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Are Ball Pythons Nocturnal? Interesting Things You Should Know

Are Ball Pythons Nocturnal

Are Ball Pythons Nocturnal?

Many people consider ball pythons to be nocturnal animals. This is because they tend to be more active at night and sleep during the day. While ball pythons do not prefer light, they aren’t 100% nocturnal either. These snakes are more active at night than during the day but sleep during the day.

Some ball pythons, however, are more active during the day than at night and vice versa.

This article discusses reasons why Ball Pythons prefer to be active at night.


Ball pythons, like many other snakes, have developed slightly different sleeping habits and time of day preferences from the ancestor of all modern snakes. Snakes have a very demanding life.

They live in dens, which are relatively warm places to sleep. Their skin allows them to keep cool and thermoregulate themselves.

This means they need to sleep at night when it is fantastic to wake up at the right temperature during the day to hunt or feed.


Like all snakes, ball pythons are ectothermic, meaning that most body temperature is maintained internally.

This is why they tend to be more active at night than during the day. Unlike many other reptiles, ball pythons do not bask during the day.

They may sit motionless for hours if necessary. Ball pythons enjoy sleeping in warmer places where their body heat does not get lost as fast.

They still have thermoregulation, which means they can control their body warmth by moving to more comfortable places.

Infrared Heat Sensing

Ball pythons possess a very high sensitivity to infrared heat sensing. Ball pythons can see with this form of vision, which allows them to find prey at night, or other animals at close range.

Ball pythons are proven to hunt faster after dark when they can sense infrared heat signatures of their prey.

Hunting Methods

Ball pythons hunt by taking their prey by surprise. They will sit motionlessly and wait for their prey to come by; then, with incredible reflexes and speed, drag it into a hole.

Ball pythons are ambush predators. They prefer to hunt at night when it is more difficult for prey to spot them.

Daily Activity

The daily activity of ball pythons is dictated by temperature. They prefer to be active and warm when it’s cool, so when the temperature rises, their activity slows down to allow them to maintain their body temperatures.


Ball pythons are ambush hunters. This is a predator-prey adaptation to ensure survival. They prefer to hunt at night when it is more difficult for prey to see them.


Ball pythons and other snakes have learned to sleep during the day, which helps them stay out of sight and protects them from predators such as big cats and birds of prey.

Do Ball Pythons Sleep

Ball pythons sleep during the day, but not all of the time. They will often sit still for a long time but then move occasionally. While they do not experience rapid eye movement while they sleep, they tend to move their tongues now and again, which is a sign of sleeping snakes.

Mass Size

The Ball python size demands a higher metabolism, which means they need sleep to rest. The bigger the animal, the more energy it needs to get its muscles moving. More giant animals have more organs, so more power is required for them to function correctly.

The ball python is one of the most popular pets in the United States and is a favorite among reptile enthusiasts.

However, with so many people owning ball pythons, there is a lot of confusion about their natural behavior.

Are they nocturnal or diurnal? This question plagues those who want to enjoy these beautiful snakes as pets but need to know more about their habits.

Can All Ball Pythons See in the Dark?

No, all ball pythons cannot see in the dark. However, they are susceptible to infrared heat sensing, especially the big-eye or equatorial ball python. This factor enables them to see better in the dark and hunt their prey at night with great success.

The determining factor in this ability is the pupil’s location in the eye. In other words, if you look at a ball python with its eyes in a dark place, you can see that it has enormous pupils that are dilated.

If you look straight into its eyes, they will be normal-sized pupils that are not dilated. This factor alone makes them excellent nocturnal hunters.

As a pet enthusiast, you should always check with your local vet first, as every animal tolerates various medications, and some medicines are poisonous to animals.

Ball pythons tend to be very active at night. Most live in an area of low light that is not conducive to sunshine or bright light sources such as t.v. and computer monitors because they do not naturally need it.

Do All Ball Pythons Hunt?

All ball pythons are not busy hunters at night. It has been proven that only a select few of them hunt at night and primarily hunt at night.

The confusion about their hunting habits comes from their high sensitivity to infrared heat sensing, which allows them to hunt their prey at night.

The large-eye or equatorial ball python is a particular type of ball python that tends to stay active at night. It is the only species with this ability, although it is not yet known why this particular type of ball python has this ability.

Do All Ball Pythons Sleep?

A common misconception is that all ball pythons sleep. This is not true. One example that may provide some insight into their behavior is that when a person sees a ball python as they walk by, the serpent may be seen crouched, leading them to believe that it is sleeping. However, this is not true for all of them; most will be active at night.

All ball pythons are nocturnal but can also be diurnal (active during the day). They do not need a lot of light to survive, so they stay active during the day if necessary.

Many will take a break from their activity when it is cooler outside or if there are too many glaring lights around.