Do Ball Pythons Like To Climb? Things You Got Wrong About Ball Pythons

ball python on branch
ball python on branch

 If you have got a ball python as a pet, then many of you must have seen them climbing on tree branches or the walls of their vivarium a couple of times. And the thing which makes us curious is that do ball pythons like to climb or they are just exploring. While I was setting up the vivarium for my ball python the other day. I also noticed the same thing And thought to provide them with tree branches, if they really like to climb. While searching for the answer here is what I learned.

Do ball pythons like to climb? Ball pythons are semi-arboreal, it means they like to climb and spend an adequate amount of time hunting on trees. Although male and juvenile ball pythons remain tree-dwellers and climb on trees in search of prey, while female ball pythons turn terrestrial when they become adults.

This was pretty unique information because I came across many statements stating that ball Pythons are only terrestrial and they do not climb but it turns out to be a misconception.

If provided with branches and other climbing enrichments in their enclosure, ball pythons will likely climb upon them. As most of the ball pythons spend a substantial amount of time on trees. They will need some branches or leaf bars in their vivarium to imitate their climbing behavior.  

There is a study that states that Ball pythons are good climbers and they like to climb pretty often. It even states that most ball pythons are arboreal when they are young. As offspring, they will often climb trees and spend most of their time hunting on birds, squirrels, bats, and other arboreal creatures. 

Once they become adults, the female ball pythons become terrestrial and will hunt on rodents and rats and will occasionally forage on trees for food. While male ball pythons still show arboreal activity and heavily rely on arboreal prey.

The climbing exercise helps them to stretch and improve their body functions. And enables them to forage for arboreal prey. 

So should we consider ball pythons arboreal, as they have the capability to climb trees and many of them are tree-dwellers?. Keep reading to understand your ball python habitat in a better way.   

Are ball pythons arboreal?

Ball pythons are not considered arboreal, as they adopt diversified habitat during their life span. When the ball pythons are young they spend most of their time on trees. But as they become adults the male ball python shows semi-arboreal activity while the female ball pythons adopt terrestrial habitat.

When baby ball pythons are small and weigh less as compare to the adult ball python it becomes easy for them to make a strong grip and climb on the tree branches. Other than this being arboreal also protects them from potential predators.

ball python on tree
ball python on tree

But as ball pythons grow into an adult, the male ball pythons only tend to climb trees in search of prey. While the female ball pythons grow much bigger in size and gain a lot of weight it becomes difficult for them to climb trees. Hence they adapt terrestrial habitat and prey on rats and rodents. 

Ball pythons are active forage and very adaptive to a diversified environment. They will actively seek prey in their habitat and will often climb trees in search of food.

Even the female ball pythons occasionally climb trees to feed on bats and squirrels if they didn’t find any prey in their terrene.

So now the question arises that should we put branches in ball python terrarium. Do ball pythons need branches? Here is what you need to know.

Do ball pythons need branches to climb?

Ball pythons are active climber and they do need branches in their terrarium to climb. Providing sufficient branches to the ball pythons will help in stimulating similar activities that they perform in their natural habitat.

They are several misconceptions that ball pythons do not climb trees and branches. But these myths are not true to a certain extend.  Due to which many people do not provide branches to their ball pythons in captivity. 

Other than the substrate, water bowl, and hides, ball pythons also need some branches to climb. As ball pythons especially the young ones spend a lot of time on trees. One or two immovable and strong enough branches to support their weight should be placed in their terrarium so they can climb upon them.

The same thing applies to the adult male ball pythons. But if your ball python is a female then you can offer them branches in their terrarium and they can choose whether to use it or not.

As female ball pythons adapt terrestrial habitat as they become adults it depends on them if they like to use the branches to climb.

Choosing the right branches for ball pythons

ball python climbing
ball python climbing

Providing the right kind type of branches for your ball python will ensure that they do not get infected or injured while climbing.

You can find all sorts of branches in different shapes, sizes, and thickens, and material. But before choosing one make sure they fulfill the purpose of climbing.

While choosing the branches for your ball pythons to climb on go through the following points:-

  •  Make sure to get a decent size of branches that are sufficient to support the weight of your ball python.
  • Do not provide too much height to climb, to your ball pythons. Because the branches can get tripped and they can get injured.
  • Make sure you have installed a tall tank for your ball python if you are getting them branches to climb upon.
  • Do not place the branches near the heat lamp as they can get burnt by the heat source.
  • Make sure you have a sufficient locking system on your terrarium so the ball python does not get escaped from the terrarium.
  •  If you are placing an artificial branch in the vivarium than check it if doesn’t shed over time.
  • You can use the branches from outside for your ball pythons. But make sure they do not have the moist tree sap. Use only dried out branches after cleaning them properly. 

Your ball python will definitely love to climb on the branches once they are set up in the terrarium.


Ball pythons do indeed like to climb. As they are semi-arboreal in nature they climb pretty often on trees in search of food. Although they adopt different habitat once they get adults. But this doesn’t make them less of a climber. The theories revolving around ball pythons that they are completely terrestrial and are not able to climb trees is a complete misconception. 

Related Question

Do ball pythons like to swim?

Ball pythons are mostly semi-arboreal, but they are known to swim from time to time. Although it differs for every individual ball python if they like to be in the water. But they can swim very well if needed.  

Can Ball pythons climb stairs?

Ball pythons can easily climb stairs. As ball pythons are semi-arboreal in nature and tend to climb trees, branches, rocks, and other vertical objects in the wild they have developed climbing capabilities and could easily climb up the stairs.