Ball pythons are one of the most common snake breeds that are kept as pets
Ball Pythons are often confused with boas because they share similar characteristics.
However, while both species come from the same genus, they are very different animals.
Ball pythons are nocturnal and do not receive much ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure in nature.
This means that captive ball pythons do not require supplemental UVB lighting.
So the question is – Do ball pythons need uvb?
Ball Pythons don’t require ultraviolet light.
However, a lot of owners assert that UVB has improved their health and immune systems.
Yet, there is no conclusive data on the advantages of giving UV radiation to ball pythons.
The addition of UV lights, however, is not particularly harmful.
You can thus place some UV lamps inside your ball python tank setup if you are worried about the development and health of your snake.
Does Your Ball Python Need a UVB Light?
Most snakes are nocturnal animals.
That indicates that the majority of their activity occurs at night.
However, ball pythons in the wild can get UVB from the sun.
Knowing your ball python’s natural habitat is a straightforward guideline to follow to keep them healthy.
You don’t need to offer UVB illumination because ball pythons are nocturnal animals, as I’ve already stated.
In that regard, UVB lighting for your ball python is not required.
However, there is a condition.
When there is a source of UVB lighting in the enclosure, many pet owners notice improvements in their snakes.
Some reptiles benefit from the physiological effects of UVB lamps.
For instance, UVB lighting aids in the creation of vitamin D3, which makes it easier for your snake to absorb calcium.
In every way, this may be advantageous.
Additionally, UV radiation has been demonstrated to have psychological advantages.
Although these advantages may exist in theory, there is no proof that UVB has any particular advantages for snakes like ball pythons.
How Can UVB Light Be Safely Provided To Ball Pythons?
So you’ve decided you want to add a UVB light to your snakes enclosure which is fine of couse
But you need to know the safe way of providing UVB light
It’s important to understand how to add this safely which we will go through right now
There should always be around 12 inches between the light and the snake.
To prevent the bulb from becoming very hot, do this.
The ideal length for safe lighting is 12 inches.
Additionally, you can keep a maximum of 10 inches separating the snake and the light.
Any closer than that should not be allowed.
Another important issue you need to address is light maintenance.
Generally speaking, UVB bulbs do not survive very long.
Although they may appear to be operating without a hitch, UV is a light that cannot be seen by humans.
While the other lights are still being generated, your bulb’s UV light output may stop.
You may therefore think that the bulb is unchanged.
Because of this, it is challenging to draw conclusions just from visual signals.
It would be a good idea for snake owners to swap out their UVB bulbs around every six months to help combat this problem.
That would be an all-purpose rule.
You can swap out the bulb later if the one you purchase states that the UVB spectrum will last longer than six months.
UV light bulbs emit ultraviolet radiation, which can cause sunburns and skin cancer.
To make sure your lights are generating UVB correctly, you can perform testing.
More about UVB testing later on in the article
Incandescent vs Fluorescent
Fluorescent lights are much easier to work with than incandescent bulbs because they produce far fewer harmful ultraviolet rays.
They also provide a softer, warmer glow.
You can buy fluorescent bulbs at any hardware store.
UV rays are filtered out by a plastic, glass, or Plexiglass casing.
Therefore, it is best to purchase a light with this in mind.
You should choose the 5.0 T5 HO Reptisun, in my opinion.
It is a milder kind of UVB, which ought to be adequate for ball pythons.
Place them over the basking spot area
For optimal results, put them directly above the basking area on the ball python enclosure if you are really trying to receive UVB.
This is a fantastic approach to simulate how they might experience heat and UVB in nature.
Keep these tips in mind and you should be fine.
Also, remember what I said before: Lighting up the room at night is not the best idea.
Testing UVB Light
There is actually a very simple way to test whether your sunblock has been effective against UVA rays.
Ensure that all of the lights are off.
Full-spectrum lighting and all heating lamps are included in this.
It is preferable to turn off the light as well if the light in your room or the enclosure is too bright.
Activate the UVB light alone.
You don’t need to remove the light from the enclosure if the UVB light you’re testing is already there.
Take a sheet of blank white paper and lay it under a bright light.
A distance of 12 inches or 15 inches at most should be used for placement.
Put the white paper under a bright light.
A purple or blue light that is reflecting from the paper must be seen.
This indicates that the UVB light is still operational if you see it.
If all you can see are white beams, the bulb is either broken or past its prime.
The light bulb or tube can then be changed out for a fresh one.
Should I turn my ball pythons light off at night?
Ball pythons are nocturnal, and deserve a normal wake/sleep cycle.
Make sure that your ball python’s enclosure is 80F with a 90F basking spot at all times, however.
(Hopefully the heat is a thermostat-controlled heat mat or cord, and not a lamp— otherwise, you should replace the heat source).
You can keep it on during the day and at night you should switch it off
They respond to the day-night cycle in the wild, so it matters what you do for captive snakes as well.
But if you are using the light to supply warmth as well, you can switch to a red or black incandescent bulb at night (for minimal light that provides warmth) or for total darkness, a “CHE” bulb that just supplies heat.
“CHE” stands for ceramic heat emitter, & most any pet store would have them, as do online sources for pet supplies.
Be sure to regulate any of these you use, so you don’t over-heat your snake; connect the “light” either to a thermostat or at the very least, a rheostat (aka a lamp dimmer switch)- they’re available from ANY hardware store, not expensive & very easy to use- get the kind already installed on an extension cord, so all you do is plug your light into it- it will also help you economize on electricity used.
What About Ball Pythons That Are Albino?
Albino ball pythons have been bred by breeders who specialize in them.
They come in various colors including black, white, red, blue, orange, yellow, brown, green, pink, purple, etc. The coloration comes from their lack of pigment cells in their skin.
This allows light to pass through their bodies without being absorbed, giving them a translucent appearance.
These animals have very long tails compared to other species of snakes and they usually grow larger than most other breeds of snake.
Their diet consists mainly of rodents and insects but they will eat small birds if given the opportunity.
Like any pet, these snakes require proper care and training.
Because of their unique coloring, they tend to shed their scales regularly so owners often need to provide frequent baths to remove excess dirt and debris.
However, because they don’t produce mucus, they aren’t prone to respiratory problems or parasites.
As pets, they are generally docile and friendly towards people and other animals.
Some even enjoy human interaction.
They are active during daylight hours and sleep during the night.
It takes about 2 years before they reach maturity and around 5 years until they begin breeding.
Albinos are often referred to as “albino” snakes because they lack pigment in their scales.
While this makes them appear white, they actually exhibit many colors depending on how much pigment is present in their body.
Some albinos are completely colorless while others have varying shades of brown, gray, black, red, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, green, and even silver.
Ball pythons require a day/night cycle.
If you provide them with a day/night cycle, they won’t get stressed.
They also benefit from a day/night cycle because they are nocturnal.
Many first-time snake owners would purchase red light bulbs for lighting the enclosure during the night.
However, this type of bulb is often marketed as “nighttime” bulbs and many people believe that snakes cannot see them.
This is untrue; however, they are visible to snakes and ball pythons.
They can’t get a restful night’s sleep as a result.
As a general guideline, if you’re giving your python UVB/UVA lights, you should also give them a hiding place.
The plants in your terrarium might serve as a hiding place for your snakes.
The snake can then decide how much exposure it wants.
It’s not necessary to have UVB light.
However, there are some claims that the light aids the snake’s physiologic and psychological processes.
This is something that novice pet owners frequently criticize themselves for.
The best care is something they wish to provide for their snakes.
If that applies to you, hopefully you now know what to do with regard to UV lighting for your pet ball python.