Ball python vs corn snake – How to choose the perfect pet snake

If you’re considering getting a pet snake, you may find yourself torn between the ball python and the corn snake. Both of these reptiles are popular choices among snake enthusiasts, and for good reason. They both make great pets, but they have their own unique characteristics and considerations to keep in mind before making a decision.

Let’s start with the ball python. Known for its docile nature and ease of handling, the ball python is a popular choice for both beginner and experienced snake keepers. With their stunning colors and patterns, these snakes are highly sought after in the reptile community. They come in a wide variety of morphs, which are different genetic variations that result in unique physical traits. Whether you prefer a classic normal morph or a rare designer morph, there’s a ball python out there to suit every taste.

Ball Python vs Corn Snake: How to Choose the Perfect Pet Snake

  • Python or Corn Snake?
  • Breeding and Morphs
  • Enclosure and Space Requirements
  • Feeding and Diet
  • Interaction and Handling
  • Personal Preference and Research

Size and Appearance

When considering which snake to choose as a pet, size and appearance are important factors to consider. Ball pythons and corn snakes have distinct differences in their size and appearance.

Temperament and Handling

Ball Python

Corn Snake

Feeding and Diet

It’s crucial to provide your pet snake with proper nutrition and a varied diet. This can be achieved by offering them frozen/thawed prey that has been appropriately sized and prepared. It is essential to ensure that the prey item is of the correct size and not too large for the snake to consume safely.

Overall, both ball pythons and corn snakes are relatively straightforward in terms of feeding and diet requirements. With proper care and attention, providing the appropriate food, and monitoring their eating habits, you can ensure that your pet snake remains healthy and well-nourished.

Ball Python vs Corn Snake: Lifespan and Care



The average lifespan of a ball python is around 20 to 30 years when kept in proper conditions. With good care and attention, some ball pythons have been known to live even longer, reaching ages of 40 or more.

On the other hand, corn snakes typically have a slightly shorter lifespan, averaging around 15 to 20 years. However, with proper care, some corn snakes have been known to live up to 25 years.

Care Requirements

Both ball pythons and corn snakes require a similar level of care, but there are some differences to consider.

Enclosure: Ball pythons need larger enclosures than corn snakes due to their larger size. A minimum enclosure size for a ball python should be at least 40 gallons, while a 20-gallon enclosure is sufficient for a corn snake.

Temperature and Humidity: Both species require specific temperature and humidity levels to thrive. Ball pythons prefer a slightly higher temperature range of 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit on the warm side and 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool side. Corn snakes can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures, with a warm side temperature range of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit and a cool side range of 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Both species also require a humidity level of around 50-60%.

Handling: Both ball pythons and corn snakes are generally docile and can be handled with care. However, ball pythons may be more prone to stress and may become defensive if not handled correctly. It’s essential to handle them gently and provide a secure and comfortable environment.

Activity Level and Space Requirements

Ball Python

Corn Snake

Corn snakes are more active and tend to explore their surroundings more than ball pythons. They require a bit more space to accommodate their natural curiosity and need for exercise. A 20-gallon tank is usually sufficient for a corn snake, but larger enclosures or custom-built habitats may be necessary for larger individuals.

Similar to ball pythons, corn snakes also need hiding spots and climbing branches to keep them stimulated. Additionally, they are excellent climbers and may require a secure lid or top to prevent escapes.

Noise and Odor


Both ball pythons and corn snakes are generally quiet animals. They are not known for making much noise, if any at all. These snakes are stealthy hunters and prefer to keep quiet in their natural habitats. This means you won’t have to worry about any loud or disruptive noises coming from your pet snake.


One of the advantages of owning a ball python or a corn snake is that they are relatively odorless pets. These snakes have a very low odor compared to other reptiles or even some mammals. Their waste, urine, and shedding skin are not known for emitting strong odors.

Availability and Cost

Cost-wise, corn snakes are generally more affordable than ball pythons. A basic corn snake can be purchased for around $50 to $100, while a ball python can range from $100 to several hundred dollars, depending on the morph (color and pattern) and genetics.

Factors Affecting Cost

The cost of a snake can vary based on several factors:

  • Morph: Ball pythons come in a wide variety of color and pattern morphs, which can significantly impact their price. Rare and sought-after morphs can be quite expensive.
  • Genetics: Breeding for specific genetic traits, such as recessive or co-dominant genes, can also drive up the cost of a ball python.
  • Age and Size: Older and larger snakes may be priced higher due to their increased value and potential for breeding.
  • Source: The reputation and credibility of the breeder or seller can also influence the price. Well-established breeders with a track record of producing high-quality snakes may charge more.

Remember, the initial cost of the snake is just the beginning, and there will be ongoing costs for the care and maintenance of your reptile companion.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Proper maintenance and cleaning are essential for keeping your ball python or corn snake healthy and comfortable. Both snakes require regular cleaning of their enclosure, as well as monitoring of their overall health.

In terms of maintenance, both ball pythons and corn snakes have specific needs that must be met. For ball pythons, proper humidity levels and temperature gradients are crucial for their health and well-being. Regular monitoring of these factors, as well as providing appropriate hiding spots and enrichment, is important for their overall care.

Corn snakes, on the other hand, have slightly different requirements. They prefer a slightly lower humidity level and need a secure and properly-sized enclosure that allows them to stretch and move around comfortably. Providing them with appropriate hiding spots, such as rocks or logs, is also important for their mental and physical stimulation.

In addition to regular maintenance and cleaning, it is also important to monitor the health of your snake. Look out for any signs of illness or injury, such as changes in appetite, lethargy, or abnormal behavior. If you notice any concerning symptoms, it is best to consult with a reptile veterinarian as soon as possible.

The Importance of Handling and Interaction with Your Corn Snake or Ball Python

The Importance of Handling and Interaction with Your Corn Snake or Ball Python

Benefits of Handling:

Regular handling helps your snake become accustomed to human interaction, reducing stress and aggression. By handling your snake gently and frequently, you are teaching it that you are not a threat. This will make it more comfortable when being held or touched.

Handling also provides an opportunity for you to check your snake’s health. By observing its behavior and physical condition, you can identify any potential issues early on and seek proper veterinary care if necessary.

How to Handle:

Remember to wash your hands both before and after handling your snake to prevent the spread of any potential pathogens.


Interacting with your snake outside of its enclosure is a great way to strengthen your bond and provide mental stimulation for your pet. You can allow your snake to explore different surfaces and provide hiding spots or objects for it to investigate.

While handling and interacting with your snake, make sure to provide a quiet and calm environment. Loud noises, sudden movements, or stressful situations can cause your snake to become anxious or defensive.

Take the time to observe and learn about your snake’s behavior and body language. This will help you determine what it enjoys and what makes it uncomfortable, allowing you to ensure its happiness and well-being.

Health and Common Issues

Another common issue that can affect both corn snakes and ball pythons is mites. Mites are tiny external parasites that can cause irritation and discomfort for your reptile. Regular inspection of your snake’s enclosure and body is important to detect and address mite infestations promptly. Treatment typically involves removing the snake from the enclosure and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the enclosure.

Preventing Health Issues

Proper nutrition is also crucial for the health of your snake. Feed your snake an appropriate diet consisting of mice or rats, depending on its size. Make sure the prey items are properly sized to prevent choking or digestive issues. It is recommended to feed your snake once every 1-2 weeks, but this can vary depending on the age and size of your snake.

Genetic Issues and Morphs

It is essential to do thorough research and understand the potential genetic issues associated with specific morphs before purchasing a snake. If you plan on breeding snakes, it is particularly important to choose genetically healthy individuals to prevent the propagation of genetic issues.

Overall, ensuring the health and well-being of your reptile requires proper care, regular check-ups, and a clean and suitable enclosure. By providing a healthy environment and being aware of common health issues, you can enjoy many years with your corn snake or ball python as a happy and thriving pet.

Reptile Ownership Laws and Regulations

Before bringing a snake into your home, it’s crucial to research and understand the local laws and regulations regarding reptile ownership. This can be done by contacting your local animal control office or reptile-specific organizations in your area.

Along with species-specific regulations, there may also be requirements for the size and type of enclosure you use for your pet snake. Some areas may have specific guidelines on the materials used for enclosures, the size of the enclosure, and the safety features, such as locks or escape-proof lids.

Additionally, some places may require permits or licenses for reptile ownership, especially if you plan to breed or sell snakes. These permits often come with their own set of regulations and may require regular inspections or adherence to certain standards of care.

By familiarizing yourself with the reptile ownership laws and regulations in your area, you can ensure that you are legally and responsibly keeping a pet snake. It also helps to protect the well-being of both the snake and the environment. Before bringing home a ball python or corn snake, take the time to thoroughly research and understand the laws governing reptile ownership in your area.

Popular Varieties and Color Morphs

The corn snake and the ball python are both popular choices for reptile enthusiasts due to their wide range of color morphs and patterns. These variations in appearance have been achieved through selective breeding and have resulted in a stunning array of options for potential pet owners.

The ball python, on the other hand, is known for its striking patterns and colors. One of the most popular ball python morphs is the “albino” which has white or yellowish scales with pink or red eyes. Another popular morph is the “pied” which features a piebald pattern of white patches on a darker background. The “banana” morph is known for its yellow and white pattern, while the “clown” morph has a distinctive pattern of bold stripes and spots. Other unique morphs include the “axanthic” which has reduced yellow pigmentation, the “spider” which features a web-like pattern, and the “pastel” which intensifies the natural colors of the snake.

When choosing a corn snake or ball python as a pet, the variety of color morphs adds to the appeal and allows owners to select a snake that matches their personal preference. Whether you prefer the vibrant reds and oranges of the corn snake or the eye-catching patterns of the ball python, there is sure to be a color morph that catches your eye. Additionally, the ability to breed these snakes and create new morphs adds a level of excitement and exploration to the world of reptile ownership.

Overall, the variety of color morphs available for both the corn snake and the ball python make them fascinating and visually stunning pets. Whichever snake you choose, whether it’s a corn snake or a ball python, their unique colors and patterns are sure to make them a captivating addition to your reptile collection.

Popular Varieties and Color Morphs of Ball Pythons and Corn Snakes

When considering a pet snake, the availability and variety of morphs in a particular species can be an exciting factor to consider. Both ball pythons and corn snakes offer a wide range of morphs, allowing reptile enthusiasts to choose a snake that suits their personal preferences and aesthetic taste.

Keeping these unique and diverse color morphs in mind, reptile owners must provide an appropriate enclosure for their ball pythons or corn snakes. The enclosure should not only meet the snake’s basic needs for warmth, humidity, and hiding spots but also provide enough space for the snake to move comfortably. Creating a suitable environment for these morphs ensures that they can fully display their beautiful colors and patterns, enhancing the overall experience of owning a pet snake.

Whether you choose a ball python or a corn snake, the availability of various color morphs allows you to select a snake that matches your preferences and keeps your fascination with reptiles alive. These unique morphs make each snake a one-of-a-kind pet, showcasing the endless possibilities nature has to offer.

Personal Preference and Research

Additionally, the availability of morphs should be considered. Both ball pythons and corn snakes have a wide range of morphs available, but the popularity and availability of certain morphs may differ. Some morphs may be more expensive or harder to find than others.