Yellow snakes are so cool.
And the Banana Ball Python is one of the coolest
Not only do these Banana Snakes look amazing, but they are actually one of the easiest snakes to care for. The only real issue is their lifespan, which we’ll get into below.
Apart from that, they’re non-venomous, docile and small.
That means they pose no danger to humans and they don’t take up much space.
In short: they are the perfect starter snake.
Let’s take a closer look at this beautiful snake. We’ll start with some basic info you need to know if you’re considering it as a pet, then move on to our detailed Banana Snake care guide.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Banana Snake (AKA Banana Ball Python)
- 2 Banana Ball Python As A Pet
- 3 Banana Ball Python Habitat
- 4 Banana Ball Python: Final Thoughts
The Banana Snake (AKA Banana Ball Python)
The so-called Banana Snake is a type of Ball Python. These snakes have a thick body with a smallish head.
The reason they’re called Ball Pythons is that when they’re threatened, they roll themselves into a tight ball with the head tucked inside the coils. In doing this, they’re trying to avoid injury.
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.
All ball python morphs are part of the same species: python regius. Where a regular snake of this species is brown or black, a morph is another color. In the case of the Banana Ball Python, that color is yellow and white with black spots.
This is why it is called the Banana Snake. 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. But they are far from the only morph.
Ball Python Morphs
There are hundreds of different types of ball python morphs, in a wide variety of color mutations, and breeders love creating and discovering new ones and sharing them with other snake lovers.
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.
You probably noticed the name. Ball python morphs all have cool names like Albino Ball Python, Mystic Python, Phantom Python and Coral Glow Python. The Leucistic Blue Python is a fascinating looking white snake with blue eyes.
Then, of course, there is the Banana Ball Python which is also known as the Coral Glow Python. It is one of the most sought after Ball Python morphs. They are hugely popular and have been in huge demand since being discovered.
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 expect the Banana Snake to be a yellow snake, but the banana ball python is actually an orange and purple albino.
Create a whole new morph
When you start doing research on the genetics of all the morphs it is easy to get confused with all the information. But it is fascinating, too. Once you discover how to breed certain morphs together, you can actually create your own whole new morph.
There are even Ball Python morph calculators which you can use to get the hang of things.
The huge variety of different morphs is precisely why Ball Pythons are such popular snakes with breeders. 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, but demand still outpaces supply. If you have a certain color in mind, it may be necessary to book your snake from a reputable breeder.
Mating And Reproduction
If you’ve decided to try your hand at breeding, here’s what you’ll need to know. Young Banana Ball Pythons 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 and 10 eggs in a humid burrow. She remains coiled around the eggs for the entire 75 to 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 to 86° F, the eggs will hatch in 50 to 60 days. The hatchlings will be about 10 inches in length.
Whether you want to breed snakes, or simply keep them as pets, you need to know what they are like and what they like. That way you can give them what they need and ensure they are comfortable.
Banana Ball Python As A Pet
It is the Ball Python’s appealing nature and its myriads of colors and patterns that has assured a growing interest in keeping these snakes as pets.
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 nocturnal 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. They do this with special pits above the mouth that detect heat.
They also have the Jacobson’s organ in their mouth for smelling and tasting. In the absence of a nose and taste buds, this organ handles the tasks of both.
Your Banana snake can grow to about 3 to 5 feet in length, and they’re docile and easy to handle. Among the Pythons, the Ball Python is one of the smallest.
But there are some important things you need to know about these snakes before you can decide if you would like to own one. And the most important is their lifespan.
Banana Snakes Live A Long Time
Getting one of these particular snakes as a pet merits careful consideration, because you will be caring for it for a very long time. With good care, a Banana Ball Python can live to an age of 20, 25 or even 30 years.
Apart from the long lifespan, they are relatively easy to care for. They aren’t particularly active, so you aren’t going to have to splurge on a huge enclosure for them.
They are also relatively inexpensive, though prices vary depending on morph, age, size, gender and availability.
Buying A Banana Ball Python
When you are ready to get your ball python, always look for a young, captive bred snake from a reputable breeder. Don’t try to trap a snake in the wild. Snakes that grew up in the wild will be more aggressive and difficult to tame.
You want your snake to be alert and curious, with nice bright, clear eyes. Look for bubbles around the nostrils, which can indicate respiratory problems.
Another illnesses to be aware of with this snake are dermal fungal infections. If a Banana Ball Python is kept in temperatures which aren’t right for a fairly long period of time, it can develop skin lesions that can turn crusty.
More illnesses that a pet snake can succumb to are mites, mouth rot, and rodent bites. Rodent bites can be brought about when a snake is fed live rodents. These rodents can put up a good fight and injure the snake, which can lead to infection.
When you’ve found a nice, healthy snake you want to take home, you need to first ensure you have a good home prepared for your new family member.
Banana Ball Python Habitat
If you want to keep a Banana Snake as a pet, you need to learn as much as possible about its natural habitat, so that you can copy its natural environment for the enclosure it will call home. Providing your pet snake with a ‘natural-as-possible’ habitat will make it happier and healthier.
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 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.
All of this is good news for us. Giving them a home they feel comfortable in is much easier than with many other snakes.
Banana Ball Python Enclosure
It goes without saying that a bigger cage is always going to be better for your adult Ball Python. But that isn’t always possible. At an absolute minimum, your Banana Ball Python would like a 40 gallon or so terrarium. Our reviews of the best ball python enclosures will help you find one.
A 40 gallon enclosure is adequate for your adult-sized banana ball python, but definitely a bit cramped. Bigger would be better, if you have the space. 60 gallons would allow the snake to move around in more comfort and anything over 100 would be ideal.
It also depends on whether you have a male or female. The females can grow to 3 to 5 feet in length, while the males top out at 3 feet.
Now that you know what size terrarium to buy for your ball python, you need to know what else you need to best recreate the natural habitat of your banana snake.
Banana Snake Terrarium Accessories
Your snake would not be happy with an empty cage, so you need to fill its terrarium with some accessories to make it feel safe and comfortable. The first thing you need is bedding.
If you’re on a budget, newspaper is effective and cheap. You can usually get old newspaper for free. It doesn’t look very attractive though, so guests to your home might wonder why your snake is living in a pile of old newspapers.
It is better to get your snake a substrate. We reviewed the best bedding for ball python snakes to help you find the right one for your banana snake.
Cyprus mulch is generally the best, because it allows snakes to form burrows and nests just like they would in the wild. The substrate is 99.9% dust free, odorless, easy to clean, and it has a 191% absorbency rating.
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. You should clean out the enclosure every other day. Remove feces as soon as you discover it. Replace the substrate entirely every 3 months.
Next, you will need a water dish for your Banana Snake. It has to be big enough so that your snake can get into it and actually lie submerged. These Exo Terra water bowls work great.
They come in small, medium, large or extra large sizes. The outside has a realistic rock finish and the inner part of the bowl is a smooth non-pitted surface that is coated to prevent harmful bacteria from developing.
You will find that your snake makes use of the water bowl more often during its shedding period. Ball pythons like humidity levels of 50 to 60%, because it 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.
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 does not have a place to escape to can become highly agitated and stressed. Look for these signs of stress in ball pythons.
The Banana Ball Python is a secretive snake as it is, and it spends a good part of its day hiding. You need to give it some good spots for hiding.
Ensuring proper temperatures and humidity in your snake’s cage is critical for its health. Ball pythons are native to central and western Africa and they come from an area known for its warmth.
You must provide a proper thermal gradient in the enclosure – a hot spot 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° is ideal.
You need to monitor temperatures regularly. You can’t just set the temperature and forget about it. Ball pythons can not go long without heat.
Use a digital indoor/outdoor thermometer with a probe. Check out our comparison of the best thermostat controllers for reptiles.
There are heat lamps for snakes that can heat the snake’s enclosure. Another great option are heat pads that go underneath the bottom of the enclosure and heat it from below.
Avoid Heat Rocks
Most Ball Python owners will tell you not to get a hot rock as a heat source for your snake, because they can burn your pet. Heat pads or under tank heaters are a safer option.
This is because you can control and adjust the amount of heat that is produced to compensate for temperature fluctuations. For instance, in winter the amount of heat produced needs to be increased.
These under-tank heaters will cover 1/4 to 1/3 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, 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.
Read more about ball python enclosure set up.
Feeding Your Banana Snake
You can feed your pet Banana Ball Python small frozen or pre-killed adult mice once every 10 days. Don’t handle your snake 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 should 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. It is common for all snakes to fast and go without food from time to time.
On top of that, Ball pythons are known as finicky feeders. Ball pythons stop feeding for any number of reasons, like:
- 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
Some people will tell you that your python’s mice or rats have to be alive, but that is not true. You can train your pet 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 have them delivered right to your door.
Remember to buy the right size mice for the size of your snake. Younger snakes are smaller and they won’t be able to swallow or digest food that is too big.
You may need to feed more than one mouse or rat, if it does not eat larger prey. Learn how many mice you should feed your ball python here.
Handling Your Banana Snake
You should use a snake hook to handle your Banana Ball Python, along with your hands to support it. You can opt to do away with tools and just use your hands, but always keep its body supported to prevent any injuries.
Lift it up around the middle area of its body. The idea is to pick it up gently and not to startle your snake. Don’t pick it up when it’s shedding, and always wash your hands before and after handling your snake.
Banana Ball Python: Final Thoughts
Ball pythons are a great pet, because they’re pretty low-maintenance. The main thing you need is the proper enclosure set-up, to ensure a healthy, content snake.
If you give them a comfortable home, they’re good-natured, they’re super cool-looking and very easy to care for. They’re also smallish and don’t need too much space.
There are many different color variations of the ball python, with the Banana Snake being one of the coolest and most popular. And for good reason!
Alanna Polcyn says
My snake isn’t eating and has a lump and some black in the corner of his mouth. He’s otherwise active and seems OK. Also his skin is often scaley even around his eyes.
Henry van Staden says
Maybe would be best to take him to your local VET. I don’t want to give you wrong information. Please update me on here – very interested.