Pied Clown Ball Python Care and Breeding Guide

Pied clown ball python

The pied clown ball python is a stunning and popular morph of the ball python. It is known for its vibrant coloration, unique pattern, and playful personality. This reptile is highly sought after by reptile enthusiasts and collectors.

Caring for a pied clown ball python requires specific attention to its habitat, diet, and health. Providing a spacious enclosure with proper heating and lighting, as well as a variety of hiding spots and climbing branches, is crucial for the snake’s well-being. Regularly monitoring and maintaining the temperature and humidity levels is essential for its overall health.

In terms of diet, pied clown ball pythons are carnivorous and primarily feed on small mammals, such as mice and rats. Feeding them a balanced diet of appropriately sized prey is important to ensure their nutritional needs are met. It is recommended to feed adult snakes once every 1-2 weeks, while younger snakes may require more frequent feedings.

Breeding pied clown ball pythons can be a rewarding and exciting experience for experienced reptile breeders. However, it requires careful planning, appropriate handling, and knowledge of breeding techniques. The process typically involves introducing a male and female snake in a separate breeding enclosure and closely monitoring their behavior and interactions.

Overall, caring for and breeding pied clown ball pythons can be a fascinating journey for reptile enthusiasts. With proper care, these beautiful and unique snakes can thrive in captivity and bring joy to their owners for many years to come.

Natural Habitat and Distribution

The natural habitat of the pied clown python is found in West Africa, primarily in the countries of Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, and Benin. These snakes inhabit tropical forests and savannahs, where they can be found hiding in burrows, rock crevices, and leaf litter. They are predominantly ground-dwelling, but can also climb trees and shrubs.


The pied clown python has a limited distribution and is endemic to certain regions of West Africa. It is not found in large numbers and is considered rare in the wild. Due to its popularity in the reptile trade, it is more commonly found in captivity, where breeders have successfully reproduced and established breeding populations.


In their natural habitat, pied clown pythons thrive in the warm and humid conditions of West Africa. They prefer temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius) during the day, with a slight drop in temperature at night. Humidity levels should be kept between 50% and 60%, with occasional spikes during the rainy season.

Overall, the pied clown python is a fascinating and beautiful snake that requires specific care and attention in captivity to thrive. Providing them with a habitat that mimics their natural environment will ensure their health and well-being.

Housing and Enclosure Setup for Pied Clown Ball Pythons

Size of the Enclosure: As pied clown ball pythons can grow up to 4-5 feet in length, it’s recommended to have a spacious enclosure. A minimum of a 40-gallon tank is suitable for an adult snake, but bigger enclosures are always better. Providing ample space will allow your snake to move and explore comfortably.

Hideouts: Pied clown ball pythons are naturally shy and require hiding spots to feel secure. Place at least two hideouts, one on the warm end and one on the cool end of the enclosure. These can be commercially available hides or simple structures like half-logs or upside-down containers.

Temperature Gradient: Maintain a temperature gradient within the enclosure. The warm end should be around 90-95°F (32-35°C), while the cool end can be around 78-82°F (25-28°C). This allows your snake to regulate its body temperature by moving between different temperature zones.

Cleaning and Maintenance: Regularly clean the enclosure to maintain a healthy environment for your snake. Remove any feces or uneaten prey promptly. Replace the substrate every few months and disinfect the enclosure with a reptile-safe cleaner.

Temperature and Humidity Requirements

Proper temperature and humidity levels are essential for the health and well-being of ball pythons, especially the pied clown morph. These snakes are native to sub-Saharan Africa, specifically in regions with warm and humid climates.

The ideal temperature range for ball pythons, including the pied clown morph, is between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit (26-32 degrees Celsius) during the day. At night, the temperature can drop slightly to around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celsius).

Humidity is another crucial factor in the care of ball pythons. The humidity level should be kept between 50-60% for most of the year. However, during shedding, the humidity should be increased to around 70-80% to assist the snake in shedding its skin properly.

To maintain the appropriate humidity levels, misting the enclosure with water or using a reptile humidifier can be helpful. Also, providing a humidity hide, such as a plastic box with damp sphagnum moss inside, can provide an area of higher humidity for the snake to retreat to when needed.

Tips for Maintaining Temperature and Humidity:

  • Use a digital thermometer and hygrometer to accurately monitor temperature and humidity levels.
  • Place the heat source on one side of the enclosure to create a temperature gradient, allowing the snake to thermoregulate.
  • Provide a water dish large enough for the snake to soak in and maintain hydration.
  • Use a substrate that can retain moisture, such as coconut husk or cypress mulch, to help maintain humidity levels.
  • During shedding, provide a moist hide or increase the overall humidity in the enclosure to aid in the shedding process.
  • Avoid sudden fluctuations in temperature and humidity, as this can stress the snake.

By ensuring the proper temperature and humidity requirements for your pied clown ball python, you can help create a healthy and thriving environment for your snake.

Lighting and Photoperiod


While pied clown ball pythons do not require special UVB lighting like some reptiles do, it is still beneficial to provide a light source in their enclosure. This helps to simulate natural lighting conditions and allows your snake to differentiate between day and night.

The light should be placed on one side of the enclosure to create a light gradient, allowing the snake to choose between a brighter and a darker area. This mimics their natural behavior of seeking shelter in darker areas during the day.



By adjusting the photoperiod, you can help regulate the biological functions of your pied clown ball python, such as feeding, shedding, and breeding cycles. This promotes overall well-being and helps establish a natural rhythm for your snake.

Lighting and Photoperiod Summary:
Provide a low-intensity light source during the day.
Avoid using bright or direct lighting.
Place the light on one side of the enclosure to create a light gradient.
Adjust the photoperiod to mimic natural changes in daylight hours.
Summer: 14-16 hours of light, 8-10 hours of darkness.
Winter: 10-12 hours of light, 12-14 hours of darkness.

Feeding and Diet

The recommended diet for pied clown ball pythons consists of appropriately sized frozen and thawed rodents such as mice and rats. The size of the prey should be proportionate to the size of the snake. Hatchlings can be fed newborn mice or rat pups, while adult pythons can be fed adult mice or small rats.

It is crucial to feed your pied clown ball python pre-killed prey, as live prey can be dangerous and potentially harm your snake. Additionally, pre-killed prey eliminates the risk of injury to your snake during the feeding process.

When feeding your pied clown ball python, it is recommended to use feeding tongs or forceps to avoid accidental bites or strikes. Always thaw the frozen prey correctly before feeding it to your snake. The prey should be warmed to around the snake’s body temperature for easy digestion.

Remember to always provide fresh water for your pied clown ball python. The water bowl should be large enough for the snake to soak in if they choose to do so. Clean the water bowl regularly to maintain hygiene.

  • Provide a proper and nutritious diet of frozen and thawed rodents
  • Feed appropriately sized prey based on the snake’s size
  • Avoid feeding live prey to prevent injuries
  • Feed once every 7 to 14 days based on age and size
  • Use feeding tongs or forceps during feeding
  • Thaw prey correctly before feeding
  • Provide fresh water and clean the water bowl regularly

By following these feeding guidelines, you can ensure that your pied clown ball python is receiving the proper nutrition it needs to thrive. Remember to consult with a reptile veterinarian or experienced breeder if you have any specific concerns or questions about your python’s diet.

Handling and Temperament

Before handling your python, make sure you’ve washed your hands thoroughly and have removed any strong smells, such as perfume or food, that may startle or irritate them. Approach the snake from the side, gently supporting its body and allowing it to move freely.

When handling your python, be gentle and avoid sudden movements or loud noises that may startle them. It’s best to handle them in a quiet, calm environment to help them feel safe and secure. Avoid handling your python for extended periods of time, as this can cause stress and discomfort for them.


If you notice any signs of aggression or excessive stress in your python, such as hissing, striking, or biting, it’s best to give them some space and avoid handling them until they have calmed down. This behavior may be a sign that they are feeling threatened or uncomfortable, and forcing them to interact may only exacerbate the situation.

Common Health Issues in Pied Clown Ball Pythons

Common Health Issues in Pied Clown Ball Pythons

  • Respiratory Infections: These are commonly caused by inadequate temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure. Symptoms may include wheezing, open-mouth breathing, nasal discharge, and lethargy. Maintaining proper temperature and humidity, as well as regular cleaning and disinfecting of the enclosure, can help prevent respiratory infections.
  • Mites: These tiny parasites can infest snakes and cause irritation, anemia, and even death if not treated promptly. Regularly inspecting the snake for mites and providing a clean and well-maintained enclosure can help prevent mite infestations. If mites are found, treatment options include thoroughly cleaning the enclosure, treating the snake with a mite-specific product, and quarantining any affected snakes.
  • Dehydration: Insufficient water availability or low humidity levels can lead to dehydration in pied clown ball pythons. Signs of dehydration may include sunken eyes, wrinkled skin, and lethargy. Providing a clean and fresh water source at all times and maintaining appropriate humidity levels in the enclosure can help prevent dehydration.
  • Stuck Shed: Improper humidity levels can cause shedding problems in pied clown ball pythons. If shed skin remains stuck on the snake, it can lead to constrictions and circulation issues. Maintaining proper humidity and providing a damp hiding area or shedding box can help facilitate successful sheds.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Overfeeding, improper nutrition, or low temperatures can result in gastrointestinal problems such as regurgitation or constipation in pied clown ball pythons. Feeding appropriately sized prey items, providing a varied and balanced diet, and ensuring proper temperature gradients within the enclosure can help prevent gastrointestinal issues.
  • Parasites: Internal parasites, such as worms, can affect the health of pied clown ball pythons. Regular fecal examinations by a veterinarian and proper deworming protocols can help prevent and treat parasitic infections.

9. Breeding and Reproduction

The breeding and reproduction of pied clown ball pythons is an exciting and rewarding aspect of keeping these beautiful snakes. Breeding occurs between a male and female python, with careful attention to genetics to produce desirable offspring.



Courtship and Copulation

Once the snakes have been introduced and the breeding season conditions are in place, courtship rituals will begin. The male will display various behaviors to attract the female, such as chin rubbing and body gyrations. If the female is receptive, copulation will occur, with the male coiling around the female and inserting his hemipenes into her cloaca.

Egg Laying and Incubation

Incubation Temperature Incubation Humidity Incubation Period
87-88°F (31-31.5°C) 90-100% 55-60 days

Hatching and Care

Breeding and reproducing pied clown ball pythons requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following these guidelines, you can successfully breed these unique and captivating snakes, and contribute to the fascinating world of python breeding.

Incubation and Hatching

It is essential to regularly monitor the temperature and humidity levels within the incubator to ensure they remain within the appropriate range. Fluctuations can lead to complications or unsuccessful hatching.

The incubation period for pied clown ball python eggs typically lasts around 55-60 days. During this time, it is crucial to be patient and avoid interfering with the eggs unless absolutely necessary.

Once the baby pythons have fully hatched, they will still have a yolk sac attached to their belly. This yolk sac provides them with essential nutrients and will be absorbed over the next few days. It is crucial not to handle or disturb the hatchlings during this delicate stage.

During the first few weeks, it is essential to closely monitor the hatchlings’ overall health, feeding, and shedding habits. It is a critical time for their development, and any issues should be addressed promptly.

With proper care and attention, the baby pied clown ball pythons will gradually grow and develop their unique color patterns, demonstrating the fascinating genetics of this morph.

Key Points:
– Incubate eggs at a consistent temperature of 88-90°F (31-32°C) and around 90% humidity.
– Use an incubator designed for reptile eggs to maintain optimal conditions.
– The incubation period lasts approximately 55-60 days.
– Allow the hatchlings to fully absorb their yolk sac before handling.
– Monitor the health and development of the hatchlings closely during their early weeks.

Baby Pied Clown Ball Python Care

Baby Pied Clown Ball Python Care

First and foremost, it is crucial to provide the appropriate enclosure for your baby python. A small and secure tank or terrarium with proper ventilation is essential. The enclosure should be equipped with a substrate that is safe for the snake, such as paper towels or reptile carpet.

Temperature and humidity levels are also vital for the baby pied clown ball python’s overall health. The enclosure should have a temperature gradient, with one side of the tank warmer than the other. The warm side should have a temperature of around 88-92°F (31-33°C), while the cool side should be around 78-82°F (25-28°C). Maintaining the proper humidity level of around 50-60% is important to prevent dehydration and promote shedding.

Feeding your baby pied clown ball python should be done with caution. They should be fed appropriately sized frozen-thawed rodents, such as mice or rats, depending on their size. The frequency of feeding will vary depending on the age and size of the snake, but generally, they should be fed every 5-7 days.

Regular health checks are necessary for your baby pied clown ball python. Look out for any signs of illness or injury, such as loss of appetite, abnormal shedding, respiratory issues, or mouth rot. If you notice any concerning symptoms, it is best to consult a reptile veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

As your baby python grows, they will eventually require a larger enclosure and adjustments to their care routine. It is essential to stay informed and do thorough research to provide the best possible care for your python as it develops.

Remember, providing a clean and suitable environment, maintaining proper temperature and humidity levels, feeding a balanced diet, handling with care, and keeping an eye out for any health issues are essential for the well-being of your baby pied clown ball python.

Morphs and Genetics

Pied Trait

The pied trait in ball pythons is characterized by patches of white or light-colored scales on an otherwise dark-colored snake. The amount and size of the white patches can vary greatly among individual snakes. In pied ball pythons, the white patches can range from small specks to large, almost completely white sections of the body.

Clown Trait

The clown trait in ball pythons is characterized by a unique pattern that resembles a clown’s face. This pattern consists of large dark blotches surrounded by lighter-colored scales, creating a distinctive and eye-catching appearance. The clown trait can vary in intensity, with some snakes exhibiting a more pronounced clown pattern than others.

When the pied and clown traits are combined in a ball python, the resulting morph showcases the best features of both traits. These snakes often have large white patches that contrast beautifully with the dark clown pattern, creating a striking and visually appealing snake.

Resources and Further Reading

For more information on pied, clown, and ball pythons, here are some recommended resources:


  • The Complete Ball Python: A Comprehensive Guide to Care, Breeding, and Genetic Mutations by Kevin McCurley
  • Ball Pythons: The History, Natural History, Care, and Breeding by David G. Barker and Tracy M. Barker