Bearded Dragon or Ball Python: Which One is Right For You?

ball python alongside bearded dragon as owners wonder whether to choose Bearded Dragon or Ball Python

Bearded dragons and ball pythons are two of the most popular reptiles raised as pets. Falling in love with both after spending time in a pet store is common resulting in a huge dilemma when you are forced to settle on one due to limited resources.

This article discusses the topic “Bearded Dragon or Ball Python” by revealing the differences between both reptiles in terms of their care and maintenance. We also uncover individual attributes that could help prospective owners choose which one works best for their circumstances.

Bearded Dragon or Ball Python?

Bearded dragons have more personality and can bond with new owners quickly but are relatively high maintenance. Ball pythons require little attention including a weekly supply of feeder mice. They are more boring and suitable for ultra-busy owners with limited pet care devotion time.

Each pet has characteristics and needs that make them more suitable for a different set of owners depending on lifestyle differences. While bearded dragons may be a solid option for some, others could find ball pythons more suitable.

The best way forward is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of both reptiles to determine which one is more fitting for your lifestyle.

What is A Ball Python?

The ball python is a popular snake species originating from Central and West African grasslands, shrubs, and forests. It is one of the friendliest python varieties available thanks to its small size and nonvenomous nature. It curls into a ball when scared, hence the name.

The ball python is a stocky species with a small head and smooth scales like bue-tongued skinks that grows to a maximum of 72 inches. The tendency to curl up instead of biting explains why these reptiles are loved by the majority of folks. No wonder ball pythons are the number one pet snake in the world right now. (Source)

What is A Bearded Dragon?

bearded dragon in an illuminated environment

The bearded dragon is a lizard species native to Australia. It features spiny scales across the body like a dragon and an array of spikes under the chin known as the “beard” that stands up when it feels threatened.

Bearded dragons are a great pet option thanks to their friendly nature and ability to bond with owners within the shortest periods. They are also relatively easy to care for and can be exciting to watch after a long day at work.

Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: Food

Feeding bearded dragons come with little sophistication because of their penchant for consuming insects and plants. Many folks have no problems feeding insects to their domesticated beardies alongside supplements like green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, kale, and potatoes.

However, ball pythons rely on feeder mice as their main source of nutrition. But many folks find the act of feeding rodents to pet snakes stomach-churning and would rather choose alternatives that do not appear so brutal.

Unfortunately, there are no real healthy python food substitutes hence the need to look for alternative pets that require much simpler nutrition such as bearded dragons.

Additionally, beardies require multiple feeding especially before reaching adulthood when they typically eat up to 5 times daily. Adults are OK with a single daily meal but the owner’s presence is required to make that possible.

Hence the notion of leaving captive bearded dragons alone for a couple of days to travel often remains a pipe dream for those that live alone. Ball pythons have a much simpler feeding routine because they only eat once every 1 to 2 weeks. This offers more freedom to owners that are always on the road.

Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: Housing

Bearded dragons enjoy living in cozy tanks that are lined up with substrates to provide more comfort. Additionally, beardies are cold-blooded reptiles that thrive in environments with adequate lighting and heat to maintain healthy internal temperature levels just like skinks and chameleons.

They require UVA and UVB lighting to enhance the lizard’s temperature which also increases calcium quantities in the bloodstream to guarantee strong bones, and teeth. Failure to provide the right lighting and temperatures can result in illness and other detrimental effects.

Ball pythons are nocturnal creatures that enjoy the ambient natural lights with no need for specialized tank lighting. Even when lighting is necessary, a full-fluorescent option over the enclosure often works well.

Ball pythons do not require UV radiation although creating a thermal gradient in their habitats should work well. Thermal gradients are set up by placing all heating sources at one end of the tank to ensure the other side remains cooler.

This enables ball pythons to bask in the heat during certain periods while retaining the option of moving back into the relatively cool area when necessary.

Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: Handling

woman handles black and yellow ball python

Bearded dragons are easy to handle thanks to their average weight of approximately 500g even in adulthood. Playing, carrying, and snuggling these lizards is relatively easier, unlike much bigger reptiles. The only downside is an increased risk of scratches from their overgrown nails.

Ball pythons are more difficult to handle because many folks have a fear of snakes regardless of whether they are venomless or not. Ball python weights range from 3 to 5 pounds which can pose handling difficulties, especially for kids and novices.

Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: Price

Standard bearded dragons are priced at approximately $40 at the local pet store although exotic morphs could cost several hundred dollars more. The average initial setup costs range from $200 to $300 with monthly running costs of $50 to $100.

The standard ball python sells for around $25 to $50 although some rarer morphs could be priced as much as $200. Setting up a ball python enclosure often adds up to $250 to $300 in addition to regular running expenses like food, medication, and veterinary care.

Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: Child Friendliness

Bearded dragons are child-friendly because most kids bond with them easily. The risks of suffering physical harm may be minimal as long as the kid is taught proper handling of the reptiles. Most kids also find bearded dragons more intriguing with the only risk being the transmission of bacteria and disease-causing organisms like salmonella.

Ball pythons are docile and love being held which makes them child-friendly. The only caveat is to avoid excessive physical contact after learning proper handling techniques. Their tendency to curl around the arms or other parts of the body can be scary at first but many folks get used to it over time.

Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: Exercise

bearded dragon walking in the grass

Bearded dragons require handling for at least an hour daily to boost calorie-burning. Consistent playtime also reduces stress and promotes good moods which improve their overall well-being.

Bearded dragons should ideally be allowed to roam in controlled environments like empty spare rooms with no cracks and crevices for escapes. Choose hardwood or concrete-floored rooms instead of carpeted floors because the component strands may eventually cut off circulation to the beardie’s toes or limbs.

Ball pythons require just enough space to stretch their bodies with no extra need for physical exercises. Also, they require handling no more than once every 1-2 days. These harmless snakes should be left alone after feeding for 3-4 days to enable digestion.

Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: Dangers

Bearded dragons may bite owners when mishandled especially when the grip is extremely tight. Waking a sleeping beardie could also get the owner’s hands bitten as a defensive mechanism. Besides, handling beardies with overgrown nails increases the risks of painful scratches that can lead to profuse bleeding.

Ball pythons may be non-venomous but that does not mean they cannot bite. Touching their heads could increase the risk of bites as are handling attempts immediately after feeding. These snakes need solitude for the next 3-4 days after eating because they can be edgy throughout the digestion process.

Once the consumed rodent is digested, physical handling is welcomed again. Ball pythons should be handled cautiously to minimize the risk of bites and other related dangers.

Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: Lifespan

The average lifespan of bearded dragons is 10 to 15 years making them one of the most popular domesticated lizards around the world. Proper care and maintenance are the keys to achieving a long lifespan but always know that they are a long-term commitment before bringing one home.

Ball pythons are an even longer commitment thanks to their average life expectancy of 25 years. There have been a few instances of living for close to 50 years thanks to proper care. In the wild, these docile snakes typically live for 10-15 years on average due to the myriad of predators on the ground.

Wild ball pythons also succumb to illness easily because of the absence of proper veterinary care unlike their cousins in domesticated settings.

Conclusion: Bearded Dragon or Ball Python

Bearded dragons and ball pythons are two of the most popular reptiles domesticated around the world. They are both friendly and easily handled by owners although beardies require more physical contact to bond with unlike the snakes.

Bearded dragons enjoy a mix of simple foods like insects, fruits, and vegetables. On the other hand, ball pythons require live or frozen mice and rats, two stomach-churning options many folks struggle to offer to their pets.

Both beardies and ball pythons are long-term commitments because they can live for several decades as long as the necessary care is provided. Their life expectancies are usually 5 to 10 years longer when raised in loving domesticated environments compared to the wild.

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