Everyone knows that even captive-bred ball pythons love spending time curled up in their hide. They feel safe and secure in their hides, they feel comfortable and relaxed, which reduces stress and helps your pet remain happy and healthy.
Even the friendliest ball python will spend some time in its hide, when it’s not out exploring or basking.
If your pet is staying out of its hide, you should investigate to identify why. Here are some of the most common reasons why your pet ball python is sleeping outside of the hide.
Wrong Temperature Or Humidity
If the temperatures are too high in the enclosure, your pet may find its hide too warm and is trying to get out of the heat.
This is also seen when temperatures drop too low and pythons escape their hides because they are way below their preferred temperature requirements.
Remember your python is cold-blooded, relying on its environment to regulate its body temperature.
The ideal temperatures in your ball python enclosure should be between 80ºF and 85ºF on the warm side, 75ºF to 80ºF on the cool side with a basking area of between 88ºF and 92ºF.
Using a digital thermometer can help you monitor temperatures easily and accurately.
Humidity is very important and your ball python has a preference for a humidity between 50% and 60%. If the hide is too humid or not humid enough your pet will stay outside to get the humidity it needs.
A digital hygrometer is essential to accurately monitor the humidity levels in the enclosure.
Urinate Or Defecate
Ball pythons do not like to be in the same place where they have urinated or pooped. The smell attracts predators. If your pet has messed inside the hide, it may be remaining outside to get away from the odor.
Regular enclosure cleaning will ensure that your ball python doesn't find itself sleeping in its own feces.
Spot the enclosure daily, check the hides when your pet is moving around.
Do a thorough enclosure clean where you remove and disinfect everything at least once a month.
Wrong Hide Size
Selecting the right hide size is important. You may not want your python to have to squash inside the hide, but remember that while you may enjoy a large bed to sprawl on when you sleep, your pet prefers to be curled up tightly in a dark place, where it can feel safe and secure.
A hide that is too big will drive your python out, as will one that is simply too small.
The size of the hide should be just big enough for your python to crawl into and curl up inside.
You can purchase a wide variety of safe and sturdy hides online in a range of different natural designs, which provide side entrances and a removable roof, so you can check on your pet now and then.
These usually come in a host of sizes, so you can find the right size match for your ball python.
Once your ball python gets comfortable with his habitat and settles into your family, he will know when you are near his enclosure. They often feel the vibrations of your footsteps before you get near their tank. A hungry ball python may sit outside its hide to capture passing prey.
Not Enough Hides
It is essential that you provide your ball python with a minimum of two hides in the enclosure, one on the warm side and one on the cool side.
If you only have a warm side hide, your pet may be sleeping outside as the cool hide isn't warm enough and vice versa.
Ideally, you want to add as many hides as you can to give your snake a variety of places to hide and sleep.
Want Something Different
Remember that every ball python has its own personality and character and yours is no different. Sometimes there can be absolutely no reason why your python chooses to sleep outside.
If your pet remains happy and healthy, eats and poops well, then there is no cause for concern. Maybe your ball python just prefers sleeping outside of the hide.
It is always important to check your temperature and humidity levels when you see your ball python choosing to sleep outside the hide.
Always have at least two hides, one on the warm side and one on the cool side. Ideally, you want to include a moist hide, with damp sphagnum moss, which is great to help with shedding.
Keep the enclosure and hides clean, ensure you follow a strict feeding schedule, and choose the hide sizes carefully to provide a snug and safe place for your pet to find the privacy it needs to reduce stress.