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Old 04-08-2019, 01:10 AM
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Default Plants for a ball python

Good Afternoon All,

So I've recently built two extensively planted terrariums. One is for a pair of P. terribilis, and the other is for my panther chameleon. I was starting to feel guilty though, because my 23 year old ball python is still in the enclosure he has been in since 1997. It meets the popular husbandry standards for ball pythons, but I think he could benefit from a larger enclosure. I picked up a pretty nice plywood vivarium this weekend (3'x3'x2') as a $50 craigslist purchase, and I intend to waterproof it and install some LED panels on the ceiling.



I want to incorporate a good number of plants into the final setup, but I need to take into consideration that the python will be a lot stronger and more destructive than frogs or my chameleon. The enclosure will also be drier and warmer than a frog vivarium (ambient temp around 75-80 degrees, basking spot at about 100 degrees, humidity ~60%).

I'm looking for ideas for plants that might fit the bill. My basic plan is to embed several planters onto the background, and let plants cascade down or shingle up. Vines I currently own include Monstera adansonii, golden pothos, Pellionia repens, Ficus pumila, Begonia glabra, and Ficus radicans. I'm not sure how those would do in the conditions listed above, and I'd like to avoid F. pumila or pothos if possible because I am sick of them. Cebu blue pothos seems like it might be a good compromise but I'm having a hard time finding one locally.

I'm open to additional suggestions. Something hardy that can shingle or casade. Or plants that are free standing but could likely stand up to a python.

Thanks.
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Old 04-08-2019, 04:23 AM
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Default Re: Plants for a ball python

I think you might be able to get away with some pothos, but finding any plant a decent size snake wont destroy is going to be a challenge. Maybe look into some succulents.

My understanding is that ball pythons are from the savannah and not from the jungle, most of the plants you mentioned would be inappropriate. So you may want to look at some grasses too
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Old 04-08-2019, 05:30 AM
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Default Re: Plants for a ball python

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Originally Posted by varanoid View Post
I think you might be able to get away with some pothos, but finding any plant a decent size snake wont destroy is going to be a challenge. Maybe look into some succulents.

My understanding is that ball pythons are from the savannah and not from the jungle, most of the plants you mentioned would be inappropriate. So you may want to look at some grasses too
Well, I intend to plant several of these plants in the backdrop and they will thus have limited snake exposure. The python will climb a little bit I am sure, but I have three feet of vertical space and can structure it in a way where some of the planters are mostly inaccessible. I am confident a pothos will hold up fine (my local zoo has pothos in with their ball pythons, and a number of similar sized small constrictors). I am pretty sure anything with a similar structure to a pothos would work if it can survive the climate (monstera, philodendron, etc).

As for jungle vs. savannah, I'm just looking for suggestions for durable(ish) plants that fit the specs of 75-80F ambient temp (and won't immediately die if they get a bit hotter) and around 60% humidity, which are the husbandry requirements of the python. I'm not really looking to recreate the aesthetic of the savannah.

Does anyone know what the pictured plant is? It is kept with a small constrictor at the Sacramento Zoo, and has a woody stem that I think would keep it fairly protected.
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Old 04-09-2019, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: Plants for a ball python

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Originally Posted by connorology View Post
Well, I intend to plant several of these plants in the backdrop and they will thus have limited snake exposure. The python will climb a little bit I am sure, but I have three feet of vertical space and can structure it in a way where some of the planters are mostly inaccessible. I am confident a pothos will hold up fine (my local zoo has pothos in with their ball pythons, and a number of similar sized small constrictors). I am pretty sure anything with a similar structure to a pothos would work if it can survive the climate (monstera, philodendron, etc).
Pothos is bulletproof and should be just fine in almost any environment you could subject it to. And if you are indeed able to keep the plants protected from exposure to the snake, your conditions are conducive to just about any house plant you would find at your local big box store, or nursery.

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I'm not really looking to recreate the aesthetic of the savannah.
Gotcha.

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Does anyone know what the pictured plant is? It is kept with a small constrictor at the Sacramento Zoo, and has a woody stem that I think would keep it fairly protected.
Can't help you with the species, but they are very commonly sold at grocery store, big box stores, and nurseries. Was never particularly interested since they are too large /invasive for your average dart frog vivarium. I have had a couple over the years given to me as gifts. They are very tough plants(take a wide range of light, water, temperature, etc.) as far a house plants go, though I don't know how they would hold up against a roaming ball python. Easy to take cuttings of as well.
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Old 04-09-2019, 01:15 AM
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Default Re: Plants for a ball python

The plant in question looks to be an unhappy example of an Aglaonema. It has likely dropped its lower leaves because it is too dry, and will quickly lose the ones that are very yellowed.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Plants for a ball python

Yep, the real plant is definitely an Aglaeonema or "Chinese evergreen". The other is "fernus plasticus". Ha ha.

Have you considered Zamioculcas? It's notably forgiving, and would do well under lights and without too much watering. I'd probably put it in an unglazed terracotta pot with a matching saucer. That would enable you to pull it out for major soakings every now and then - or to water it right in the cage, with enough water for a bit to run into the saucer but then get re-absorbed by the soil or the terracotta.

good luck, I'm pleased you're taking some renewed interest in your little middle-aged python
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:29 AM
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Default Re: Plants for a ball python

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The plant in question looks to be an unhappy example of an Aglaonema. It has likely dropped its lower leaves because it is too dry, and will quickly lose the ones that are very yellowed.
That's too bad. My recent excursion to the Sacramento Zoo left me thinking the herpetology folks could perhaps benefit from consulting with some plant enthusiasts. Sacramento as as city has no shortage of pie-in-the-sky infrastructure plans at the moment, but has finite funds to implement them. There is a group trying to build a 25 million dollar botanical garden (I don't think they have any money yet), and then there is the aging Sacramento Zoo that is trying to move to a new larger location to keep up with AZA accreditation standards for their larger species (They have some money, but I don't think near enough yet).

Seems like if the horticulturists were willing to work with the zoo you could have some pretty epic exhibits, but perhaps there are some roadblocks or politics I am unaware of. It was a little disappointing to peek inside the greenhouse the zoo has in the back of their grounds and think "Oh, I have 2-3 times more plant species than that and I'm just some random dude." The zoo's lighting rigs on the reptile house enclosures were pretty lackluster too. They looked to be consumer grade LED lights, as opposed to something like a 5000k horticulture panel, or some of the 6000-6500k rigs folks use for their privately owned frogs.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jgragg View Post
Have you considered Zamioculcas? It's notably forgiving, and would do well under lights and without too much watering. I'd probably put it in an unglazed terracotta pot with a matching saucer. That would enable you to pull it out for major soakings every now and then - or to water it right in the cage, with enough water for a bit to run into the saucer but then get re-absorbed by the soil or the terracotta,
Good suggestion, thanks. I'll look into it, I see those plants everywhere, and they're decent looking. As for removal, I am debating making the planted floor section a waterproofed removable insert, though I am still in planning stages. Currently I am using "drylok extreme" to waterproof the plywood. It's about half the price of epoxy and I watched some videos of folks using it to make plywood aquariums, so hopefully it'll stand up to some medium humidity.
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Last edited by connorology; 04-10-2019 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:55 AM
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Connorology, have you been on The Bio Dudes website ? He has a video of a ball python in a naturlistic enclosure. He swears his python is more active in it. I'll try to link it to you if I can find it.
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Old 04-12-2019, 02:11 AM
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https://www.thebiodude.com/collectio...-bioactive-kit

Anyways this was the best place to find those videos. But the ZZ plant suggestion by Jgragg was a great one, and I wouldn't shy away from the succulent suggestions. In a well drained soil (or potted) they could thrive with a daily misting. I've done just that when I had a Rainbow Plated Lizard in a SW Madagascar themed vivarium. My succulents did great, the Rainbow Plated thrived but I couldn't believe how much he liked to burrow and stay hidden for days. Only when he heard/sensed/felt ? crickets being dropped in did he come out of the substrate.
Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: Plants for a ball python

It's probably worth noting that Sanseveria would be another good alternative, or possibly a companion, to the ZZ. I think they are from the same region & habitat; it might even be the same place ball pythons are from. Both plants like a warm humid growing season and a dry "cool" resting season. But they would probably take the abuse of 365 days of same old same old, if that's what the python gets. (I don't know the first thing about balls, if people cycle them or anything).

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