Blood pythons are known for being difficult to care for. But their enclosure setup is normal and reasonably easy to maintain. They are no more difficult than other snakes in this regard.
A blood python’s tank should be 48x24x15”, or around 40 gallons. It should have a basking spot of 88 degrees and a cool end of 85 degrees. Humidity should be between 60 and 70%. These snakes require enrichment like hides, a branch, a water bowl, and foliage. Use aspen as a substrate as it holds onto moisture well.
Blood pythons are big pet snakes. They only reach the same length as other pet pythons. However, they are wide and heavy snakes for their size. This means they need a larger enclosure, such as this one provided by REPTIZOO, available on Amazon.com.
Blood Python Enclosure Size
A 48x24x15” enclosure will allow an adult blood python plenty of room to sit comfortably. The enclosure should be set up with everything that a typical snake needs:
- At least one hide. This is where the snake will sit when they want peace. You will need an extra-large hide due to its width.
- Enrichment. Things like twigs and sticks, leaves, and so on provide cover. This is essential to making your snake comfortable. Without it, they become nervous.
Enclosures of this size offer seven square feet. The length of the enclosure is more than is required for other snakes of this length. Don’t take advice about other snakes’ enclosures and apply it to blood pythons. Enclosures of this size can be stored in a stack if you have several blood pythons.
Juveniles require smaller enclosures because they will feel vulnerable in a large space. A small plastic tub would be sufficient for their first year before ‘graduating.’ At their smallest, they would benefit from lots of enrichment, e.g. hides, to help them feel safer.
Blood Python Enclosure Type: Plastic, Glass or Wood
Snake enclosures affect the humidity, temperature, and comfort of your snake. They are as follows:
- Plastic is the material of choice. The main reason is that it’s cheap, and plastic enclosures are easy to find online or in pet shops. Plastic also holds onto humidity and moisture well.
- Glass is fine, but is more expensive and much heavier. It’s more awkward to deal with, e.g. when cleaning the cage or moving your snake. It holds onto heat and moisture adequately, although this depends on the lid you use.
- Wood is the least common choice of the three. It doesn’t hold onto moisture as well as the other two choices. However, it’s suitable for anxious or nippy snakes because wooden enclosures only have one open side. This makes them feel more secure.
You can keep a blood python comfortably in any one of these kinds of an enclosure. However, one that holds onto moisture well would be the best choice. Because it’s cheap, light, and retains heat and moisture, plastic is your best option.
Can You House Blood Pythons Together?
Blood pythons have a reputation as nippy and hard to care for. However, this isn’t necessarily the case with today’s specimens. Wild-caught blood pythons earned this reputation. Captive-bred ones are much tamer.
However, that doesn’t mean you can house them together. In the wild, snakes don’t live communally (except for one or two notable exceptions). Blood pythons are solitary animals, and don’t enjoy being around other snakes.
Furthermore, snakes don’t get lonely like some other pets can. They would happily spend their life without interacting with another snake. They are not social, and won’t be unhappy on their own.
Housing multiple snakes in the same enclosure will have adverse effects, such as:
- Stress. Being near other snakes makes them feel stressed.
- Fighting. Snakes in the same enclosure may fight over food, hides, or basking spots.
- Potential cannibalism. Many snake species are comfortable eating other snakes. This occurs when one snake is much bigger than the other.
It’s far better to keep your snakes in separate enclosures. If you have several snakes, you can use plastic tubs to keep costs down until you can afford proper cages.
Blood Python Enclosure Temperature and Humidity
Blood pythons come from the forests and rain forests of southeast Asia. Here, temperatures are warm and the humidity is high. You should mirror these conditions with the snake in captivity, or they will become sick.
Temperature-wise, the hot end of the enclosure should be 88 degrees. This is on the warmer end of the scale for a pet snake. The average for other species is around 85, although some require more heat.
The snake will bask here if it ever needs to be warm, e.g. when it’s digesting. Since they’re cold-blooded, they need you to warm their enclosure for them. They will move between the two ends of the enclosure as they need to.
The cool end should be between 80 and 85 degrees. You should provide a hide at this end of the enclosure. The snake will sit inside if it feels stressed or afraid. Or, it will hide inside to cool down in the shade.
This especially is higher than other snakes require. Many other species need around 78-80 degrees. This is indicative of the fact that these snakes live close to the equator in an area without much temperature divergence.
The temperature can be maintained using heat tape, a heat mat, or a ceramic bulb.
Blood Python Enclosure Humidity
These snakes require humidity between 60 and 70%. If you’ve kept other pythons before, you’ll know that this is at the higher end of the spectrum. This has knock-on effects, as it determines the choice you’ll have to make with their substrate.
You can control humidity with a spray bottle. You will need to spray every day to keep the level high enough. The more openings there are in the enclosure, the more frequently you’ll need to spray.
However, you could opt for an automatic misting system if you don’t have much time. These spray on their own regularly. You can set them to spray more or less frequently. Another way of keeping humidity high is with a water bowl.
You will need a hygrometer (humidity meter) to keep track of the humidity level. This is like a thermometer but for humidity. You can buy gauges that measure both humidity and temperature, as a 2-in-1 tool.
Blood Python Enclosure Substrate
Blood pythons require high humidity. There are three main factors in their enclosure that affect the humidity level: these are the water that you spray in there, the amount of ventilation in the enclosure, and the substrate you use.
The substrate affects humidity because it can hold onto moisture. Think of a sponge. It can hold onto lots of moisture and give it off slowly, without leaving a pool of water. You want a substrate like a sponge, because you’re going to need to spray the enclosure a lot.
The best choice for a substrate that acts this way is aspen. Aspen shavings are made of an airy wood that holds onto a lot of water without becoming excessively damp. Aspen also allows snakes to burrow, although blood pythons won’t.
Aspen is cheap and lasts a long time. Keep it clean by spot cleaning, i.e. whenever you notice a mess, remove the affected substrate.
Replace the entire substrate once a month at least. When you do, spray the enclosure with an antibacterial spray. This will help prevent scale rot and mouth rot.
Because they don’t burrow, the exact choice of substrate isn’t especially important. Provided that it doesn’t become soggy, you can use almost anything.
Blood Python Enclosure Heating and Lighting
All snakes are cold-blooded. This means that they don’t generate their own body heat. Instead, they rely on the heat of their environment to keep them warm.
This means that you have to provide heat for your snake in their enclosure. There are several ways to do this:
- With a heat lamp. A heat lamp gives off warmth but not light.
- With a regular light bulb. Gives off enough heat to warm an enclosure with good insulation.
- With a heat mat. Heat mats warm the enclosure from underneath.
- With heat tape. This is like a heat mat, except it’s bendy. It can be laid like a ribbon from one enclosure to another, so it’s perfect for stacks.
Whichever method you use, there should be one hot end of the enclosure and one cool end. This allows the snake to monitor and adjust its own temperature. When it’s too hot, it goes to the cool end, and when it’s too cool, it goes to the hot end.
Most snake owners use a heat mat. That’s because it sits under the tank rather than inside it. A bulb sits inside the enclosure, and the snake could accidentally touch it and burn themselves.
It is possible to buy temperature regulators, which turn the heat mat/bulb on or off when a certain temperature is reached. These are an essential kit because, without them, your snake could become sick through improper care.
Does a Blood Python Need UV Lighting?
Some snake owners would swear that their snakes thrive best when supplied with UVB lighting. UV light is similar to visible light, in that it’s given off by the sun as a kind of radiation. You can’t see it, but it interacts with your skin to create vitamin D.
Some owners choose to include a small UVB light in their snake’s enclosure. The idea is that it allows them to synthesize vitamin D. This can’t be done with artificial light, e.g. from a light bulb. Sunshine or a special source is necessary.
However, there is limited evidence that light like this is necessary. According to Veterinary Record, it’s unclear whether the lights have any beneficial effect. They certainly do for other reptiles, but as for snakes, nobody is sure.
Either way, anecdotal evidence suggests that UV light isn’t needed. Snakes that live without it are perfectly healthy. This is likely one area where you can save some money, then.
Blood Python Enclosure Enrichment
You also have to think about your blood python’s enclosure is enrichment. Enrichment is a term that refers to decorations and non-essential items in the snake’s enclosure. These things improve your snake’s general experience and make them more comfortable.
The most critical enrichment is two hides. Hides are like tiny caves that the snake can hide in. Without one, your snake will feel vulnerable. During shedding, you can also line it with wet tissue to help your snake shed its skin.
You’ll need an extra-large hide for a blood python. You want to get one that they can fit their entire body in. You may want to see if you can test one out on a snake of similar size at a pet store before buying.
Also required is some kind of foliage, real or fake. This lines the sides of the tank and simulates the python’s natural environment. Almost all snakes hide in the undergrowth or tree branches for protection.
You may also want to include a branch for them to sit on. Even if a snake isn’t arboreal, it may enjoy sitting on or under a branch, as a change. It is also somewhere for them to sit when the substrate gets too damp for them, which prevents scale rot.
You should also buy a liner for the back wall of the tank. These come in a variety of designs that all look natural, e.g. like a big rock. Your snake will prefer having at least one side of the enclosure ‘blocked off.’ It makes them feel secure.
Best Enclosure for Blood Python
Now that you know exactly what the enclosure needs, it’s time to pick one. While you can buy enclosures both online and at stores, big ones aren’t easy to find. The kind that a blood python needs is larger than many other snakes require.
This makes your job more difficult. You have less choice of brands and quality at your disposal. But you do have some options.
Reptizoo Glass Terrarium with Hinge Door
If you’re searching for products in online stores, you won’t have much luck. This tank from REPTIZOO (on Amazon) is 36x18x24, and is the largest available on the site An adult blood python would fit inside, but there wouldn’t be room for anything else.
This enclosure is made of glass, which is a good material for a blood python cage. It holds onto heat and moisture well, but still has some ventilation on the left and right sides. It has hinged doors that open outwards which allows easy access.
The only issue is size. When a snake is in an enclosure that’s too small, it can become stressed. You also have less room to put things like hides, branches, and other enrichment. You’ll need at least a 40-gallon tank for this snake.
Your best bet is to shop in specialist online stores, or to visit trade shows. Trade shows often have rare species and specialist equipment that you won’t find anywhere else.
You could use a large plastic tub that isn’t specifically intended for snakes. Provided that it’s secure, there’s no problem with that.