Although the ball python has always been one of the more commonly kept reptiles in the world for many decades now, the new, rare morphs have really spiked the interest in keeping a ball python recently.
Just because people get interested in ball pythons due to seeing the rare, expensive morphs on social media does not mean that they will not get a regular ball python to get involved in the reptile keeping hobby.
This can be a great way for beginners to keep their costs as low as possible while still getting themselves a ball python.
With there being such a large number of people out there who are new to keeping pet ball pythons, we have noticed many people asking various questions month in and month out.
One question that many people have been asking recently is why their ball python has been in its water bowl for days.
There are actually a number of different causes of a ball python staying in its water bowl but, this is not an unnatural behavior and in some cases, your ball python may just like relaxing in its water bowl.
Why Your Ball Python Has Been In Its Water Bowl For Days!
In some cases, there may be something irritating your ball python and causing it to stay in its water bowl for an extended period of time though.
Here are our most common causes of a ball python staying in its bowl that could be causing the behavior in your snake:-
- Temperature Issues!
- Humidity Issues!
- Not Enough Hiding Places!
- Getting Ready To Lay Eggs!
- Heat Lamp Burns!
People who are new to keeping a pet ball python may actually have more than one of these issues in their snake’s vivarium at the same time.
This can throw people off the actual cause of the behavior in their snake as they focus on one possibility but seeking advice from your local vet should be able to help you get confirmation if you are in doubt.
One of the most common reasons for a ball python staying in its water bowl is that it is currently going through a shed cycle.
A ball python will often spend extended periods of time in its water bowl while it is shedding its skin.
This is actually a perfectly natural behavior and nothing to be concerned about.
If your ball python is in its water bowl and you notice that it is starting to shed its skin, then you should leave it be and let it complete the process.
You may also notice that your ball python’s eyes will start to turn white a few days before it sheds its skin.
This is perfectly normal behavior as well and is nothing to be concerned about.
If your ball python is staying in its water bowl for an extended period of time and you have ruled out shedding as the cause, then it may be that your snake has mites.
Mites are tiny parasites that can live on reptiles and will often cause the reptile to stay in its water bowl for long periods of time.
Mites can also cause your ball python to start rubbing its body against objects in its vivarium in an attempt to get rid of the parasites.
If you think that your ball python has mites, then you should take it to see your local reptile vet as soon as possible.
Your vet will be able to prescribe you with a mite treatment that will get rid of the parasites and return your snake to good health but our article going over snake mites may be helpful.
If the temperature in your ball python’s vivarium is not correct, then this can cause your snake to seek out its water bowl as a source of heat.
You should make sure that the temperature in your ball python’s vivarium is between 75-80°F on the cool side of the tank and 80-85°F on the warm side.
Provide a 88-92°F basking area on the warm side too but many people make mistakes with these temperature ranges causing their ball python to stay in its water bowl.
You can usually check the current temperature ranges in your ball pythons vivarium with a thermometer and then make any required adjustments to the setting on your heat bulb or heat map as required.
Cheaper heating units for vivariums can have inaccurate control dials as well as inconsistent outputs making it more difficult to work out that this is the problem so keep that in mind too.
For a ball python to stay healthy, the humidity in its vivarium needs to be between 50-60%.
If the humidity in your ball python’s tank is too low or too high, then this can cause your snake to spend extended periods of time in its water bowl.
A good way to measure the humidity in your ball pythons vivarium is to use a hygrometer which you can pick up from most pet stores.
If the humidity in your ball python’s tank is too low, then you can increase it by misting the tank with water or adding a larger water bowl.
If the humidity in your ball python’s tank is too high, then you can decrease it by increasing the ventilation in the tank or using a dehumidifier.
Not Enough Hiding Places!
If your ball python does not have enough hiding places in its vivarium, then this can cause it to spend extended periods of time in its water bowl.
A ball python should have at least one hiding place on the cool side of its tank and one on the warm side but this is commonly overlooked in most vivariums.
Ideally, your ball python’s hiding places should be large enough for it to fit inside and should be slightly damp so that your snake can regulate its temperature and humidity levels.
Getting Ready To Lay Eggs!
If your female ball python is spending a lot of time in its water bowl, then she may be getting ready to lay eggs.
Female ball pythons will often seek out a damp and humid hiding place to lay their eggs and the water bowl can provide this.
Heat Lamp Burns!
Cheap heat lamps can commonly cause burning on your ball python causing the snake to seek refuge in its hiding areas.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, it is very common for people to accidentally miss out on the hiding spots in their ball pythons vivariums causing their snake to lay in their water bowl as it’s the only protection they have available.
This is more common than most people realize and even experienced reptile keepers commonly make this mistake with their ball pythons.
If your ball python is not getting enough water, then it will start to seek out its water bowl as a source of hydration.
You should make sure that your ball python has a large water bowl that it can easily get in and out of and that you are providing it with fresh water on a regular basis.
It is also a good idea to mist your ball python’s tank with water on a daily basis to help increase the humidity levels.
If you think that your ball python is dehydrated, then you should take it to the vet as they will be able to give it fluids and rehydrate it.