So you’ve decided that you’re going to get a ball python but aren’t quite sure which one to get. There are two ways of going about trying to determine exactly which ball python to take home with you, and although there’s some middle ground, you’ll have to be quite lucky if you’re going to get the best of both worlds.
First, you’ll have to determine which is more important to you: temperament or morph type. If this is your first ball python, likely the former will matter more, while if you’re starting a collection or are really into one particular type of morph, the latter will be more important.
In relation to temperament, most ball pythons are docile by nature, and are not particularly aggressive. That being said, there are individual snakes that have absolutely horrendous tempers, and will try to attack you consistently, even though it is not at all common.
In terms of common behaviour, many ball pythons will hate being touched on the top of their heads, while others will be perfectly content to let you stroke them there. Those that hate the feeling of stroking on their head may get used to it with training, but others will never enjoy the sensation and will likely pull away from a touch to the head quickly, or even get defensive and curl up into a ball. If being able to touch your ball python on its head is important to you, make sure to keep this in mind when you’re at the breeder or pet store.
In choosing a ball python based on temperament, it’s best to handle all the ball pythons you’re considering getting, and after interacting with them, choosing to take home whichever snake you bonded with best. Gender does not matter in terms of temperament, as males and females are equally docile.
In relation to morph type, there are over one hundred different types of morphs to choose from. Some are of course more common than others, and depending on how rare the morph is, prices will vary.
The cheapest morph is a pastel, and they often range in price from $150-250 on the low end. Prices for morphs can go well over $30,000, and no breeder will have every morph, so if you’re looking for a specific type, keep this in mind. Unless you are looking for a ball python morph that is quite common, like the pastel morph, it is likely that you will not be able to choose the temperament of the snake.
Luckily, most ball pythons are docile and not aggressive to begin with, but if the breeder you are purchasing a morph from only carries one of that particular morph, you either have to settle on the temperament of the snake or change your mind on the morph type. Again, there is no difference in temperament with males and females, but if you’re interested in breeding your snake in the future, it is better to get a female. Multiple females can get pregnant from a single male, making it beneficial to have more females than males if you are interested in breeding.