Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python (What is better?)
If you are in two minds about a Bearded Dragon or Ball python, you may not know what to pick. Therefore, in this article, I will explain the best choice and advantages and disadvantages of each one.
Bearded Dragon is the best for pet owners that want a more active pet, with regular movement, and hate the idea of handling feeder mice. Ball Pythons are ideal for owners that want a pet with low maintenance and do not mind feeder mice.
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Now that you know my opinion on which one is best when comparing a Ball Python and Bearded Dragon. Keep reading to learn exactly what a Ball Python is, the advantages and disadvantages of each of them, and much more.
What is Ball Python?
To get started, in this section, I will explain what a Ball Python is. This will help to set the background of this snake before we look at the advantages and disadvantages of owning one.
The Ball Python (Python regius) is also known as the Royal Python. It is known to be a native of the west and central Africa. As you can imagine, it enjoys a hot climate. It is well populated, so not regarded as endangered. However, it is often hunted for its meat and for the pet trade, due to its popularity.
It is usually black or dark brown with some patches of brown. If you flip it over on its underside (belly). You will observe a contracted white color. Or, arguably more of a creamy color.
What food does a Ball Python eat?
Now that you know some background about the Ball Python you may be wondering what kind of food it eats, in case you need to prepare. For that reason, in this section, I will explain what this is.
Small or Younger Ball Pythons
There is a slight difference in eating habits depending on their size or age. This is mainly logical, based on their size. You would expect a smaller or younger Ball Python to eat some or all of the following:
These pinkies are mice in general. This term encapsulates a wide variety of species. They are called pinkies because they are very young mice.
They are so young (typically less than 5 days old) that they do not have any fur and have not opened their eyes yet. Their skin is pink at this stage, hence the term pinkies, get it? They are an ideal meal for a younger Ball python because of their size.
Fuzzies are a bit older than pinkies, typically between. And, they are therefore bigger in size. But, far from full size. They are called fuzzies because they have some hair at this stage but is not fully formed. And, at a glance it looks fuzzy, are you with me?
Adult Ball Pythons
Adults are obviously bigger and demand a larger meal to keep them satisfied. So, you will usually feed them the following:
- Adult mice
These are usually fed live but some owners purchase them frozen. The mice are usually known as feeder mice (Click here to learn how long they live and tricks to maximize this).
What are the advantages of a Bearded Dragon?
In this section, I will outline some of the advantages of keeping a bearded Dragon. This will help you compare them with a Ball Python.
Friendly family pet
One of the attractions is their temperament. They are quite laid back and easy to integrate into a family environment. For example, once he gets familiar with you, you can expect him to move toward you once you get close to his enclosure, almost like he is inviting you, are you with me?
Another cute observation is their arm-waving. They do this by raising their front leg and is quite comical once you see this. It is believed to be a sign of submission.
OK with being handled
One thing you will learn about these Bearded Dragons is how easy it is to handle them. Obviously, when they are new, you need to take some caution. But, they soon get used to you.
You may find with younger ones, they can get a bit anxious if the handling is too long. So, you may need to start off with small durations and gradually increase this as they get familiar with you.
These Bearded Dragons are lightweight when compared to other reptiles. You can expect them to be about 500g. This is quite a good weight to handle, carry them, or just general playing.
Disadvantages of a Bearded Dragon
Like all good things, there are always some negatives. However, I do not feel that there is many with Beardies. But, regardless, in this section, I will explain some of the disadvantages.
These reptiles need to feel at home in captivity. And, earlier I explained their native habitat is in Africa, remember? To achieve this you need good lighting and heating to emulate this.
This includes UVA and UVB lighting. This helps with their calcium levels and marinating the correct temperatures. So, be prepared to get this setup.
Apart from the lighting discussed above, there are other setup costs like the enclosure itself. To give you a rough idea, you could be looking at least $250 USD to get started with their setup, probably more.
Then there is ongoing costs such as their food and energy consumption with the lighting, heating, etc.
What are the advantages of a Ball Python?
In this section, I will focus on the advantages of a Ball Python as a pet. This will help you evaluate its viability as a pet for your home.
The size of a Ball Python is an advantage, in my opinion, because compared to other snakes it is not too big. You can expect up to about 50 inches in length. This may sound long but in comparison it’s manageable.
Simple to handle
Similar to Bearded Dragons, the Ball Python is simple to handle. This is partly because of its size, but also because of its temperament. It is quite relaxed and docile. Also, you should find the more you hold him, the more relaxed he will become as he gets used to you.
Only eats once per day
Unlike other pets, like cats and dogs, this snake only eats once per day. This makes it easier to manage their diet around your day.
Simple to maintain
These snakes do not eliminate too often at all. You can expect them to defecate approx once per week. This is probably because of the fact that they do not eat as regularly as other pets.
This obviously makes the maintenance quite straightforward. Yes, they still need some work, but in comparison to others, not so much.
What are the disadvantages of a Ball Python?
Yes, this snake is good, but it does have some disadvantages. For that reason, in this section, I will explain what some of these issues are.
They love to escape
If you give these snakes half a chance, they will wriggle off. So, it is essential to have a secured top to save you some real headaches. I get it, if I was them, I would do the same, right?
Their preferred food freaks some people out
As I discussed earlier, their main food source in captivity is mice and rats. For some people, they hate these rodents. Some people even have phobias about them. So, for some people, this is enough to never consider them as a pet.
Q: Does the temperature in the Bearded Dragon enclosure affect them?
The temperate in a Bearded Dragons enclosure affects them because they are cold-blooded. This means that they need to be in the right location, with the optimal temperature to regulate their body temperature.
However, just because they are cold blood, this does not mean that their blood is a weird color (Click here to see what color it is.).
Q: Do Bearded Dragons eat sweet food?
Bearded Dragons do eat sweet food. But this is usually natural sugars from fruits, not from artificial sugars added to food, such as cakes. They do not get access to these foods in the wild, so they are not expected to eat them in captivity.
An example of foods with added sugar is cereal, peanut butter (Click here to see if your Bearded Dragon should eat this), etc.