Burmese Python Care Sheet
Burmese Pythons are definitely not for the beginner. Despite their seemingly docile nature at most times their sheer size and unpredictability make them extremely dangerous for the inexperienced. Burmese Pythons can easily reach 18′ and weigh over 200 lbs. The largest recorded was 26′ and weighed over 300lbs. Even for the experienced, the size makes them difficult to own.
As with all snakes housing is one of the most important parts of your pets happiness. With a Burmese Python and their size custom housing is the only option. “Burms” can grow up to 10′ in the first 18 months so to get a 20 gallon tank or aquarium would be a waste of money. A good size tank that will house your Burm would be 72″w x 36″ x 36″t. Your cage need to be solid as their strength has been known to crack plexiglas and shatter glass. Hardware cloth stapled into the wood with a pneumatic stapler is the way to go. Once you have your cage set up add logs as they will climb around when young.
There are many different options available to you for the bottom of you Burmese Pythons cage. You can use paper towels, newspaper, astroturf or purchase Reptile Bedding at your local pet store but this can get a bit pricy. My recommendation would be Cypress Mulch. Only about $4.00 at your local Lowes or Home Depot. (NEVER use pine or cedar mulches it can be toxic). Cypress Mulch looks the best in my opinion and allows you to spot clean soiled areas as opposed to totally replacing the bedding. You do however need to completely replace bedding at least every three months to avoid mites and other insect problems.
Lighting is very important. You must be able to allow you Ball to experience both day and night. Therefore you must use some type of lighting (a normal household incandescent bulb will work just fine) during the day to simulate daytime and the light must be turned off to simulate night. If you do use bulbs inside the cage ensure that you have a wire mesh over the bulb to avoid burns.
Proper heat is a must. The temperature in the cage should be kept between 80 and 85F with a basking area of about 90F. Basking area can be achieved with a heat rock or overhead ceramic heat source (recommended). With the size your cage should be, the overhead ceramic heat source is the way to go. Make sure if you use the overhead heat source that you keep the fixture outside the cage or place a wire mesh over the fixture to avoid burns. Keep in mind when using a heat rock you must cover the rock with a towel as there is a potential for thermal burns. Never allow the temperature to drop below 73F.
Also you should be able to keep the humidity at about 60 to 70%. This can be achieved in a number of ways such as a reptile fogger or even easier spraying you cage 2 to 3 times a week with water. Spray the bedding and the walls. The moisture combined with the heat source will increase the humidity and assist the snake in shedding and its overall well being.
Feeding is one of the most exciting parts of owning a snake. Allow your snake to acclimate to its new surroundings for about two weeks. Burmese Pythons hatchlings will start to eat small adult mice once a week, quickly graduating to medium sized rats then large rats. After two years or so you will begin to feed rabbits or chickens 2 or 3 times a month. Snakes will continue to eat if you introduce food but will become obese and unhealthy. There are numerous opinions as to feeding live or pre-killed food. I prefer live food as it is fun to watch, however you must be aware that the food you introduce does have teeth and sharp claws and can harm your snake. Not much of a chance of it killing your snake but scratches and scars will occur. Never feed your snake in the same cage it lives. It will start to identify the opening of the cage with feeding time and make it harder to take it out of the cage. NEVER feed wild prey to your snake as they may contain parasites and other diseases.
Be sure to provide a fresh bowl of water at all times. This water will be used for both drinking and soaking so make sure that your snake can completely fit in the bowl without knocking it over. Soaking in the water assists in molting (shedding)
Handle your Burmese Python as often as possible especially when young. This will ensure as your Burm gets older you will still be able to enjoy handling it. When fully grown it is recommended that you never handle your snake while alone or allow young children to handle without close adult supervision. Burmese Pythons have been documented killing young children mistaken for food. This is not the snakes fault. “Stupidity” is at fault. Burmese Pythons can make great pets but be smart.
Now that you have the basics, enjoy your Burmese Python as my family and I have enjoyed ours.