Pets come in all shapes and sizes. For some people, a snake is the ultimate pet. Ball pythons are a popular choice for snake lovers of all skill levels because these particular serpents are relatively easy to care for.

Just because a snake may be easy to care for doesn't mean that you should rush out and buy a new snake. Take the time to evaluate your home and determine if you are prepared to welcome a ball python into your family first.

Ask yourself some simple questions to determine if it's the right time for you to invest in a ball python of your own.

Can You Provide a Proper Enclosure?

Snakes are not like dogs and cats. They cannot spend their time ranging freely with your family members after being brought home from the store. Snakes need to have a proper enclosure to ensure their health and safety.

Ball pythons do best in a terrarium that is filled with living plants, a healthy water supply, and adequate heat. Snakes are unable to generate their own body heat. You must provide your ball python with a heat lamp so that he or she can regulate body temperature properly.

Be careful not to place the entire enclosure under a heat lamp. Ball pythons also need a cool area where they can escape the heat lamp if their body temperature gets too high.

Place a specially designed hide on both the warm and cool ends of the terrarium to ensure your new ball python will be able to regulate body temperature comfortably.

Keep in mind that you will start out with a small terrarium, but you will need to upgrade the enclosure to accommodate the size of your ball python as he or she grows.

Can You Handle Feeding a Snake?

Establishing a feeding schedule for your snake will be important. Factors like age, size, and activity level will play a significant role in determining how often your ball python needs to be fed.

On average, you can expect to feed your snake about twice each week while the snake is still young, then once every week or two when the ball python has matured. Most snakes are opportunity eaters. They feed on rodents, fish, insects, and small mammals in the wild.

You can purchase fresh rodents for your snake from a breeder or pet store. If the thought of feeding your ball python live prey is unsettling, many pet stores also sell frozen rodents that can be used to meet your ball python's nutritional needs. 

Make sure that you are capable of feeding your snake by having a supply of fresh or frozen rodents available before you bring your ball python home.

Can You Provide Regular Veterinary Care?

Ball pythons need regular healthcare to thrive, just like any other type of pet. New snake owners must take the time to become familiar with some of the health problems their ball python could face after the snake is brought home.

Some pythons are affected by scale rot. Others may have an issue with regurgitation. Mites and respiratory infections can also plague ball pythons living in captivity.

You should find a veterinarian in your area who has experience working with reptiles before you invest in a ball python. This veterinarian can complete an initial health assessment, then complete follow-up examinations on a regular basis to maintain the health of your ball python over time.

Be prepared to make a trip to the veterinarian whenever a medical emergency presents itself if you want your ball python to lead a long and healthy life.

Contact a pet store that has ball pythons for sale to learn more.