Making sure that our ball pythons are properly hydrated is one of the most vital concerns in taking care of such a pet—but is regular tap water okay? It could be hard to fulfill this responsibility if we don’t know what type of water is safe for our snakes.
In general, tap water is safe to use for ball pythons (e.g., drinking, soaking, etc.). However, tap water quality depends on the location and local safety guidelines. Nevertheless, the quality of tap water can be improved by 1) letting it sit for a few days, 2) boiling, 3) filtering, and 4) using a reptile water conditioner.
Is it okay to use tap water for our dear ball pythons? Is there any alternative for this? Continue reading to find out!
Using unfiltered tap water for ball pythons may not cause any problems to the reptile. Commonly, if tap water is safe for human consumption, it should also be safe for snakes. However, it’s best to contact the provider to know if it is indeed safe for drinking.
Chlorine and chloramine are used as primary disinfectants in public water systems. They are used in small amounts to kill bacteria, parasites, germs, viruses, etc., for the water from our tap to be safe for drinking .
Is it okay to hydrate our ball pythons with tap water if the water contains these chemicals? As a general rule of thumb, if your tap water is safe for you, it’s most likely safe for your snake.
Many breeders, experienced keepers, and I have been using unfiltered tap water as a drinking source for ball pythons for many years without having any problems. Ball pythons don’t really need a particular type of water.
However, the quality of tap water we have varies on our location and local water safety guidelines. If you are unsure, you may contact your local water provider about the chemicals used in your tap water.
There are several ways you can improve the quality of your tap water for your ball python to drink.
- Let the Tap Water Sit In an Open Container
You can collect tap water in an open container to let the chlorine dissipate for a few days before giving it to your ball python. Nonetheless, this method is susceptible to contamination.
To avoid water contamination, you may want to choose a container with a small opening.
- Boil the Tap Water and Let It Cool
You bring the tap water to a boil to make it safer for your ball python to drink. Doing so will kill germs, viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
However, boiling alone does not remove the small amounts of heavy metals already present in the water.
- Filter the Tap Water
Suppose you’re concerned with water safety, say contamination. This may happen after the water leaves the treatment facility or you are in a remote location where clean water is not available. You can filter the tap water first before giving it to your ball python.
Using a household water filter, such as this one from Amazon, is another excellent way to make tap water safe for your ball python. It can clear tap water from chlorine and other heavy metals present in the liquid.
But the filters are a perfect place for germs, molds, etc., to grow. Regular changing of its filters is highly recommended.
- Use a Reptile Water Conditioner
If your tap water has an unpleasant smell and awful taste, it might be best not to give this to your ball python as it may have adverse effects on your snake—you may not be drinking it in the first place, anyway.
The foul smell or strong taste that your tap water gives off may indicate that it contains high amounts of chemicals.
In this case, you may want to use a water conditioner for reptiles like this one from Amazon. It can neutralize the chemicals in tap water, such as chlorine, chloramine, etc., that cause a strong taste and smell in the water.
Only use water conditioners for your snake labeled as for reptiles.
>>Learn more about reptile water in our article on the kind of water geckos can drink.
Bottled water can be offered and is safe to drink for ball pythons. However, distilled water and carbonated water should be avoided as these can be detrimental to ball pythons if ingested.
Distilled, mineral, spring, and sparkling water are the four most common types of bottled water. Let’s discuss them one by one to find out the differences between them.
In general, mineral water is safe for ball python consumption, but constant purchase is costly. The minerals it contains may contribute to the ball python’s growth.
Bottled water can be labeled as “mineral water” if it has a consistent level and proportions of minerals and other elements upon collection from the source. This type of bottled water does not have any added minerals to it .
Mineral water could be safe for your ball python to drink. However, buying mineral water can be costly.
Giving spring water to ball pythons is generally safe. Aside from its price, another downside of giving bottled spring water to snakes continuously is not practical in the long run.
On the other hand, spring water comes from an underground source that naturally flows to the earth’s surface.
Generally, bottled spring water is safe for human consumption. That said, spring water must also be safe for your ball python to drink once given.
The issue, however, is the cost of buying bottled water consistently, not to mention the waste, too.
Giving distilled water to ball pythons should be avoided. Distilled water can absorb vital minerals from the snake’s body that can cause fatal problems.
Distilled water is the product of one of the water purification processes known as distillation. It is unique, whereas all the minerals present in the water are removed from distillation, making the water “demineralized”.
Drinking distilled water is generally safe for us. However, the effect might be different for our ball pythons.
Because water is negatively charged, the liquid pulls minerals from objects or anything it makes contact with. Tap water and other bottled water already contain minerals, so it does not have to absorb much more, but the distilled water is different.
Inside the system of your ball python, the distilled water absorbs different essential minerals such as calcium, potassium, etc., from your snake’s body. In addition, ball pythons don’t eat as regularly as we do, so filling the missing essential minerals could be complicated, and their absence may threaten your snake.
If needed, you could still use distilled water for misting to increase the humidity inside your snake’s enclosure. Without minerals, dried distilled water doesn’t produce hard-to-clean deposits, especially in glass enclosures.
Never give carbonated water to a ball python. The acidity of the sparkling water can affect the snake negatively.
Carbonated water or sparkling water contains dissolved carbon dioxide that is either artificially infused or naturally present. It has a pH of 3-4, which makes it slightly acidic. For reference, the pH of water is neutral, which is 7 [3, 4].
When we drink this bubbly water, we feel a stinging sensation. This is because carbonation causes tiny bubbles to form, giving the water a fizzy effect.
Maybe you are thinking of giving sparkling water to your ball python. But the straight answer to that is no. It can cause excessive gas, bloating, etc., to humans. So just, imagine how this acidic liquid affects your ball python’s tiny digestive system.
How much water do ball pythons drink and how do they do it?
There is no exact number of how much water a ball python drinks. The time spent drinking varies greatly among ball pythons. Some ball pythons may take seconds when drinking water, while others, especially adults, spend minutes sipping. Ball pythons use the front tip of their mouth to suck up and drink water.
How often do ball pythons drink water?
Based on personal observations, adult ball pythons drink water twice a week, on average. On the other hand, hatchling ball pythons drink water more frequently, every few days. Ball pythons appear to drink right after being given fresh water in a clean bowl. They appreciate having clean and fresh water!
How often should a ball python’s water be replaced?
Most breeders and keepers recommend changing the water in a ball python’s drinking dish every few days. Some even change the water once a week. Still, experts advise changing a ball python’s water daily.
What type of water should you give your ball python?
Clean, plain water should always be available inside a ball python’s enclosure. It is vital to frequently change the ball python’s water as dirty and stagnant water can foster the growth of germs, molds, and bacteria.
Can ball pythons survive without any drinking water?
A fit and well-fed ball python can live up to 12 days without water. But they may die after a month of dehydration. So owners that need to leave their snakes for a few days for vacations can rest assured that their pets won’t die from thirst during their absence. However, it’s advisable to leave a fresh bowl of water in their tank before leaving.
How long can snakes go without water?
Snakes survive for weeks or even months without drinking water, depending on the species and region they originate from. Snakes can stay for more extended periods without food than water.
Unfiltered tap water can be used as drinking water for ball pythons. However, the snake keeper must consider the quality of tap water available specifically in their area.
If unsure, the owner may contact his local water board to ask about the chemicals used for tap water treatment and the necessary methods to make the water safer for their snake’s consumption.
Using bottled water as a water source for ball pythons is generally okay. But avoid giving them distilled and carbonated water for drinking. Needless to say, the use of bottled water can be costly.