The Optimal Temperature & Humidity Guide For Ball Pythons

Knowing the correct temperature and humidity levels for your Ball Python enclosure is a crucial part of caring for them.

In this article, we’ll go into detail about the specific temperature and humidity levels required throughout the day and night to best replicate their natural habitat.

What Is The Correct Temperature For Ball Pythons?

When it comes to getting the temperature levels correct in your Ball Pythons habitat, we’ll need to set up a temperature gradient. 

We achieve this by using external lighting and heat sources to make three different temperature levels. These are your ambient temperature, warm side, and, cool side.

For those in a rush and want to know the answers, they’re as follows:

  • Cool Side: 76°F – 80°F
  • Ambient Temperature: 80°F – 85°F
  • Warm Side: 88°F – 92°F
  • Humidity Levels: 50% – 60%
  • Nighttime Temperature: 76°F – 80°F

Fun Fact: Reptiles are cold-blooded and ectothermic. Meaning they require external heat sources to warm up their body temperature. This is why we create temperature gradients in their enclosures.

Warm Side Temperature

The warm side is what it says on the tin, the warmest part of the enclosure. This will be where your Ball Python will bask to warm up in the mornings and digest their meals. 

The temperature on this side of the tank needs to be between 88°F – 92°F. 

Important: Never let the temperature exceed 95°F because levels this high can lead to severe burns and even fatalities if continued for extended periods.

Warm Side Hide Spot

Ball Pythons don’t bask in open spaces for long periods, because of this I recommend having a hide spot on the warm side of your enclosure. 

They’ll go in there when they’re done on the surface to finish off digesting or to feel more comfortable and safe.

The temperature in the warm side hide spot needs to be between 86°F – 90°F.

Ambient Temperature

Your ambient temperature will be the middle section of your Ball Python enclosure. You’ll want these levels to remain between 80°F – 85°F.

This is the area of the enclosure your Ball Python will spend a lot of time burrowing, or exploring throughout the day.

Cool Side Temperature

The final part of your temperature gradient is the cool side of the enclosure. When your Ball Python has had enough of the heat, it’ll move over to this side to cool off.

The temperature of this side of the tank needs to range between 76°F – 80°F.

Important: Never let the temperature of the enclosure drop below 75°F. Once levels drop below this your Ball Pythons body will begin to shut down and can lead to bacterial and fungal respiratory infections, and in extreme cases hypothermia and fatalities.

Cool Side Hide Spot

Just like on the warm side of the enclosure, you’ll need a hide spot on the cool side too. This is for when they’re done basking in the heat, but still want to feel safe in a hide spot. 

The temperature of the cool side hide spot needs to range between 78°F – 80°F.

Protip: Ball Pythons feel safest when all sides of their body are being touched, so the smaller the hide spot, the better.


Use a digital thermometer and humidity gauge to monitor your Ball Pythons tank temperatures.

What Temperature Do Ball Pythons Need At Night?

Nighttime is when all lights need to be turned off to replicate the natural cycle. Also, Snakes don’t have eyelids so a light source will only keep them awake at night. 

But we still need them to remain warm and temperatures don’t drop below 75°F, but how do we achieve this with no bulbs heating the enclosure?

Well, it’s quite simple, We use non-light-emitting heat sources such as ceramic heat emitters.

You won’t need anything if you’re in warmer climates and temperatures remain warm throughout the night. The enclosure will retain most of the heat built up throughout the day and the climate will do the rest.

A 5°F drop in the ambient temperature overnight is what you want to achieve. This will keep you in the range of 76°F – 80°F which is the same as the cool side.

What Is The Best Heating Setup For Ball Pythons?

When providing heat in your Ball Pythons enclosure, you’ll need to consider the safety of the heat source, the placement, and how many you’ll need.

When it comes to safety, never have heat sources placed under the enclosure such as heat mats. These mats exert a lot of concentrated heat and all it takes is for your snake to burrow above it and this will result in severe burns.

The placement of your heat sources needs to replicate their natural habitat, which of course is the sun. Meaning the heat comes from above.

When it comes to the number of heat sources you’ll need, it comes down to variables such as the size of the enclosure, the desired temperature, and the room temperature.

Protip: Although Ball Pythons don’t require UVB exposure to survive, I recommend you Include a UVB tube bulb in the Ball Python setup to help improve their immune system, health, and quality of life.

What Humidity Do Ball Pythons Need?

Ball Pythons thrive in humidity ranging between 50% – 60%. These will need to be monitored daily to ensure your snake remains in good health.

The humidity in the enclosure will depend on the substrate you use, ventilation, the amount of water in the bowl, and the frequency of misting.

Humidity Levels For Shedding Ball Pythons

When your Ball Python is going through their shedding period, to help them through this process, I recommend raising the humidity levels to 60% – 70%.

The increase in moisture will help alleviate stress from shedding, moistening the air, and helping prevent stuck shed and other shedding-related issues.

Signs of Ball Python shedding:

  • Lethargic
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dull scale coloration
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Agitated/defensive behavior
  • Cloudy eyes

How To Increase Humidity In Ball Python Tank?

There may be things causing the humidity within the enclosure to be low, such as too much ventilation or improper substrates. 

The three best methods for increasing the humidity levels are; misting, substrate changes, and setup changes.

Misting

Misting your Ball Python is great for things such as shedding, humidity increases, and overall hydration.

Misting your Ball Python in the enclosure will raise the water levels in the enclosure causing a reaction from the heat and raising the humidity.

Substrate Change

When choosing a substrate for your Ball Python, you’ll need to choose one that holds humidity well, isn’t a choking hazard, and is easy to clean.

I have written an article for the 5 best substrates for Ball Pythons, all of which hold humidity levels well within the enclosure.

Tank Setup

Adding pieces of decoration that are able to provide quality of life and raise humidity levels is helpful as this allows you to do two things at once.

For example, adding in a larger ceramic water dish allows your Ball Python to bathe in it, and drink from it, or the excess water will raise humidity.

Another great piece of decor you’ll already have is the hide spots.

If you purchase a moist sphagnum hide spot and place it on the warm side of the enclosure, it’ll provide a safe place, a place to feel comfortable when shedding, and will raise humidity levels.

Summary

Ensuring you have the correct temperature and humidity levels within your Ball Pythons enclosure is paramount to their overall health and well-being.

As long as you take the time when setting up the enclosure before bringing your Ball Python home, they’ll have a cozy habitat to thrive in.

Remember to monitor the levels within the enclosure regularly to maintain longevity and your snake could live up to 30 years.