The Banana Snake – a Morph to Watch and Own
It may be that you have moved from your large home into something smaller. You may have kept dogs and cats, but your new home won’t permit them. You may want to consider keeping a snake as a pet instead. After all, most snakes don’t require much space – they’re quiet, low maintenance and not time-consuming.
Be Knowledgeable on the Snake you’re Interested In
Keeping a snake isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve decided to try a snake for a pet, it will be important to build up your knowledge on the particular snake you have in mind. There are even some countries that regulate the keeping of venomous exotic snakes as pets.
They want to make sure that the would-be owner first has a certain amount of experience working with the snakes. There are other countries that simply ban the keeping of deadly snakes outright.
Ball Python snakes such as the BananaSnake have a thick body with a smallish head. The Banana ball python isn’t your standard ball python. It’s a ‘morph’ snake. Morph means that the snake is a variant of a species or subspecies.
Also, it means that where a regular species of the snake might be brown or black, a morph will be another color. All ball python morphs are part of the same species – python regius.
For a novice snake owner, they are an excellent non-venomous first choice. They’re constrictors, posing no danger to anyone except their prey. The snake twists its body tightly around its prey, squeezing all the life out of them.
If they’re not careful though, these snakes often become a meal for bigger snakes and other animals that are willing to take them on.
Ball Pythons are skilled hunters in the wild. They have the ability to sense even the slightest temperature change, making them hypersensitive to any warm-blooded creatures close by. Your Banana Ball Python has special pits above the mouth that detects heat. They also have the Jacobson’s organ in their mouth for smelling.
These characteristics help them to be successful nocturnal hunters.
Your Banana Snake has Longevity on his Side
Your Banana snake can grow to about 3 to 5 feet in length, and they’re docile and easy to handle. Of the Pythons, Ball Pythons are one of the smallest. Knowing other basic facts on these snakes will help you decide if you would like to own one.
It needs careful consideration as these particular snakes, with good care, are going to be with you for a long time. They can get to about 20, 25 or 30 years of age.
The reason they’re called Ball Pythons is that when they’re threatened, they roll themselves into a tight ball with the head actually tucked inside the coils. In doing this, they’re trying to avoid injury.
Ball Pythons aren’t particularly active so you aren’t going to have to splash out on a huge enclosure for them either. There are quite a good number of Ball Pythons available in the pet market today.
In fact, there are hundreds of different types of ball python morphs, and prices will vary depending on morph, age, size, gender and availability.
You’ll find striped ball pythons, clown, banded, jungle, axanthic, labyrinth, tiger, spider, ghost, ringer, high-gold, and piebald ball pythons, and plenty of information available on each of the different variations there are.
Interesting Names to Describe their Looks
Some of these Ball Pythons come with interesting names, and you’ll find ball pythons with names like Albino Ball Python, Mystic-, Phantom- and Coral Glow Python. The Leucistic Blue Python is a fascinating looking white snake with blue eyes.
Then, of course, there is also the Banana Ball Python which is also known as the Coral Glow Python.
It is thought that the Banana Ball Python is one of the most sought after morphs among the Ball Pythons.
Over the years, however, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the fact that people have believed that the Coral Glow and Banana were two separate morphs.
This snake is known as the Royal Python in Europe, and in the United States, it is known as the Ball Python. You would think that the Banana Snake is going to be a yellow snake, but the banana ball python is actually an orange and purple albino.
They are hugely popular and have been in huge demand since being discovered.
Create a whole new morph
When you start doing research on the genetics of all the morphs. It is understandable that you can get confused with all the information, but it can be exciting nonetheless.
Once you discover how to breed certain morphs together, you can actually be creating a whole new morph.
There are even Ball Python morph calculators which you can use to get the hang of things.
It is precisely why these Ball Pythons are such popular snakes with breeders – it’s the huge variety of different morphs coming about. Ball Python morphs have become very sought after as pets, some going for quite a bit of money.
These mutations are becoming more readily available, and for the color you want, it may even be necessary to book your snake from a reputable breeder.
It is the Ball Pythons appealing nature and its myriads of colors and patterns that has assured a growing interest in keeping these snakes as pets.
Their Natural Habitat
The Banana ball python, just like all other Pythons, comes from West Africa. Some of these Western African countries are Mali, Central African Republic, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal, among others.
The snakes like the warm weather and prefer savannas, sparsely wooded areas and grasslands. They are fairly adaptable snakes when it comes to habitat. They can climb into trees, but they prefer not to.
In captivity, they need a secure habitat – one with a lid so that they can’t escape. For handling your Banana Ball Python you can use a hook and your hands to support him.
You can opt to do away with tools and just use your hands, but always keep his body supported to prevent any injuries.
Lift him up around the middle area of his body. The idea is to pick him up gently and not to startle your snake. Don’t pick him up when he’s shedding, and always wash your hands before and after handling your snake.
A Sought After Morph – the Banana
Banana ball pythons can sometimes have black spots at certain points on the body. This is why it is called the Banana Snake – because it looks like a banana that is ripening. Banana ball pythons are what is known as a base morph, which means they are naturally occurring.
The thing with these morphs is that they are rare and exotic, and when you get one from a reliable breeder, you will be delighted with your choice as the breeders make excellent husbandry a top priority.
There is a lot about this snake’s breeding habits, and you will need to do your own research on this as there is quite a lot to it.
One thing is sure, these Ball Pythons come in a wide variety of color mutations, and breeders love creating and discovering new color morphs and sharing these with snake lovers.
Choosing a Particular Morph
When you are ready to get your ball python, always look for a young, captive bred snake from a reputable breeder.
You want your snake to be alert and curious, to have nice bright, clear eyes and a snake that doesn’t have any respiratory problems with bubbles around his nostrils.
Some other illnesses to be aware of with this snake include dermal fungal infections. If your Banana Ball Python is kept in temperatures which aren’t right for a fairly long period of time, the snake can develop skin lesions that can turn crusty.
You will need to check and make sure that your snake’s enclosure is warm enough.
More illnesses that your pet snake can succumb to are mites, mouth rot, and rodent bites. Rodent bites can be brought about when you feed your snake live rodents.
These rodents might put up a good fight with your snake and cause your snake injury and infection.
Mating and Reproduction
Young Banana Ball Pythons will usually start showing interest in the opposite sex by the time they are 2 years of age or even earlier. After mating, the female will lay between 4 – 10 eggs in a humid burrow. The female snake remains coiled around the eggs for the entire 75-80 day incubation period.
In captivity, you can let your female snake incubate the eggs herself or you can remove the eggs to be incubated in an incubator. With the incubator set at a temperature of 82 – 86°F, the eggs will hatch in 50 to 60 days. The hatchlings will be about 10″ in length.
If you want to keep a Banana Snake as a pet, do more intense research on its habitat so that you can copy its natural environment for the enclosure you have in mind. Providing your pet snake with a ‘natural-as-possible’ habitat will make it happier and healthier.
Your Ball Python’s Cage
It goes without saying that a bigger cage is always going to be better for your adult Ball Python. However that isn’t always possible, so your Banana Ball Python will happily settle down into a terrarium of 40 gallons or so.
Now that you know what size terrarium to buy for your ball python, you probably need to know the best way to create a habitat that is similar to its natural one. You’ll also want to know how to keep up the care of your ball python.
But first things first, where can you even get the right sized terrarium?
Amazon offers everything you need for snake care, and you can choose any size and style snake terrariums from leading brands. For your Banana Snake, the Zoo Med 40 Gallon Snake Kit comes with everything you need to help your Banana snake settle down happily into captivity.
The comprehensive kit is made up of a 40-gallon terrarium made from a mix of glass, plastic, and metal. Size of the cage is 18 in x 36 in x 18 in. Included in the kit are also a basking lamp, aspen bedding, water bowl, Habba Hut, dome, thermometer, and humidity gauge as well as Reptisafe water conditioner.
Size of an Enclosure
The size of an enclosure like this is adequate to hold your adult-sized banana ball python. The snake will be able to move around in comfort. You will notice that this snake kit already comes with the substrate.
If you were to set up a snake enclosure yourself you could also opt to use newspaper. This is an effective, popular, cheap substrate and is always readily available. Once it is soiled, it is easy to change. True it’s not particularly attractive looking for people who like a professionally set up enclosure, but it’s great for tight budgets.
Referring back to the comprehensive snake kit, you’ll have found aspen bedding. This is because ZooMed has professional herpetoculturists who know how to produce excellent products that benefit pets. They bring out their safe, naturalistic Aspen substrate.
This bedding allows snakes to form burrows and nests just like they would in the wild. The substrate is 99.9% dust free, it is easy to clean, and it has a 191% absorbency rating and is also odorless.
Remember that keeping your snake’s cage clean is important for its health. Snakes in a confined area always need to be protected from harmful micro-organisms and parasites. Therefore the enclosure will need to be cleaned out every other day.
Certainly, feces need to be removed as soon as you discover them. The substrate will need to be changed every 3 months.
The Banana Snakes wants to Take a Dip
After the substrate, you will need a water dish for your Banana Snake. It has to be big enough so that your snake can get into it to actually lie submerged. You will find that your snake makes use of the water bowl more often during its shedding period.
Speaking of shedding, Ball pythons like humidity levels of 50 to 60% as this helps with its shedding.
These snakes shed their skin periodically, and you’ll know that shedding is due to happen because the eyes become cloudy. The shedding process takes about 1 to 2 weeks. If you have a captive Banana Snake, it will be helpful to have a tree branch in the cage.
This encourages the snake to use the tree as a rubbing-post to help it with its shedding.
Exo Terra’s Reptile Water Dish is a good investment for your snake enclosure. Your Banana snake will be pleased with it, and it’s made to last.
The bowl’s measurements are 9.7 x 10 x 2.5 inches, and it’s made from food-grade resin. You can opt for the small, medium, large or extra large bowl.
People who take their pet snake enclosures seriously will like the natural, realistic rock finish to the bowl. The inner part of the bowl is a smooth non-pitted surface and it is coated also to prevent harmful bacteria developing.
Exo Terra has made sure to keep the coloring of the bowl natural and neutral too. This means the bowl can fit naturally into a desert or tropical setting.
Every Snake Likes to Go Into Hiding
Invest in a hide box for your Banana Snake. Every snake likes to hide out for a bit, and you can solve this solution by buying a good hide box for your snake.
Snakes are calm creatures and they like to escape into a ‘cave’ or under a log or stone in the wild when there is a commotion going on around them.
A snake that feels overwhelmed in captivity and without a place to escape to can become highly agitated and stressed.
The Banana Ball Python is a secretive snake as it is, and spends a good part of their day hiding. If you hadn’t thought of this accessory before, there is no need to stress because a box of sorts will work fine for now.
Later on, if you want something more refined you can buy a proper hide box. The Pangea Reptile Hide Box is a particularly good idea because it’s a dark colored box, providing proper security for your snake. It is made out of smooth plastic and measures 13.25″x9″x3.25″.
Temperature – Critical for Banana Snake’s Health
Ensuring proper temperatures and humidity in your snake’s cage will be critical for its health. With a Banana Snake, you can’t just willy nilly guess at temperatures within the enclosure.
Ball pythons are native to central and western Africa and they come from an area known for its warmth. The enclosure must allow for a proper thermal gradient – a hotspot on one end and a cool spot on the other end. A basking spot temperature of 88° to 96°F and an ambient temperature of 78° to 80°will work.
You will need to look in and monitor temperatures. You can’t just set the temperature and forget about it. Use a digital indoor/outdoor thermometer with a probe. A good example of this thermometer is the Zoo Med Digital with a remote sensor probe for accurate readings.
There are a few heat lamps for snakes that can heat the snake’s enclosure as well as heat pads. YourReptile brings out a nice one with a low heat that won’t burn your snake.
Your ball python is a nocturnal species so supplemental lighting won’t be necessary.
People who have owned these Ball Pythons will tell you not to invest in a hot rock as a heat source for your snake as they can burn your pet. They say that heat pads or under tank heaters are a safe option.
This is because the amount of heat that is produced can actually be controlled and adjusted to compensate for temperature fluctuations. For instance, in Winter the amount of heat produced will need to be increased.
These under tank heaters will cover ¼ to l/3 of the bottom of the tank and should be placed at one end of the cage.
If you’re using an under-the-tank heater on a glass terrarium, for instance, you will need a rheostat to control the heat because these pads can get pretty hot.
They can actually crack the glass of your tank. The rheostat simply reduces the amount of electricity that reaches the tank heater.
Feeding Your Banana Snake
You can feed your pet Banana Ball Python small frozen or pre-killed adult mice once in 10 days. Once your snake has fed, don’t handle it for at least a day after feeding to avoid regurgitation.
Being nocturnal, the Banana Ball Python feeds at night. Snakes become more active in the evening and you can get into the habit of feeding your pet Banana snake at this time.
If you disturb your pet too often you may find him refusing his food. Don’t worry too much as It is common for any snakes to fast and go without food from time to time, and Ball pythons are known as finicky feeders.
Ball pythons stop feeding for any number of reasons –
- their environment is too cold or too hot
- the cage size could be the wrong size
- the reptile is preparing to shed
- the snake could be ill
You don’t have to believe that your python’s mice or rats have to be alive. Your pet can be trained to eat a frozen mouse which has been thawed.
You don’t have to fret and think you’ve got to invest in a cat or an owl to catch the mice for you. You can buy frozen mice online and they can be delivered right to your door.
Remember to buy small or large mice according to the size of your snake. Younger snakes are smaller and they won’t be able to swallow or digest the food that is too big.
The right ball python enclosure set-up will ensure a healthy, content snake. These snakes are one of the most popular pets with reptile pet owners because they’re pretty low-maintenance.
They’re good-natured, they’re super cool-looking and they can live for a good many years.
There are many different color variations of the ball python, and the Banana Snake is no exception.
Who knows what the next years will produce. But, for now, the Banana Snake is a great pet for anyone interested in these cool, easy-going morph snakes.
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