Snakes are cold blooded.
The rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperatures.
Ball pythons are tropical snakes, so they need an especially high ambient temperature.
And an even higher basking temperature.
That means they will not survive long without heat, especially in a colder climate.
How long can a ball python go without heat?
Keep reading to find out. We’ll also cover what temperature you should be providing your snake and what you can do to keep your snake warm in an emergency, when the power goes out.
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How Long Can A Ball Python Go Without Heat?
A ball python can only go for around six hours without heat. That is not a long time. If a ball python does not find a source of heat within six hours, its body will start to shut down.
The ball python needs a higher temperature and humidity level than many other species. Let’s find out exactly what temperature they need. We’ll also take a closer look at what happens if these snakes get too cold.
Perfect Temperature For A Ball Python
The minimum temperature of your ball python’s enclosure should be 75° Fahrenheit. The maximum temperature it should be is 95° Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for your snake is 80° Fahrenheit.
But it is not as simple as just heating the entre tank to that temperature. These snakes need warmer and cooler spots to help them regulate their body temperatures.
When you set up your ball python terrarium, you should separate it into different temperature zones for your snake, so that it can live comfortably. You should provide a warmer zone where it can bask, as well as an area where it can go to cool down.
You do this by placing a heat mat below one part of the enclosure. Ideally, you should place a snake hide above the heat mat, so your snake can hide and feel protected while it basks. In lieu of a heat mat, you can also use a heat lamp.
You should always make sure you don’t let your snake’s tank temperature drop too low. Ball pythons love hot and humid environments (a humidity level of 70% to 80%) because this is the climate they enjoy in their natural habitat. You should try and reproduce their natural habitat in the enclosure as much as possible.
What Happens When Your Ball Python Gets Too Cold
There are many different things that can happen when your python gets too cold. Primarily, its body will start to shut down and your snake could become seriously ill.
You may find it hard to believe, but just like humans, snakes can also catch a cold. Lack of heat can cause your snake to get a cold and the only way to overcome this is by making it warm again.
Your ball python will also need heat to help with the digestion of food. Being cold can lead to digestive issues, such as constipation. How often do ball pythons poop under normal circumstances? Usually about a week after eating.
Your python could also go into brumation. This is similar to hibernation. Some species of snakes go into brumation during the colder months of the year. If your snake does this, it is because it’s listening closely to its natural instinct.
If you notice your snake go into brumation, this isn’t a good thing. Ball pythons are tropical creatures and don’t usually brumate. You should warm up your snake immediately, to avoid your snake developing any serious conditions.
If you keep your ball python in the cold for too long, it may develop hypothermia. Hypothermia can become a serious illness, because it can lead to other health concerns, like a respiratory condition.
Symptoms of hypothermia include your snake acting as though it’s dehydrated, little movement, and a loss of appetite. If you suspect that your snake has hypothermia, you should take it to the vet right away.
What Happens In An Emergency?
Sometimes there is nothing you can do. Your heat may go out due to an issue beyond your control. This can become quite serious for your snake, especially if your power is going to be out for more than a couple of hours.
You can always try and find a backup generator to power your snake’s heat mat or heat lamp. This is something you may want to have on hand, in case of an emergency. Then if the power goes out, the generator will kick in and keep your snake’s tank nice and toasty, until the main power comes back on.
This may not always be an option, however. Generators can be quite expensive.
If your power goes out and you do not have any backup power, you could fill a bowl up with hot water and placing it into your snake’s tank. The warm steam should keep the tank warm and your snake can slither over to the bowl for extra warmth.
If you can’t heat up water, because you rely solely on electricity, then your only option for keeping your snake warm may be to use your own body heat and hold your python close to you.
How Long A Ball Python Can Go Without Heat: Final Thoughts
Ball pythons can only go about 6 hours without heat. They are home to the tropics, which means they need higher temperatures than many other snakes. If you do not provide adequate heat, they can get cold, get sick, and die.
If you have a ball python for a pet and you d not live in a tropical climate, it would be a good idea to have a contingency plan for the event that your power goes out.
Plan ahead and know how you will keep your snake warm enough, should you lose power. That could involve a backup generator, or any other way to continue to provide your snake heat.