Most animals that live in the wild thrive when they have companions of the same species, allowing them to bond and build relationships. However, ball pythons are very different in this respect; they don’t enjoy company as much as other animals do. These solitary creatures tend to be shy and prefer living alone rather than with others of their own kind. In the wild, you will only come across two or more ball pythons gathered together during mating season or if there is a lack of space for them to fit into one burrow.
Unfortunately, most pet parents are unaware of the potential risks of housing multiple ball pythons together. Not only will it cause stress to the animals involved, but it also comes with its own set of dangers, such as:
- Competition for resources
- Spreading of disease
- More expensive
- Egg binding
- Work overload
It’s essential to remember that even though your ball python was bred and raised in captivity, they still prefer the solitude of its own space.
In this article, we’ll discuss the issues of keeping two ball pythons together and how to house two ball pythons safely.
Is It Safe To Keep Two Ball Pythons Together?
It is not safe to keep two ball pythons together. Ball pythons are solitary animals, and they do not typically appreciate the company of another one of their kind. Even if two ball pythons, whether males or females, appear to be getting along in a shared enclosure, there’s always a chance for aggression to arise.
This could mean stress-related illnesses or physical injury for either snake.
Can You Have Male and Female Ball Pythons Together?
You must never keep male and female ball pythons together, as they can become fiercely competitive in their attempt to establish dominance. This could result in serious physical harm to both snakes.
Put Males & Females Together Only for Copulation
The only exception is when the two are placed together during the mating season (typically from September until November), exclusively for breeding purposes. I suggest keeping a male and female in the same tank for three days.
During this period, the male will attempt to persuade her to mate with him; if she is ready and receptive, they will commence mating. Once they have paired off, the two should be parted so the female can lay her eggs without interruption.
What Are the Issues of Having Two Ball Pythons Living Together?
It is not possible for two ball pythons to cohabitate peacefully; there are certain risks that come with housing two or more snakes in the same enclosure.
The Danger of Asserting Dominance Over Other
The ball python is not a social animal and typically marks its territory by asserting dominance over another snake when housed together. Unfortunately, this practice can be damaging for the weaker of the two snakes as they are often subject to suppression from their stronger counterparts.
For instance, if you witness your ball pythons resting together on the basking rock in their designated area, it might seem as though they’re enjoying one another’s presence and soaking up the warmth. In reality, however, what is taking place is that the dominant python has chosen to lay atop its submissive counterpart while claiming resources and asserting territory.
Competition for Food
An additional issue to be aware of is that the more assertive ball python will likely take away food from the less confident one. Ultimately, this can lead to malnutrition and poor health for your gentler snake.
In extreme cases, they may even refuse to eat altogether if their environment has become too hostile due to tank-sharing – something not a lot of us want for our pet reptiles!
Stress and anorexia can become a real problem when two pythons are housed together in the same cage. Not only do these issues affect their physical health, but it also diminishes their immunity to infections, particularly respiratory illnesses. Poor hygiene or extended periods of high stress can further worsen this situation leading to even more serious complications for your snake’s health.
If you opt for housing two ball pythons together, I urge you to be on the lookout for any signs of stress in your pets. These include:
- Become overly active
- Refuse to eat
- Excessive weight loss
- Hissing, & rubbing its nose against the tank
- Aggressive behavior
The Potential Risk of Cannibalism
While cases of ball pythons cannibalizing each other are exceptionally rare, it’s a phenomenon that must not be overlooked. This is more likely to happen when one python is significantly larger than the other or if an adult snake cohabitates with hatchlings in the same enclosure.
Therefore, as a precautionary measure, ensure that your ball pythons are of equal size before putting them in the same tank!
Increased Chances of Illness
When two snakes live in the same cage, it is much easier for illnesses to spread between them. To make sure that your snake remains healthy, you should be regularly checking its stool – which can become problematic when there’s more than one ball python per enclosure as you won’t know which droppings belong to who.
Diseases tend to spread rapidly in confined spaces, so if an illness is serious enough, it could end up killing both of your snakes at once.
The Danger of Egg Binding
Egg binding is a debilitating condition that can occur in ball pythons when a male and female snake is kept together in one enclosure. Egg binding occurs when eggs become stuck inside the female’s body, preventing her from laying them naturally.
Various factors, including overcrowding, improper diet, an inadequate nest box or container, dehydration, and an inadequate temperature gradient can cause this condition. If left untreated, egg binding can be fatal to the female ball python.
More Work To Do
Keeping two ball pythons in the same tank definitely increases the workload. You’ll need to provide twice as much food and do more frequent cleaning to ensure both snakes are comfortable.
You may need to feed the more submissive snake away from its dominant counterpart to prevent dominance problems during feeding time. This is an extra step that requires additional cleaning when caring for your snakes.
Keeping two ball pythons in the same tank is more expensive because it requires a larger enclosure. The enclosure must be ample for both snakes to have enough room to move around and explore their environment.
Furthermore, you’ll need to change substrates more frequently and purchase additional insulation and multiple heat sources, such as lamps and heating pads, to regulate the temperature in the enclosure.
To feed two pythons simultaneously, you may need to purchase additional water dishes or food bowls. These variables to provide basic care to both pets contribute to the heightened expenditure of keeping two ball pythons.
Is There a Safe Way or Option To Have Two Ball Pythons in the Same Tank?
Many experts advise against housing two ball pythons in the same cage, yet some pet owners have succeeded. If you’re determined to keep your reptiles together, I recommend following the given few tips for providing the ideal habitat:
- Initially, you must obtain an enclosure with sufficient room for your ball pythons; the ideal size being 24 square feet for each ball python.
- Ensure to provide multiple basking spots for your snakes so their territories don’t overlap.
- Additionally, fill the tank with plenty of branches and foliage to keep them active and engaged. This will help ensure that there aren’t any unsightly empty spaces in their habitat.
- Lastly, ensure that your snakes live in a sanitized habitat.
There may be additional monetary and temporal costs to maintain this setup for your two ball pythons. Despite all of these efforts, there is still no assurance that they can live peacefully in the same tank.
Keeping two ball pythons in the same tank is not recommended due to potential illness and aggression risks. If you decide to move forward, ensure both snakes have plenty of space and resources to thrive without overcrowding each other. Even after taking all the necessary precautions, there is no assurance that they will live harmoniously together. Thus, it is essential to research and weighs the pros and cons before deciding on whether or not to house your ball pythons together.
Have you cohobated ball pythons together? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!