Corn Snake VS Ball Python (Which One to Choose?)

Corn snakes and ball pythons are great pets to keep in your house. Many new pet owners get confused about which snake makes a better pet. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on corn snake vs ball python and what makes them different.

Both corn snakes and ball pythons make excellent pets for new reptile owners. Choosing between the two depends on several factors, such as size, health, environment, enclosure requirements, appearance, cost, and diet.

ComparisonCorn SnakeBall Python
Scientific NamePantherophis guttatusPython regius
Adult SizeCan grow upto 3-5 feetCan grow upto 5-6 feet
LifespanCan live up to 15-20 years in captivityCan live up to 20-30 years in captivity
TemperamentGenerally, docile and friendly creatures may be a bit nervous as babiesGenerally, docile and friendly creatures may be a bit shy as babies
Activity LevelSemi-arboreal and activeTerrestrial and relatively inactive
Feeding HabitsCan eat small rodents, birds, and eggsCan eat small rodents, birds, and eggs
HabitatNorth AmericaWest and Central Africa
AppearanceWide variety of colors and patternsWide variety of colors and patterns
Ease of CareEasy to care for, may need extra humidity during sheddingEasy to care for, may need extra humidity during shedding
CostPriced around $50-$200Priced around $100-$600

The Most Crucial Difference Between Corn Snakes & Ball Python

corn snake vs ball python

Corn snakes and ball pythons are among the most popular snakes in the house. While they might look similar, they have unique characteristics and care requirements. Corn snakes and ball pythons’ most crucial differences are their size, habitat, and appearance.

The size of the two species might easily set them apart. Corn snakes are generally smaller than ball pythons and can grow up to 4-5 feet. At the same time, a ball python can grow up to six feet in length. Their size difference can affect their housing needs, as a giant snake would require a bigger enclosure and more food to survive.

Another crucial difference between a corn snake and a ball python is their natural habitat. Corn snakes naturally belong to the native american region and dwell in grasslands, farms, and forests. Ball pythons, on the other hand, belong to West and Central Africa and inhabit savannas and grasslands. Due to different natural habitats, they require different temperature and humidity levels in their enclosure.

In terms of their general behavior, corn snakes are known to be more active and curious than ball pythons. They will climb trees and slither, while ball pythons prefer to stay on the ground. Ball pythons are known for their calm and docile nature and are easy to care for.

Corn Snake VS Ball Python

people with ball pythons in their hands

Both snake species serve as great house pets. You should be aware of their vast differences before housing them as pets. Here are twelve differences between a corn snake and a ball python.


Lifespan is one of the significant differences between a corn snake and a ball python. It is essential to consider the lifespan of a reptile before keeping them as pets. Corn snakes are known to live around 10-15 years in captivity. However, the lifespan of a corn snake also depends on several factors, such as enclosure environment, genetics, and diet. Providing your corn snake with a well-balanced diet and a comfortable living environment can maximize its life span.

On the other hand, ball pythons can live up to 20-30 years in captivity and milk snakes can also live up to 20 years. A ball python is the perfect fit if you are looking for a long-term pet. However, ball pythons require additional enclosure requirements and specialized care than corn snakes.

Editor’s Note
Some Corn snakes have also been reported to live up to 20-25 years in captivity.


Ball pythons are known to grow larger than corn snakes, with female snakes larger than males. A ball python can grow up to 5-6 feet in captivity, while an adult corn snake can only grow up to 3-5 feet. Although, the size of the snake depends on factors such as genetics and feeding habits.

As Ball pythons are more enormous, they require a larger enclosure than corn snakes. A large-sized tank will acquire more home space and cost more to pet owners. Hosting a giant snake will also require you to feed it accordingly, impacting the feeding cost.

Physical Appearance

Corn snakes have bright colors and patterns depending on their subspecies and native habitat. They generally have a mixed pattern of red, yellow, and black stripes throughout their body. Some subspecies, such as the Miami phase, are known to have more muted colors with a pinkish-brown pattern.

Ball pythons have a subdued appearance, with dark brown or black markings all over their body. They also have a lighter background color, such as tan or yellow. Some ball pythons also have unique patterns on their body, but they will be more costly than your average ball python.


Temperament is another factor that sets corn snakes and ball pythons apart. Corn snakes are known for their playful and curious nature. They will explore the enclosure and climb the surroundings. Corn snakes are also more prone to biting or musking at their pet owners when they are under stress.

However, this is generally in the case of improper handling and care. Respect your pet’s boundaries and gain their trust to keep them happy and comfortable.

Ball pythons are easier to care for and are docile creatures. They are less active than corn snakes and less likely to bite or musk. Thus, making them a good choice for new reptile owners. However, ball pythons require additional care in an enclosure environment and can get stressed if their habitat is not set up correctly.


Corn snakes are carnivorous and feed on small mice and rats. They also require more frequent feedings as they have a faster metabolism and are more active. Ball pythons are also carnivorous and feed on bigger prey, such as rats. This is due to their bigger size and large appetite. 

Ball pythons also require fewer feedings than corn snakes, as they have a slower metabolism. Although, ball pythons are finicky eats and might refuse to eat food for extended periods. This can impact the health of your snake and can cause various health problems.


Corn snakes are easier to house and require significantly fewer enclosure requirements. They can be placed in a glass or plastic terrarium with adequate space. Corn snakes also require a temperature gradient inside the enclosure, with one being on the warm side and the other being much cooler. Thus, allowing them to do proper thermoregulation.

Ball pythons require a more specific enclosure environment than corn snakes. They need a larger tank as they are more extensive. You must also maintain a specific temperature inside the enclosure with the proper humidity levels. It can be a tedious job to maintain the right temperature and humidity levels all the time inside the tank. You should also clean the tank and have a substrate selection to provide a comfortable environment.


The price of any snake depends on various factors, such as its age, size, and appearance. An average corn snake is priced around $50-$100, relatively cheaper than a ball python. Ball pythons are more expensive and cost around $100-$500. The prices can go even higher depending on the morph and rarity of the snake.

Editor’s Note
The cost of a snake also depends on the subspecies you are buying. You should also consider the housing, cost of feeding, and veterinary care before making the final decision.

Health Issues

Like any other pets, corn snakes and ball pythons can get unwell. At the same time, some health issues are more common in some subspecies than others. Ball pythons are known to have respiratory infections, while parasitic and skin infections are common traits in corn snakes.

You must provide your pets with a suitable environment and a well-balanced diet to avoid such health issues.  It is also essential to monitor your pet and notice their eating habits to help them as soon as possible.


Shedding is another factor that sets corn snakes and ball pythons apart. Corn snakes shed their skin more often than ball pythons. They have a natural shedding cycle after every 4-6 weeks. Ball pythons take a longer time to shed their skin and have a shedding cycle after every 4-6 months.

Breeding Habits

Both corn snakes and ball pythons have a natural breeding cycle. Many pet owners breed their snakes for pet trades. Although, it might be harder to breed a ball python due to its specific temperature and humidity requirements during breeding. Corn snakes are much easier to breed and do not have additional enclosure requirements.


Corn snakes are popular amongst reptile owners and are readily available at pet stores and breeders. They also come in a wide range of subspecies and morphs. Ball pythons are also quite popular but require additional care and requirement. Thus, making them less accessible to some pet owners. Specific subspecies and morphs are rare and cost you a lot of money.


You should consider compatibility if you house ball pythons and corn snakes together. Both the snake subspecies are solidarity creatures and should never be housed together. You should also keep the enclosure tank safe and away from other pets, as cats and other animals can look at them as prey and risk the snake’s safety.

Which of the Two Is a Beginner-Friendly Snake?

pets corn snake and ball python

Both corn snakes and ball pythons are popular choices for reptile owners. If you are new to housing a reptile, choose a beginner-friendly snake to avoid the hassle. Corn snakes are considered to be an ideal choice for new reptile owners. They require significantly less care, are docile creatures, and do not require additional enclosure requirements. Corn snakes are also more forgiving when it comes to poor farming.

Ball pythons have more specific care and enclosure requirements. They also require a larger tank with specific temperature and humidity levels. Ball pythons are also known to be picky eaters and will stop eating for extended periods. They are also more prone to health issues if their enclosure is not cleaned occasionally. Thus, not making them an excellent choice for a new reptile owner.


Who is the most straightforward snake to care for?

Corn snakes are considered to be the easiest snakes to care for. This is due to their minimum care requirements and docile nature. Unlike other snakes, you do not need a vast tank or additional enclosure requirements to keep them as pets.

Can a corn snake and a ball python live together?

No, corn snakes and ball pythons should be housed together. Snakes are solitary animals and prefer to live alone throughout their life. They will get aggressive and try to hurt each other. Additionally, they have very different care requirements.

Final Thoughts

Both corn snakes and ball pythons make great house pets. If you are a beginner at housing a reptile, you should consider keeping a corn snake. Corn snakes are docile creatures and require significantly less care. At the same time, ball pythons require a large tank with specific temperature and humidity levels to live comfortably. They both have their unique attributes and serve as great pets.

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