The Burmese Python should only be considered by someone who has become a seasoned snake enthusiast. While Burmese Pythons are known for their gentle demeanor and huge size, taking care of this snake alone is like taking care of 10 other snakes put together. Their feces is massive, they eat large rabbits and other mammals, they have enough muscle to easily crush a human, and best of all, they require an enclosure the length of a room. While babies and young Burmese are easy to maintain, adult have proven difficult for even the most dedicated snake owners.
Assuming you’re just here to learn about what’s required to own one of these beautiful giants (maybe one day), ownership does provide the distinction of having among the largest snakes in the world. Couple that with its gentle-giant temperament and I can see why people would be interested in getting one. The only problem is that these snakes have really proven to be too much for most owners. Here in Florida, where I met my first Burmese Python as a kid, they are now considered an invasive species in the Everglades, with hunters being rewarded for killing them. This all stems from owners “losing” their pythons and the snake being able to dominate the wetland environment of South Florida. It has gotten so bad that hunters have resorted to releasing rabbits with tracking collars so when they get eaten, they can locate these snakes.
However, if you are not fazed by its size and have plenty of room to build a huge enclosure, the Burmese Python is among the calmest snakes there are.
Burmese Python Housing
Size – 20 gallon for baby/ young boas, upgraded to larger enclosures as their size dictates. A fully grown Burmese 15 feet in length should have an enclosure at least equal to half the length of its body, a quarter of its body in width, and a quarter of its body high. So for a 15 foot python that would be (rounding up) 8x4x4 feet. Needs to have a SECURE lock.
Substrate – For adults, the bedding should be easy to clean while aid in optimal levels of humidity. Use of a fogger or automatic humidifier is highly recommended, as it is harder to regulate humidity the larger the enclosure. Reptile (orchid) bark is optimal. Since this is a tropical snake requiring higher levels of humidity, avoid paper products or dry sand.
Temperature – Temperature gradient (95°F for the warm end and 75° for the cool end); recommend radiant heat (like a UTH). Larger enclosures (like the ones for the Burmese) may require automatic space heaters.
Habitat – Use of a fogger or automatic humidifier is highly recommended, as it is harder to regulate humidity the larger the enclosure. Provide a hiding area just large enough for your snake to fit inside. The Burmese python loves submerging itself so it is recommended to provide a pool of sorts for it to soak in. Provide enough space for the water to fill up without it soaking the entire enclosure.
Lighting – Provide 8 to 12 hours of light daily, preferably with an automatic timer so you don’t forget to turn on/off. Don’t leave white light on at all times; a nocturnal or infrared light should be used at night.
Young or smaller Burmese pythons under 6 feet can be handled by a single person, however it is recommended that when handling a snake between 6-10 feet in length, you get assistance from a second person. A snake over 10 feet in length requires three people. Trying to handle a fully-grown python solo can result in disaster, no matter if it has recently been fed and has formed a bond with you. While Burmese pythons are known for being friendly, any snake can be unpredictable. When a Burmese is many times stronger than you, please use caution when handling outside of its container.