Tank Vs. Rack — What’s the Best Ball Python Enclosure?

There are many styles of reptile enclosures, but only a couple that are common for ball pythons. First, and foremost we what our animals to be happy and healthy, and to them, the most important factors are places to hide, gradient temperatures, and humidity , but we each go about meeting their needs differently depending on budget, space, resources, and personal taste.

Let’s look at the most common enclosures for ball pythons.

The glass Tank

The glass tank is very common for owners with just a few snakes or less. They are inexpensive, easy to come by. You could look on Craigslist or FB Marketplace right now, and probably find one 40 gallons or smaller practically being given away. Or if you wait, one of the bigger pet chain stores often has a $1 per gallon sale on bare glass tanks.

Pros of the glass tank

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to get (you could get one today)
  • Attractive & can decorate


  • Easy for animal to escape
  • Difficult to regulate heat and humidity
  • Risk of breakage
  • Heavy
  • Lid on top can make access difficult
  • Often utilizes space poorly

The biggest difficulty with glass tanks, is regulating heat and humidity. Your heat source should come from below, and be sufficient in size that it doesn’t have to get too hot at once in order to heat the surface and air of the tank, and risk burning the animal.

Our article on Common Mistakes of Ball Python Owners has gotten a lot of comments from individuals, almost all of them are having heat and/or humidity issues, so this is why we do not recommend a tank, even for a someone with only one ball python.

The Snake Rack or Tub(s)

Snake racks of all sizes are used by breeders, not only do they better utilize the space, but also because it’s so much easier to regulate heat and humidity.

Common materials

Racks might be made of metal, plastics, or often wood products like melamine or MDO. The better made and better materials used, will make a big difference in how long it will last.

Pros of the snake rack

  • Retains heat and humidity well
  • Can be very secure
  • Durable
  • Good use of space
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight
  • Opaque or semi-opaque tubs help your snakes feel more secure
  • Can be made by a D.I.Y.er


  • Availability
  • Unattractive
  • Obscures visibility

Chances are you cannot just go down to a store and pick one up. Often even the big rack makers build to order, and your order can take weeks or more.

Building racks

If you have a few tools, and a bit of that D.I.Y. spirit, you can build a rack, or maybe another reptile enthusiast near you can build one for you.

Rack manufacturers

Instead of building your own, or finding one used, there are several manufacturers of racks. Some have set configurations, and others can tweak those configurations based on your needs. We make no money listing a few of these vendors/manufacturers. Each of these seem to have quality products.

Freedom Breeder

Often considered the Cadillac of ball python racks (other snakes too.) Racks big and small. While not on their regular menu, you can order racks with just one or two levels, if you need them.

My last order from Freedom Breeder took about three weeks from order to delivery. I’m very happy with this rack, it will be functional long after I’m gone.

Vision Products, Inc.

Also stackable, and can be ordered by need.

TGR Rack Systems (offline our last check)

Some really nice looking racks from PVC. They even have racks designed for a single animal!

Animal Plastics

Many others

We recommend you shop around for prices and configurations that fit your needs.

Tank Vs. Rack — What’s the Best Ball Python Enclosure? was last modified: June 9th, 2021 by Tom
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One Response to Tank Vs. Rack — What’s the Best Ball Python Enclosure?

  1. Kelly audette says:

    Look for a 3 tub high maybe 30 gallon pvc m by. Given that I have one ball python and want two more.

    Preferably with builder in Bowles rbenkeNn

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