Why is my ball python trying to escape? (top 5 reasons)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Why is my ball python trying to escape? We will give you the most common 5 reasons for why this happens. We then will give you tips on how to take care of your ball python pet, so that it is comfortable and lives a good life.

Why is my ball python trying to escape?

There are several reasons why your ball python is trying to escape. But before we discuss each of them, we must mention that the reasons we offer below do not cover those snakes that are stressed, neglected or have a certain disease. Therefore, we recommend that, after following our advice on caring for a python ball as a pet, if you are concerned about your snake’s behaviour, seek the advice of a veterinarian or animal behaviour specialist.

That being said, the reasons why your ball python is trying to escape may be the following:

It is not well hydrated 

Always keep fresh, clean water available for your snake. Check the water levels daily! The size of the water dish is up to you. If it’s big enough for the snake to take a dip believe me sooner or later the snake is going to make the most of that opportunity – ball pythons enjoy a good soak now and then. Make sure the water container is not too deep for young snakes – an inch or less will suffice.

Its terrarium is too small

They are very strong snakes that can easily lift lids or open poorly closed doors. Although it is a mainly terrestrial snake, it likes to climb on logs or lianas.

Minimum measurement: 90 cm long, 45 cm wide and 50 cm high.

Recommended size: 120 cm long, 45 wide and 50 cm high.

It is too hot for your snake 

The day-night temperature cycle is very important for snakes. 

Day: 25 to 30 Celsius, with an area lit by a spot that heats between 30 and 34 Celsius. Night: From 20 to 23 Celsius. 

It is not recommended to use ceramic lamps because they dry out the air in the terrarium. It is better to use a broad spectrum spot. The humidity should be greater than 60%, ideally between 70 and 80%.

Ventilation is important but drafts must be avoided. Regarding lighting, since it is a nocturnal species with the infrared view, it is enough that the terrarium is in a space with a window or special lamps can be used for these animals.

Branches and trunks will be provided as basic accessories so that the animal can curl up and rub itself together to make the move. It is convenient to make a shelter with artificial plants and also have a bucket with warm water in a cool area large enough for the python to bathe in addition to drinking. 

The best substrates for the terrarium are newspaper or coconut fibre, which must be changed every day.

Your snake is hungry 

The best way to know that the appropriate amount of food is being given is that the animals that are given do not exceed the width of the snake.

The ball python is a carnivorous predatory animal, which is usually more active at night, which is when it goes hunting, its body is perfectly designed for hunting, its colour, its jaws adapted to swallow whole prey, its teeth curved towards the inside its mouth so that it is very difficult for the prey to escape once bitten and its thermal receptors located in the scales of the upper lip that it uses to find warm-blooded animals in the dark.

Ball Pythons can eat frozen/thawed rodents or previously dead rodents. Never leave a live rodent unattended with any snake, as they can harm the snake!

It is their breeding season

Snakes are usually more active during spring and summer. It is not uncommon for them to try to escape their terrarium to look for a partner. 

How to take care of your ball python

Before considering taking home a ball python, there are some things you need to take into account. When it feels restless, annoyed or frightened, it has a peculiar defence behaviour that consists of curling upon itself, in the form of a very compact ball, hiding the head in the centre with what is well protected between its rings. 

These snakes also hiss. This animal does not usually defend itself by biting since it is a peaceful snake, but the jaw of these animals must always be taken into account.

The terrarium 

The size of the terrarium for a young specimen is approx. 80x50x50 cm and for an already developed adult, the measurements should be approx. 100x60x60 cm. (Length x WIDTH X HEIGHT).

The terrarium must have an area with a higher temperature to rest and a cooler one to go to very high temperatures. (Temperature gradient). They should always have good ventilation at different heights in the terrarium to avoid drafts.

Accessories: A branch or trunk must be provided so that the animal can curl and rub when shedding its skin, this branch should not be too high, to reduce the risk of injury in case of accidental fall. Also, several hiding places to take refuge, you can add some artificial, non-toxic plants. (Plastic or fabric plants).

Water: In the cold part of the terrarium, you have to place a container of warm water big enough for the snake to get inside and drink. The water must be renewed daily as it gets dirty quickly.

Then you can add all the decoration you want to the terrarium. It would be very good to put a thermometer and a hygrometer to know any moment the temperature and humidity inside.

The temperature: The terrarium should always have a daytime temperature between 26º C (in the cold part) and 32º C (in the hot part). At night, from 26º C to 24º C, in the warm part, approximately coinciding with the usual temperatures of their place of origin. (Heating stones are not recommended to increase the temperature as they can cause burns.) 

If more heating is needed, we suggest using ceramic heaters, which are like light bulbs but made of porcelain that only radiates heat or an electric blanket. You have to be very careful when using these means regarding their installation and position inside the terrarium, as our reptile could suffer burns.

Substrate: Never use granulated substrates such as cat litter, gravel, artificial grass or earth with pebbles or for any reason use cedar or pine, both are usually toxic for this snake Some of these materials can cause serious dermatitis by abrasion, or be accidentally ingested.

The ideal substrate, although not the most aesthetic, is a newspaper, it can be throw away once dirty and replace it with a new one without problems or expenses and

it does not harm the snake at all. You should change the substrate every day.

The ideal substrate, being beautiful to the eye and not harmful, is coconut fibre, this substrate does not need to be disinfected.

Disinfect: Any branch that is taken from the field, some other type of substrate and rocks must be disinfected. The way to do it is very simple to place it in the oven at a temperature of 250º C for between 20 to 30 minutes.

Lighting: A ball python is a nocturnal animal, which focuses its activity in the early hours of the night, and has infrared sight. Therefore you do not need special tubes or other types of lighting; on the contrary, the incandescent light bothers him. 

If you want to provide some type of lighting, we suggest using special lamps for nocturnal reptiles or blue ceramic lamps, which do not disturb the snake. They should have a photoperiod of light of 12 hours during the day and 12 hours at night. 

Normally timers are used to turn the light on and off but it is enough that in the room where the terrarium is located there is a window through which the light enters the indicated number of hours.

Humidity: The humidity should be between 60% and 80%. It is obtained by spraying with water regularly (two or three times a week) avoiding leaving the terrarium “wet”, only damp. (If it falls to lower values it can cause serious problems to move correctly and if it rises it can cause problems in the skin of our pet.)

How to feed a ball python

In adult animals, a mouse of the same thickness as her a week will be enough. It is advisable to offer dead prey as they could harm your snake. We do not recommend hamsters or birds due to excess hair and feathers respectively.

The ball python eats once every seven to eight days until it reaches approximately 60 cm. Once fed, like all snakes, it will remain inactive for a few days. During this period, the animal should not be disturbed in any way (either by touching it or putting your hand in the terrarium) as it could regurgitate the food and become seriously ill. 

When they are adults, they usually eat for 10 or 15 days.

Loosing their skin

We must raise the humidity to 70%, approximately, in the moulting season. Snakes shed all their entire skin, with a higher frequency when they are growing, and that can range from once every three weeks.

Days before the moult, the snake will not accept food and the eyes take on a dull, grey or bluish appearance (it is a membrane that covers the eyes and will also be eliminated with the moult) then the skin takes on a dull appearance and is finally moulted.

The skin must be completely removed, the fact that there are patches or pieces attached to the animal indicates a problem, be it lack of moisture or a health problem. The snake does not eat while the process takes place, which can last from one to two weeks. 

It is essential to spray the terrarium two or three times a week when it is moulting and it is very important not to handle it until it is finished. Special attention must be paid to humidity during the moulting season to avoid problems.

Handling a ball python

Suitable for beginners, always taking into account the basic safety regulations. After the animal gets used to its environment (approx. 2 weeks), it can be manipulated. It should be taken from the centre of the body and held gently but firmly. 

At first, the animal will try to move away but then it will gain confidence. Daily contact will establish a good level of confidence. Ball pythons are naturally somewhat shy, but this does not mean that they cannot get used to being treated by their owners (excessive handling and hand-to-hand transfer stresses the animal and leads it to defend itself ).

The most important thing is to be gentle and avoid sudden and violent movements, if the snake wraps itself too much on the armour around the neck, keep calm and gently unscrew it.

After its acquisition, it is advisable to take the snake to a specialized veterinarian to examine the animal, and if necessary an internal deworming.

Ball python health problems

Stomatitis: Mouth infection, membranes form in the oral cavity, causing pain and the animal refusing to eat, it is observed that it drools.

Pneumonia: Associated with a bad temperature in the terrarium, many of the bacteria involved in stomatitis are the cause of pneumonia, secretion is observed through the nostrils, bubbles emit sounds when breathing, and of course, does not eat.

Bad ecdysis or shedding: Skin remains are observed in our pet, low humidity is suspected, it is resolved by giving it warm water baths. Eye skin retention may be due to low humidity or parasites should be removed by a veterinarian.

External parasites: Before buying any animal we must review it, external parasites can promote the formation of subcutaneous abscesses, weaken and kill our python.

Internal parasites: Our python should be dewormed 2 times a year against worms and protozoa, some of the parasites can be transmitted to humans.

Burns: Due to pythons having access to heat sources, they can be fatal

Other cautions: Snakes can easily carry parasites, some of which can not only make or kill the animal but can be transmitted to humans or other animals. That is why a monthly investigation in this regard is recommended.


In this article, we answered the following question: Why is my ball python trying to escape? We gave you the most common 5 reasons for why this happens. 

Remember that a ball python is a nocturnal animal, which focuses its activity in the early hours of the night. Thus, you should not be very surprised if your ball python is trying to escape, especially during the night.

Following our advice, you should make sure that your pet has everything that it needs: water, space, humidity, food and attention. 

If you have comments or questions on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Why is my ball python trying to escape?

Why does my ball python want to escape?

There are several reasons why your ball python tries to escape. Among them: the temperature inside the terrarium is too cold or too hot; it is hungry; it doesn’t have enough space to move; there is no lid on the terrarium. 

How do I stop my ball python from escaping?

To stop your ball python from escaping you should always make sure you closed safely the lid of the terrarium. If you can lift it easily with your finger, your snake will be able to do that with his head. 

Are Ball Pythons good at escaping?

Yes, ball pythons are very good at escaping. They are called escape artists. You should make sure the lid of the terrarium is firmly closed and it is better if you keep the snake in an escape-proof room in your house. 

What temperature will kill a ball python?

A temperature that exceeded 33-34 Celsius degrees is too hot for your Ball Python. he terrarium should always have a daytime temperature between 26º C (in the cold part) and 32º C (in the hot part). 

Will my snake die if it’s too cold?

Yes, you snake may die if it’s too cold. However, we are speaking about temperatures below freezing, before it can harm your pet. When your snake is cold, it will slow down its metabolism to preserve energy. 


Avianandexotic.com – Ball Python Care Sheet

Reptifiles.com – Ball Python Handling Tips

Petlifetoday.com -How To Take Care Of A Ball Python

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