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Since graduating from Moorpark College’s Exotic Animal Training and Management program in 1999, Josh Ruffell has worked with animals in numerous capacities. He worked as an animal trainer with Universal Studios Theme Parks, a wildlife consultant with the CBS show Survivor, and more recently, as Assistant Curator at Australia Zoo in Queensland. Although Josh Ruffell has experience working with a broad range of animals, his passion has always been working with reptiles, beginning with his pet ball python.

Ball pythons are indigenous to the forests of western and central Africa. They come in multiple colors and patterns and females may grow to about five feet in length, about two feet longer than the average male. Shy creatures, their name developed from their tendency to curl up in a ball when nervous. Their friendly nature makes them ideal pets, and ball pythons are the most popular breed of pet pythons. 

Acquiring a pet ball python is not difficult; they are readily available from pet shops, breeders, and online vendors. It is generally best to purchase a ball python that has been captive born and bred and has already begun to eat. 

Ball pythons are generally easy to care for and can thrive in a simple cage, as long as it includes a hiding place like a log or box large enough for the snake to fit inside. The cage should also contain a bowl of fresh water, which the snake may use for drinking, bathing, or even defecating. Ambient temperature within the cage should be kept between 80 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit with a basking spot of 88 to 90 degrees. 

Ball pythons should be fed pre-killed rodents no bigger than the snake’s largest area of circumference. They should be fed every one to two weeks depending on the age of the animal.