank than you would any other enclosure. Changing bedding and wiping it down may be the only things that come to mind when you’re cleaning, but there’s a lot more you have yet to learn.
Sitting at the bottom of your tank is stagnant, dirty water that may even look clean to you. In reality? It’s a breeding ground for parasites and will kill your snake if not constantly filtered.
The only way to solve this problem is to install a filter that can be easily accessed and refill the water when cleaned. To some (myself included), it sounds like a lot of work, and we may not have the time to clean and change filters as much as we need to.
If I Can’t Use a Paludarium, What Can I Use for My Ball Python?
I’m glad you asked! There are so many different setups and tanks perfect for ball pythons (and not to mention, safer than the paludarium setup).
Snake owners have opted to use the vivarium setup to fit their snake’s needs. They add more greenery and land than a paludarium, making it perfect for ball pythons and other reptiles that aren’t suitable for water living.
When looking for a tank for ball pythons, you need to focus more on length than height. These snakes don’t regularly climb and don’t need as much height in their tank. Let’s talk about some tank requirements, and I will show you perfect thanks for your ball python below.
Carolina Custom Cages Extra Long
A tank I recommend that has a great length is the Carolina Custom Cages Extra Long from Amazon.com. This tank offers a great width and length measurement along with a waterproof base so you can add some water for your ball python to cool down. The only downside to this tank is the high price, but I think the price is worth what you get!
Exo Terra Glass Natural Terrarium Kit
This tank is perfect for juvenile ball pythons and saves you some money in the meantime! This tank from Amazon.com offers dual hinged doors, UV and heat bulbs closer to the snake. It’s made to suit reptiles in need of dry, humid conditions, making it perfect for a ball python.
A vivarium is the best approach to decorate and add some greenery to your snake’s home that mimics your ball python’s natural habitat. Vivariums focus more on being an animal/reptile habitat than a terrarium, primarily used to raise fish and plants.
To create a bioactive vivarium for your ball python, this YouTube video by The Bio Dude Josh Halter explains and shows how to set up the perfect home for your ball python:
Paludariums aren’t suitable for a ball python due to too much water, height rather than width, and better fitting aquatic life rather than a snake. Vivariums and bioactive setups are always the go-to tank setup for ball pythons and much safer than paludariums.
- Reddit: Was wondering if a ball python could be housed in a paludarium
- Infinite Scales: Can Ball Pythons Breathe Underwater?
- The Reptile Guide: Do Ball Pythons Like Water? – Swimming, Bathing & Shedding
- Oddly Cute Pets: How Cold Can A Ball Python Survive
- Science Mill: Paludarium