A-z - Animals

Banana Ball Boa

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"Banana ball pythons are one of the easiest pet snakes to care for."

Ball pythons are one of the most popular pet choices for snake lovers and breeders – underscored by the fact that there are more than 4,000 varieties of this species. Although the bright yellow banana ball python did not enter the public imagination until 2003, it quickly became one of the most popular variants of the species, and several different varieties have since been produced. Since their distinctive colors and patterns are the result of co-dominant gene expression, they can be produced reliably without any risk of major health problems from inbreeding. While their buff and dark body coloring may not make them particularly effective camouflaged hunters anywhere in the world, their rounded personalities make them highly regarded choices for cold-blooded companions.

Three Incredible Banana Ball Python Facts!

  • The first baby snake of this morph ended up selling for $25,000, but these days you can sometimes buy a banana ball python for less than $100.
  • Thanks to selective genetics, a very small number of juvenile pythons can be born into Super Banana Ball Pythons. This is a good choice for breeders who wish to maintain a dominant gene, but the Super Banana Ball Python also does not develop freckles with age.
  • More than a dozen different variants have been derived from the original banana ball python standard, some with more colorful names, including the banana spider, banana clown, and black pastel banana.

© AZ-Animals.com

where to find them

The vibrant colors of the banana ball python were achieved through relentless experimentation, breeding different colored ball python species together – and the first banana ball python was not brought into captivity until 2006. In the wild, members of this species are more rare, but not unheard of, with bananas of the same color. Still, these varieties of ball pythons are functionally indistinguishable from other pythons in the wild, save for their distinctive coloring. Ball pythons are traditionally found in West and Central Africa as part of tropical sub-Saharan ecosystems. The ball python's habitat is located in Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, Chad, Sudan, and Uganda. The Nile is the rough territorial line of the ball python's habitat.

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It is no accident that ball pythons are naturally attracted to open forests and grasslands. Their dappled colors and patterns and natural mix of browns and greens allow them to blend easily into bushes and undergrowth, while the straight line of motion pythons employ makes them largely immune to prey and predators given ample cover noticed. The bright colors of the banana ball python can be a burden to predators in the wild, but owners still need to consider its native location when building a home for their snake. Humidity needs to be regulated at 50% to 70% humidity, and the alternating warm and cool positions in the tank help simulate the natural basking positions these snakes find in their natural habitat.

Banana Ball Boa
In the wild, there are far fewer members of the species with the same banana color, but it's not unheard of.

© pelsopython/Shutterstock.com

scientific name

Python regius is one of the more straightforward scientific names for snakes. The python family refers to the various non-venomous pythons found in Asia, Africa, and Australia. Regius comes from the root word king, derived from the once-popular legend that the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra used a ball python as a bracelet.

Population and Conservation Status

A designer variant created by breeders, the banana ball python would not actually exist without human intervention. One of the more popular variants of one of the most popular pet snake species, adult bananas are not only common; they can also be purchased at reasonable prices. The IUCN Red List considers ball pythons to be of least concern and does not track population numbers of specific snake variants. Their populations may not currently be threatened, but ball pythons are poached for the skin and pet trade. This is especially true for rare morphs.

Super Pastel Ball Python
Banana ball pythons are designer variants created by humans.

© dwi putra stock/Shutterstock.com

appearance and description

The easiest thing to identify with a banana ball python is its color. Their bodies can range from a basic tan to a more ethereal lavender, but it's the bright yellow spots that really help the banana ball python stand out from the other varieties. Albino ball pythons are often similar in color to a banana ball, but knowing the basics of these snakes can help you identify them.

Albino pythons have bright red eyes, while banana ball pythons have darker eyes. Physiologically, there are no appreciable differences between the design of the banana variant or the standard ball python. They are thicker than many other snakes, and they have a distinctly triangular head with fangs that curve back. Females are slightly larger than males. Ball pythons get their name probably from their most distinctive feature: their habit of recoiling into a ball when threatened.

When trying to identify the banana variant of a ball python, look for the following characteristics:

  • The stout body is about four or five feet long.
  • Triangular head with fangs pointing backwards.
  • Tan or brown body with bright yellow spots.
  • Dark brown rather than bright red eyes.
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Banana ball pythons are easily identified by their bright yellow markings.


History and Evolution

Like other snake-like snakes, boas were formerly reptiles but had legs. These animals are more aquatic based. Snakes either lost their legs, or degenerated as they became more and more idle. It's fun imagining animals evolving legs and then losing them again! Since these snakes have adapted to live as low as possible to avoid enemies and get closer to their prey.

Boa constrictors were previously classified as boas, but modern research has shown that pythons and pythons are distinct species due to convergent evolution in different parts of the world, just as monkeys evolved differently in Africa and South America but share a common ancestor. Some of the main differences are that boas give birth to live young whereas boas lay eggs. There are also heat-sensitive points on the lip scales of pythons, and there are heat-sensitive points between the lip scales of pythons.

Since this particular type of python is a variation of the common ball python, the vast majority of pythons you're likely to see have been bred specifically for their beautiful appearance; however, they do occur naturally in the wild!

Venoms: How Dangerous Are They?

Ball pythons, like all other python species, do not produce venom. Not only are they less likely to bite you, but if they do, they won't cause too much trouble. Their teeth are sharp, but they can't cut particularly deep — and the snake's fragile jaws won't do much damage to humans.

Banana Cinnamon Balls Python
Banana ball pythons are not poisonous.

©Sanne Romijn Fotografie/Shutterstock.com

Behavior and Humans

Thorough breeding resulted in the birth of the banana ball python, but there is a reason this species as a whole is a popular pet—their relatively high docileness. These snakes are shy and rarely bite, and they are known for having a particularly aloof personality. These pet snakes are neither anxious nor curious and usually just hang out most of the time. Be careful if they flinch into a ball, as this is a defensive signal. If you continue to provoke them, they may attack.

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about the author

heather ross

Heather Ross is a middle school English teacher and mother of 2 people, 2 tuxedo cats and a golden doodle. In between taking the kids to soccer practice and grading homework, she loves reading and writing about all things animals!

Banana Ball Python FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are banana ball pythons poisonous?

Won't. Ball pythons are not only non-venomous, but also have a relatively weak bite.

How do banana ball pythons hunt?

Like all other pythons, these reptiles are boas and ambush predators, sneaking up on their prey and then tightening their wraps around the prey to choke out the prey's blood supply.

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Are banana ball pythons aggressive?

The fact that ball pythons are neither aggressive nor prone to bites makes this snake a popular choice for pets.

Where do banana ball pythons live?

Ball pythons are originally from West Africa, where a pair of adults were discovered in the 1990s that may be similar in color and genetics to the banana variety. But bananas and super banana ball pythons are entirely breeder inventions.

What Do Banana Ball Pythons Eat?

Both wild and domesticated banana varieties feed on rodents. While this diet sometimes includes birds and small reptiles, wild pythons spend most of their lives on nothing but rats. During domestication, prey such as gerbils and hamsters can be added to the menu along with other potential treats.

How much is a banana ball python?

Banana pythons typically cost between $100 and $200. If you're looking for an even rarer Super Banana Ball Python, you can expect that price to go up to $600 or more.

Do Banana Ball Pythons Bite?

Throughout its life cycle, ball pythons usually prefer to hide rather than bite. Identifying flustered ball pythons is easy because they tighten up into a ball in their current location. Continuing to fight against them at this time is the most likely to be bitten.

Are Banana Ball Pythons a Problem?

Ball pythons are generally healthy snakes, but they require some specific considerations regarding temperature and humidity.

What goes well with a banana ball python?

Ball pythons are gentle reptiles, but they're not particularly sociable. It is generally not recommended to keep them in a cage with other snakes. If you insist on bringing a friend for them, conspecific females are probably the best choice for this reptile.

Why are my banana ball python eyes red?

If your ball python has red eyes, it may be albino. This is a characteristic not usually seen in the spherical variant, but is a common result of loss of pigmentation in albinism.

How big is a banana ball python?

Ball pythons vary in size by sex. Adult females can grow to five feet, while males are more likely to only grow to three feet. Small boa constrictors are about 10 inches in size.

Why do banana ball pythons have black spots?

Banana pythons often develop freckles, which are simply a result of aging. One way to prevent this is to breed super banana ball pythons. Their markings remain intact over time because they carry two copies of their primary color genetics.

How should I care for a banana ball python?

Banana ball pythons require the same care as any ball python. The fence should be one foot by one and a half by three feet to give your new pet the space it needs to grow comfortably. Before deciding to take on the duties of a ball python, be sure to do some more in-depth research on the needs of a ball python.

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  1. ITIS, available here: https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=634784#null
  2. Pet Comments, available here: https://petcomments.com/ball-python-health-problems
  3. Reptile Range, available here: https://www.reptilerange.com/banana-ball-python-morph-a-complete-guide/
  4. Animal Diversity website, available here: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Python_regius/#:~:text=Ecosystem%20Roles,cool%20themselves%20during%20hot%20weather.
  5. Hogle Zoo, Utah (1970) https://www.hoglezoo.org/meet_our_animals/animal_finder/ball_python/#:~:text=These%20are%20small%2C%20heavy%2Dbodied,%2C%20left%20from% 20evolutionary%20adjustments ). Jump to top