Can My Ball Python Swim?

You may be wondering what kinds of fun activities you can engage in with your pet ball python. Many reptiles enjoy swimming, so wondering whether or not your snake can swim is definitely a valid question!

So can my ball python swim? Ball pythons are absolutely capable of swimming, but they mainly do it in cases of emergency and not as a fun activity. While a snake splashing around in the water may appear to be having a good time, it’s much more likely that it’s in a state of panic.

Learn more about bathing your ball python and letting it swim below. You’ll also find a great list of fun activities that you can take part in with your pet! Much of the fun of having a ball python is observing it while it explores new environments. 

Can My Ball Python Swim With Me?

In nature, snakes do swim occasionally, but it’s not because they consider it a source of entertainment. If a snake is seen swimming in the wild, it’s most likely in a dangerous situation where it has no other choice but to swim.

Forcing your snake to swim is likely to cause stress and fear. Even if your snake appears to be having fun in the water, in reality it’s probably panicking. Overall, swimming is not a recommended activity for ball pythons.

Generally, bathing your snake is also not recommended. As long as your ball python has a large water bowl in their tank that they can soak in if they choose, they shouldn’t need any more water exposure.

Some ball python owners recommend a brief soak to help the shedding process along, but many others report that you should avoid this practice. If you do soak your ball python, ensure that the water isn’t too cold–it could cause quite a shock to your snake!

There are a few situations that can cause your ball python to soak in its water bowl. The first is that the humidity in its tank isn’t high enough, so your snake is soaking in the water in order to get enough moisture.

The next reason is that the temperature in their enclosure is too high, so they are using the water to cool down. Finally, your snake may have mites under its scales and it is trying to relieve its discomfort by soaking in the water. 

Fun Activities to Do With Your Ball Python

The reality is that snakes don’t enjoy activities the way that pets like dogs and cats do. Their brains are more primitive and focused on survival. However, they do like exploring and interacting with their environment, and there are several ways you can help them do so.

1. Let them hangout while you watch TV or play video games. Simply let your ball python wrap around you (similar to the way it would wrap around a tree in nature) and enjoy some quality time together.

2. Add fun accessories to your ball python’s enclosure. One good idea is a fake hollow log, which you can purchase online or at a pet store. Your snake will enjoy slithering over and through it and may even decide to use it as a hide.

3. Purchase an artificial vine that you can bend into different shapes and put it in your ball python’s tank. Ball pythons are good climbers and are likely to climb and explore the new vine formation. Snakes with interesting environments are much more likely to be healthy because they have an incentive to move around and engage in physical activity!

4. Get some synthetic plants to place around your ball python’s enclosure. Your snake will get to check out a new texture and find some new hiding places as well.

5. Introduce your snake to new smells. Although ball pythons don’t have great eyesight, they do have a heightened sense of smell that you can take advantage of. Place a scented object such as fruit, a feather from a bird, or sterilized rocks from the outdoors in a closed container with holes poked in it so that the smell can escape. This new scent will encourage your ball python to explore its environment.

6. Switch up the substrate in your snake’s tank so that it has a new texture to burrow in and explore. Paper pellets, aspen shavings, and orchid bark are some good options.

7. Create a “treasure hunt” for your ball python. Instead of directly feeding your snake, you can hide their prey while they’re tucked away in their hide. In the wild, snakes hunt for their food, and it’s a great method of mental stimulation. Before you hide your ball python’s meal, rub it on a few different surfaces in the tank so that its scent leaves a trail. Your ball python will enjoy engaging with its instincts and “hunting” for its food!

8. Allow your ball python to roam around the room and explore. Make sure to keep an eye on your pet, though–snakes are very good at hiding and fitting into small places! Below, we’ve provided a more extensive guide to “snake-proofing” a room so that your ball python can safely enjoy a new environment!

How to Snake-Proof a Room

A great alternative to a stimulating activity such as letting your ball python swim is allowing it to explore a larger environment. However, it can definitely be nerve-wracking to let your snake slither around freely when you’re not sure if anything in the environment can harm them.

Or you may be worried that they’ll find a great place to hide and you won’t be able to find them and get them back out! Here are a few tips on snake-proofing a room so that you can let your ball python freely check out its surroundings without any concerns.

Choose a Suitable Room

Many snake owners recommend avoiding kitchens, as well as any cluttered rooms with fragile objects. Generally the bathroom is a good choice, and it’s pretty easy to snake-proof as well. 

Fill All Holes

If you see any drains or holes, assume that your snake can fit through them. Use wadded up towels or rubber stoppers to plug these areas. It may sound silly, but try to put yourself in the mindset of a snake so you can spot potential dangers! Where would you slither around? What would you try to get into?

Remove Breakable Items

If there are any glass items in the room, it’s best to take them out. They could potentially break and cause injury to you or your pet.

Tape Cabinets Shut

Keep cabinets, drawers, and the toilet seat (if you chose the bathroom) shut by using tape. Electrical tape or painter’s tape should do the trick.

Unplug Everything

Even if you have all electronics turned off, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Unplug everything and put it away. 

How Long Can I Let My Ball Python Explore?

The amount of time your snake can spend checking out a new environment mostly depends on the temperature. If it’s summertime and you don’t have the air conditioning running, your ball python can enjoy playtime for as long as it wants. 

However, in the wintertime, you’ll only want to let your snake explore outside its temperature-controlled environment for two or three hours. Additionally, it’s smart to set up a heating pad in a corner of the room so that your snake can go there to warm up if needed.

Do make sure that your ball python doesn’t become stressed. It’s best not to leave your snake unattended as well. If your ball python balls up or shows other signs of fear or discomfort, simply return it to its tank and give it some time to relax and readjust.

Exploring is great for your ball python’s physical and mental health, so if snake-proofing a room  is an option for you, it is a highly recommended activity! It’s also a wonderful way to have some bonding and observation time with your pet.


Although ball pythons can swim, they don’t do so because they enjoy the activity. Because it’s more of an emergency measure, it’s not a good idea to swim with or bathe your snake. However, there are tons of other fun activities you can do with your pet! 

One of the best activities is simply allowing your ball python to slither around and explore a new environment. You can easily snake-proof a room so that they can check out their surroundings without any fear of them getting hurt or lost.

While swimming isn’t a good idea for ball pythons, exploring is a wonderful way to stimulate your pet mentally and physically!


I’m Devin Nunn, an average joe that just so happens to have a deep love and passion for everything to do with reptiles. Because taking care of them for the vast majority of my life wasn’t fulfilling enough, I decided to begin educating others about them through my articles. read more...