Banana Ball Python: Care, Facts, Size, Lifespan, and More

Banana ball pythons are a color morph of the standard ball python. They’re called “bananas” because of their bright yellow color and dark brown or black speckling, which is weirdly similar to an aging banana!

This morph was first found in the late 1990s or early 2000s. The original animals were imported wild-caught. Captive-bred banana ball pythons used to sell for well over $10,000 each! But a lot has changed in the past 21 years!

Continue reading to find out more about this intriguing ball python morph!

Banana Ball Python Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Family: Pythonidae

Genus: Python

Origins of the Banana Ball Python

First discovered in the early 2000s, the Banana Ball Python quickly gained popularity due to its striking appearance.

This morph is the result of a genetic mutation that alters the color and pattern of the snake, making it stand out from its wild-type counterparts.

The banana gene is a co-dominant trait, meaning that offspring can inherit the gene from just one parent and still exhibit the banana characteristics.

Banana Ball Python Coloration and Pattern

The Banana Ball Python’s coloration is primarily characterized by a soft, lavender base color with bright yellow or orange blotches. These blotches are surrounded by a thin, dark purple border, creating a visually striking contrast.

As the snake ages, it may develop small black or dark purple spots, commonly referred to as “freckling.”

The overall pattern can vary slightly from snake to snake, with some individuals displaying more reduced patterning or lighter base colors.

There are over 20 different types of banana morphs that are popular due to their bright colors and gentle nature. Some of the most well-known are:

  • Banana pied.
  • Banana cinnamon.
  • Banana pied.
  • Banana spider.
  • Black pastel banana.

Banana Ball Python Popularity and Availability

Banana Ball Pythons are highly sought after by both breeders and pet owners due to their stunning appearance and docile nature, which is common among ball pythons.

While initially quite expensive, the price of Banana Ball Pythons has decreased significantly as their availability has increased, making them a more accessible option for enthusiasts and first-time snake owners.

Will Slough bred a banana morph for the first time in 2003 and sold it for more than $20,000 at the time. However, as their population increased throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, the price fell to $150.

The morph’s popularity has led to increased breeding efforts, making it more widely available in the pet trade over the past two decades.

Popular Banana Ball Python Combinations


The Banana morph, like other co-dominant mutations, makes breeding easier. And because the Banana morph is so lovely, it complements almost any other morph. Among the most impressive combinations are:

  • Banana x Enchi: Enchi balls are more orange-tinted and have a lighter brown pattern. The lilac patterns are replaced by a mellow burnt orange in Banana Enchis.
  • Banana x Pastel: If you breed a Pastel and a Banana they will produce roughly equal amounts of normal, Banana, Pastel, and Banana Pastel offspring. The oranges and yellows in a Cinnamon Pastel Banana will be brighter, while the purples in a Black Pastel Banana will be darker.
  • Banana x Piebald: The Banana Piebald is distinguished by white patches set against a lilac and orange background.
  • Banana x Pinstripe: The thin lines of this pattern on a Banana ball look like bare purple branches against a sunset. Because pinstripes are so prevalent, you’re likely to get a Banana Pinstripe on your first or second try.
  • Banana x Spider: The Banana coloration combined with the Spider’s reduced pattern can result in a stunning snake. However, Banana Spider balls are susceptible to “Spider Wobble,” a neurological issue that affects many Spider balls.

Typical Banana Ball Python Behavior

Ball Pythons are shy and quiet snakes. A Ball that is healthy, happy, and at ease. Python will find the ideal hiding spot in their terrarium and will stay there for several days.

They enjoy exploring as well, especially when they are hungry. When you handle your Banana Ball Python or it explores its environment, it should move slowly and calmly, with no shakiness, wobbliness, or lack of balance.

It may also be content to sit quietly in your arms and relax for a while. Tongue-flicking is also an indication of a healthy, curious, and at ease, snake attempting to learn more about its surroundings.

When your Banana Ball Python is stressed or threatened, it will coil into a tight ball, with its head and neck safely tucked into the center. If the snake is harassed, it will begin hissing.

Ball Pythons only bite in self-defense or to respond to stress. Defensive bites are usually quick, and the snake lets go immediately. It could happen more than once.

But don’t worry, because banana ball python bites are usually harmless, just make sure that wash your hands properly with soap afterward.

Typical Size of Banana Ball Pythons

Banana ball pythons are medium-sized snakes, with males generally reaching lengths of 3 to 4 feet, while females can grow slightly larger, ranging from 4 to 5 feet.

In my own experience with my banana ball python, Monty, he has grown to be just over 4 feet long. It’s important to note that each snake is unique, and individual growth rates may vary. However, these sizes are generally what you can expect for banana ball pythons.

Average Lifespan of Ball Pythons in Captivity

With proper care and attention, banana ball pythons can live long, healthy lives in captivity. On average, these snakes have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years, though some may even live longer. My Monty is currently 8 years old and going strong, thanks to consistent care and attention to his health.

Factors that can Influence Size and Lifespan of Ball Pythons

Several factors can influence the size and lifespan of your banana ball python, including:

1: Genetics: Just like in humans, genetics play a role in determining the size and lifespan of a banana ball python. Some snakes may naturally grow larger or live longer based on their genetic makeup.

2: Diet and nutrition: A well-balanced and appropriately sized diet is crucial for the growth and overall health of your banana ball python. Overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to health issues and impact their size and lifespan.

3: Environment and husbandry: Providing the appropriate living conditions, such as proper temperature gradients, humidity levels, and clean enclosures, can greatly affect your banana ball python’s overall health and longevity.

4: Veterinary care: Regular check-ups with a qualified reptile veterinarian can help identify and treat any health issues early, ultimately contributing to a longer, healthier life for your snake.

By keeping these factors in mind and diligently caring for your banana ball python, you can help ensure that they reach their full size potential and enjoy a long, happy life in your care.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Banana Ball Pythons

Banana Ball Pythons are one of the BEST options for new snake owners who want to keep tropical reptiles and are willing to do the research.

Once they’re used to their new surroundings and the sight and scent of their handler, they tolerate and even seem to enjoy being handled. Banana Ball Pythons rarely bite, even when they are scared or shy. They usually coil into a tight ball instead.

Banana Ball Pythons are a great choice for children too. Their beefy, compact bodies make them a breeze to control. They are too large to get injured accidentally with tight-gripping hands and too small to cause serious harm to humans.

Pros of Owning a Banana Ball Python

  1. Attractive appearance: Banana ball pythons have a beautiful, unique coloration with yellow spots on a tan body, resembling a banana.
  2. Hardy and low maintenance: These snakes are known for being hardy and easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginners.
  3. Long lifespans: Banana ball pythons can live between 20 to 30 years, providing a long-term companionship for reptile enthusiasts.
  4. Variety of colors and patterns: This morph is available in a wide range of colors and patterns, offering plenty of options for potential owners.

Cons of Owning a Banana Ball Python

  1. Handling challenges: Banana ball pythons may require practice and patience to handle, as they can be shy or defensive at first.
  2. Large enclosure needed: These snakes need a relatively large enclosure (ideally over 60-gallon) to thrive, which may be a consideration for potential owners with limited space.
  3. Rodent diet: Banana ball pythons eat a pure rodent diet, which might not be suitable for those who are squeamish about feeding whole rodents to their pets.

Banana Ball Python Housing and Habitat

Banana-Ball-Python (1)

These pets are originally from the West African Desert, however, they are very hardy and highly adaptable to life in captivity. 

Enclosure Size and Setup

Banana ball pythons, like all ball pythons, require a secure and cozy environment. For a juvenile, a 20-gallon terrarium will suffice, but as they grow, you’ll need to upgrade to at least a 40-gallon enclosure.

Keep in mind that ball pythons are not particularly active, so vertical space is less important than floor space.

Ball pythons are known for their escape artist skills, so make sure to have a secure and well-fitted lid for your enclosure. This will prevent any unexpected adventures for your slithery companion.

Substrate Options

There are various substrates available for banana ball pythons, including cypress mulch, coconut husk, and reptile carpet. Each has its own pros and cons, but the main goal is to provide a comfortable surface that maintains humidity without causing irritation or ingestion issues.

Aim for a substrate layer of at least 1-2 inches, as this will allow your python to burrow and feel secure. Additionally, make sure to spot clean the substrate as needed and replace it entirely every month or so to maintain a clean environment.

Read More >> Ball Python Substrates

Temperature and Humidity Requirements

Banana ball pythons need a temperature gradient in their enclosure. The warm side should be around 88-92°F (31-33°C), and the cool side should be between 75-80°F (24-27°C). Use an under-tank heater for the warm side and a thermostat to regulate the temperature.

Maintaining a humidity level of 50-60% is essential for your python’s health. To achieve this, mist the enclosure regularly or use a humidity box. Keep a close eye on humidity levels during shedding, as higher humidity (around 70%) can help facilitate the process.

Enrichment and Hiding Spots

Ball pythons are shy creatures that need places to hide and feel secure. Provide at least two hides—one on the warm side and one on the cool side—so your banana ball python can thermoregulate while feeling safe.

While they aren’t arboreal, ball pythons do appreciate some climbing opportunities. Add sturdy branches or artificial vines for your snake to explore and exercise.

Personalize your banana ball python’s enclosure with plants, rocks, and other decorations. This not only makes the habitat visually appealing but also provides additional hiding spots and mental stimulation for your pet.

Banana Ball Python Feeding and Diet

Banana ball pythons, like all ball python morphs, are primarily carnivorous and rely on a diet of whole prey items for their nutrition. Their primary food source in captivity is rodents, such as mice and rats, which provide them with the essential nutrients they need to thrive, including proteins, fats, and vitamins.

Feeding Frequency and Prey Size

The feeding frequency and prey size for your banana ball python will depend on its age and size. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Hatchlings and juveniles (up to 1 year old): Feed them a small mouse or rat pup every 5-7 days.
  2. Subadults (1-2 years old): Feed them a medium-sized mouse or rat weanling every 7-10 days.
  3. Adults (2 years old and above): Feed them a large mouse or appropriately sized rat every 10-14 days.

It’s essential to choose prey that is no larger than the widest part of your python’s body to prevent the risk of regurgitation or injury during feeding.

Tips for Successful Feeding

1: Feed your banana ball python in a separate enclosure or container: This helps to reduce the risk of them associating their home enclosure with feeding and accidentally biting you when you reach in to handle them.

2: Use tongs or forceps to offer the prey: This keeps your fingers at a safe distance and prevents accidental bites.

3: Offer thawed, pre-killed rodents: Pre-killed prey is safer for your python, as live rodents can cause injuries. Thaw frozen rodents to room temperature before feeding and use a hairdryer to gently warm the rodent’s head, making it more enticing to your python.

Potential Feeding Issues and Solutions

Ball pythons can be picky eaters, especially during certain times of the year, like the breeding season. If your python refuses to eat, try offering a different type or size of prey, or wait a week before trying again.

If your python regurgitates its meal, this could be due to stress, incorrect temperatures, or handling too soon after feeding. Make sure your python’s environment is optimal, and give them at least 48 hours to digest their meal before handling them.

Ball pythons can also go without food for extended periods, but if they haven’t eaten for several months, it’s essential to consult a reptile veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Banana Ball Python Handling and Socialization

Approach your snake calmly and confidently, avoiding sudden movements that could startle it.

Gently slide one hand under the middle of the snake’s body, supporting its weight evenly. Use your other hand to support the snake’s tail and rear end, distributing its weight between both hands.

Hold the snake loosely, allowing it to move and explore while maintaining a firm yet gentle grip.

When setting the snake down, lower it gently onto a surface, letting it slide off your hands without dropping it.

Building Trust and Forming a Bond

Establish a consistent routine for handling your banana ball python, gradually increasing the frequency and duration of sessions.

Approach your snake slowly and gently, allowing it to get used to your presence and touch.

Avoid handling your snake during its shedding process or immediately after feeding, as this can cause stress and discomfort.

Respect your snake’s boundaries and give it space when it shows signs of stress or agitation.

Recognizing signs of stress

  • Be aware of body language cues, such as tightly coiled bodies, hissing, or striking, which may indicate stress or fear.
  • Monitor for defensive behaviors, like raising the head or flattening the body, which can signal that the snake feels threatened.
  • Pay attention to changes in activity levels or eating habits, as these can also indicate stress or discomfort.

Minimizing stress and ensuring positive interactions

  • Create a calm and quiet environment for handling sessions, minimizing noise and distractions.
  • Introduce new experiences and stimuli gradually, allowing your snake to acclimate at its own pace.
  • Be patient and understanding of your snake’s individual temperament and preferences, adjusting your handling techniques as needed to ensure a positive experience.

Health and Wellness

Banana ball pythons, like any other pet, can experience health issues. As a passionate reptile enthusiast and banana ball python keeper, I’d like to share some common health problems, tips for successful shedding, and guidance on when to seek veterinary care.

Common Health Issues and Prevention

Respiratory Infections

These can occur due to improper humidity or temperatures in the enclosure. To prevent respiratory infections, maintain the recommended temperature gradient and humidity levels.

Mites and Ticks

Regularly inspect your python for external parasites. Prevent infestations by maintaining a clean environment and quarantining new reptiles before introducing them to your python’s enclosure.

Scale Rot

Caused by excess moisture, scale rot can lead to bacterial infections. Ensure proper humidity and substrate to prevent this issue.


Stress can lead to decreased appetite and other health problems. Provide a secure environment, hide spots, and minimize unnecessary handling.

Banana Ball Python Shedding

Shedding is a crucial aspect of a banana ball python’s life, allowing for growth and skin renewal. Here are some tips to ensure a successful shed:

  1. Monitor humidity: Slightly increase humidity levels during the shedding process to help your python shed its skin more easily.
  2. Provide rough surfaces: Adding items like branches or rocks can assist your python in rubbing off its old skin.
  3. Check for retained shed: Inspect your python after shedding to ensure all skin, especially around the eyes and tail tip, has been removed.

Signs that your Banana Ball Python is in good health:

  • They are inactive, but when disturbed, they become alert and inquisitive.
  • Shedding in a single piece
  • Having difficulty losing weight
  • Balance and strength are excellent, with no shakiness or wobble.
  • Utilizes both the cool and warm sides of the enclosure
  • Breathing quietly
  • Belly scales that are light in color with no worsening brown or black discoloration

When to Seek Veterinary Care

It’s essential to know when to consult a veterinarian for your banana ball python. Here are some signs that professional care may be necessary:

  1. Persistent refusal to eat or weight loss
  2. Difficulty breathing or wheezing sounds
  3. Swelling or lumps on the body
  4. Discharge from the mouth, nose, or eyes

Breeding Banana Ball Pythons

In order to breed banana ball pythons, both male and female ball pythons should be of adequate age and weight before attempting to breed. Males should be at least one year old and weigh around 700 grams, while females should be at least two years old and weigh around 1,500 grams.

The breeding season for ball pythons typically occurs between November and March. It’s crucial to provide the right environmental conditions, including a slight drop in temperature and reduced daylight hours, to stimulate breeding behavior.

Selecting Suitable Breeding Partners

Choose breeding partners that have compatible genetics to minimize the risk of genetic issues in the offspring. Avoid breeding closely related snakes and research potential pairings to ensure healthy, vibrant babies.

Select partners that exhibit desirable traits, such as vibrant colors, unique patterns, or good health, to increase the likelihood of producing high-quality offspring.

Preparing the Breeding Environment

Maintain a temperature gradient within the enclosure, with a basking area around 88-90°F (31-32°C) and a cooler area around 78-80°F (25-27°C).

Increase humidity to about 60% during the breeding season to encourage successful mating and egg-laying.

Provide ample hiding spots and suitable substrate for both the male and female to feel secure and comfortable during the breeding process.

Introducing the Male and Female

  1. Introduce the male and female ball pythons during the evening hours when they are more active.
  2. Monitor their interactions closely, ensuring they are comfortable and not stressed.
  3. If aggressive behavior is observed, separate the snakes and try again at a later time.

Signs of Successful Breeding and Gravid Period

1: Copulation: Successful breeding is indicated by the male wrapping his tail around the female and aligning their cloacal openings for copulation.

2: Gravid Period: After successful breeding, the female will enter a gravid period lasting about 30-45 days, during which she may show signs such as increased basking, restlessness, or refusing food.

Setting Up an Incubation Environment

Maintain a consistent temperature of 88-90°F (31-32°C) for optimal embryo development.

Keep humidity levels around 99% to prevent the eggs from drying out.

Use a suitable incubation medium, such as perlite or vermiculite, to support the eggs and maintain proper humidity.

Monitoring the Eggs During Incubation

Candling Techniques: Use a flashlight to inspect the eggs for signs of healthy development, such as visible veins and embryo movement.

Addressing Issues: If any issues arise, such as mold or collapsing eggs, consult expert advice or experienced breeders for guidance on proper care.

The Hatching Process

Baby banana ball pythons typically hatch after 55-60 days of incubation.

Expect to see small slits in the eggshells as the hatchlings begin to emerge, using their egg tooth to break through the shell.

In most cases, hatchlings will emerge from their eggs without assistance. However, if a hatchling is struggling to emerge after the majority of its siblings have hatched, consult expert advice before considering any intervention.

Caring for Hatchlings

Once the hatchlings have fully emerged and shed their skin for the first time, offer them their first meal, typically a small, appropriately-sized rodent.

Set up separate enclosures for each hatchling, ensuring they have adequate hiding spots, a proper temperature gradient, and access to fresh water. Maintain a slightly higher humidity level, around 60-70%, for the first few weeks of life to promote proper shedding.

Banana Ball Python Buyer’s Guide

Basic Banana Ball pythons are very easy to come by.

Try to purchase your snake in person from a ball breeder. A healthy snake will have clear eyes and a rounded body with no visible bones.

Request to handle the snake to get a sense of its temperament. A calm snake will move with purpose and alertness, frequently flicking its tongue.

If it is stressed, it will curl up in a ball and hiss – an animal that is constantly stressed is a sign of a poor handler.

How Much Is A Banana Ball Python?

A baby banana ball python costs between $100 and $150. Adults are priced between $200 and $300. The most expensive morphs (e.g. scaleless bananas) can cost $3,000.


Caring for a banana ball python can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. By now, you should have a solid understanding of their unique characteristics, proper care, and the commitment it takes to ensure they live a long, healthy life. These fascinating reptiles, with their striking appearance and gentle nature, can make wonderful companions for both beginner and experienced reptile enthusiasts alike.

As you embark on this exciting journey, remember that the key to success is continuous learning and adapting to your snake’s needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to fellow reptile lovers or consult reputable resources for advice and support. After all, the world of reptile keeping is a vibrant community that thrives on shared knowledge and experiences.

So, whether you’re a first-time banana ball python owner or a seasoned expert, take pride in providing the best possible care for your scaly friend. You’re not only contributing to their well-being, but also helping to promote responsible reptile keeping and appreciation for these amazing creatures. Happy herping!

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