Preparing Proper Housing for Ball Pythons

Ball Pythons pic

Ball Pythons

A freelance animal trainer and consultant in Los Angeles, Josh Ruffell works in the movie and television industry in Hollywood. In this capacity, he sometimes serves as a stand-in for actors during challenging scenes involving animals and is an expert in handling venomous and non-venomous snakes. Josh Ruffell developed a passion for working with reptiles early in life, when he acquired his first pet ball python as a teenager.

One of the first steps new ball pythons owners must take is purchasing and preparing the proper housing. For most pet owners, this will involve buying a terrarium. On average, the terrarium should be no less than two-thirds the length of the snake and no larger than one and a half times the length of the snake while it gets acclimated. For most adult ball pythons, which are between three feet and four feet long, this means buying a 30 gallon tank or a speciality reptile enclosure of similar size.

After the enclosure is purchased, new owners must add bedding, heating, and various hides. The bedding for ball pythons can consist of aspen chips, coconut fibers, or papers towels. However, aspen shavings or reptile bark are often preferred. Since ball pythons are generally docile and secretive animals, they need plenty of space to hide. In larger tanks/enclosures, there should be at least two hides at opposite ends of the enclosure.

Meanwhile, heating options control the temperature of the enclosure. A heat lamp is often needed to maintain the ball python’s ideal ambient air temperature of around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit with a basking site of 88-90 degrees Fahrenheit. A heat pad should potentially be utilized as well. Depending on the location of the tank, a light may be needed to provide the animal with the proper photoperiod. Humidity must also be maintained to ensure the ball python stays comfortable.

Finally, new owners need to add a heavy water dish with fresh water and perhaps a few branches or other decor to provide enrichment for the snake, and the habitat is ready.

The Biodiversity of Gabon’s Wonga Wongue Presidential Reserve


Wonga Wongue Presidential Reserve pic

Wonga Wongue Presidential Reserve

Over the course of his more than 25-year career as an animal manager and trainer, Josh Ruffell has worked with a wide variety of species in the United States, Japan, Australia and around the globe. Currently a freelance animal trainer for the movie and television industry, Josh Ruffell’s experience also includes serving as a wildlife consultant on multiple seasons of the television series Survivor. The series’ 17th season was filmed in the Wonga Wongue Presidential Reserve in the central African country of Gabon.

Located in Gabon’s northwest region, on the Atlantic coast, the Wonga Wongue Presidential Reserve encompasses 500,000 hectares. The biodiverse area contains a range of landscapes, including lush green savannas and dense jungle. Dunes in the reserve reach as high as 300 meters, and erosion has carved out natural amphitheaters of red and white clay.

A protected area, the Wonga Wongue Presidential Reserve is also home to diverse species of animals. During the shooting of Survivor: Gabon, contestants and crew encountered elephants, a leopard, and a 12-foot python, though none of these encounters resulted in any harm to those involved in the production or to the animals. Antelopes, hippopotami, lowland gorillas, panthers, colobus monkeys, and red river hogs also live there, and turtles and various birds lay their eggs on the reserves white-sand beaches.