Why Is My Ball Python Trying To Escape

Have you ever wondered why your ball python keeps trying to escape? It can be quite puzzling, but there are a few reasons for this behavior. Ball pythons are naturally curious creatures, and they may try to explore their surroundings if they feel cramped or bored in their enclosure. They might also be trying to search for food or find a potential mate. Don’t worry though, there are ways you can keep your ball python happy and content in its habitat.

Physical Environment

Inadequate Cage Size

If your ball python is constantly trying to escape its enclosure, one possible reason could be that the cage size is too small for its needs. Ball pythons require enough space to move around comfortably and stretch out fully. If the cage is too cramped, they may feel stressed and confined, leading to escape attempts.

To address this issue, make sure to provide a cage that is spacious enough for your snake. A general rule of thumb is to have a cage that is at least as long as the snake’s total length, with a width and height that allows for movement and climbing. An enclosure with appropriate dimensions will help alleviate the desire to escape due to lack of space.

Incorrect Temperature

Another important factor to consider is the temperature within your ball python’s enclosure. Ball pythons are reptiles and therefore rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. If the temperature in the cage is not within the proper range, your snake may become stressed and attempt to escape in search of a more suitable environment.

To ensure the correct temperature, provide a temperature gradient in the enclosure. This means having a warm side, where the temperature should range between 88-92°F (31-33°C), and a cooler side, with temperatures around 78-80°F (25-27°C). Having a thermostat-controlled heating system and using heat lamps or heating pads can help maintain the desired temperature range and prevent your ball python from feeling the need to escape.

Poor Humidity Levels

Humidity is another crucial factor to consider when keeping a ball python. These snakes are native to tropical regions and require a certain level of humidity to stay healthy and hydrated. If the humidity in the enclosure is too low or too high, your ball python may try to escape in an attempt to find a more suitable environment.

It is recommended to maintain a humidity level of around 50-60% in the snake’s enclosure. This can be achieved by misting the enclosure regularly and using a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels. Providing a humid hide, such as a small hide box filled with damp substrate, can also help satisfy your ball python’s need for proper humidity and decrease the likelihood of escape attempts.

Unsuitable Substrate

The substrate, or bedding material, in your ball python’s enclosure, can also influence its behavior. If the substrate is uncomfortable or unsuitable for your snake’s natural behaviors, it may try to escape to find a more suitable environment.

Choosing the right substrate is important. Avoid using substrates that can cause irritation or be harmful if ingested, such as cedar shavings or mulch. Instead, opt for substrates like aspen shavings, coconut husk, or paper towels. These substrates provide a comfortable surface for your ball python to move on and burrow into, which can reduce the likelihood of escape attempts.

Lack of Hiding Spots

Ball pythons are secretive by nature and require hiding spots within their enclosure to feel safe and secure. If your snake does not have adequate hiding spots, it may feel exposed and vulnerable, leading to stress and escape attempts.

Provide multiple hiding spots in the enclosure, ideally one on the warm side and one on the cool side. These hiding spots can be in the form of commercially available hides, overturned hides, or even simple cardboard boxes with entrance holes. By providing hiding spots, you can help your ball python feel secure and prevent it from seeking escape as a way to find refuge.

Behavioral Factors

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can have a significant impact on your ball python’s behavior, including its tendency to try to escape. Environmental factors, such as improper temperature, lack of hiding spots, and insufficient cage size, can contribute to stress and anxiety in your snake. Additionally, loud noises, excessive handling, and the presence of unfamiliar animals or people can also induce stress and trigger escape attempts.

Reducing stress and anxiety in your ball python’s environment is essential to discourage escape attempts. Ensure that the enclosure provides the appropriate temperature, humidity, and hiding spots. Minimize loud noises and sudden movements around the enclosure, and limit handling to avoid overwhelming your snake. By creating a calm and secure environment, you can help alleviate your ball python’s stress and reduce its desire to escape.


Just like humans, ball pythons can experience boredom if their environment lacks stimulation and enrichment. If your snake is bored, it may resort to escape attempts as a form of seeking stimulation or exploring new surroundings.

To keep your ball python entertained, provide environmental enrichment. This can include adding branches or perches to the enclosure for climbing, introducing safe and interactive toys, and even rearranging the cage decor periodically. By providing a stimulating environment, you can help prevent boredom in your snake and discourage escape attempts.