If you are considering buying a brand new reptile pet, and debating between a Ball Python and a Bearded Dragon, it is important to get your hands on full comparison between the two so that you can make and educated and responsible decision.
Luckily, this is what this article is all about. After hours of facts-based research, I’ve created what I believe to be the ULTIMATE Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python Resource. In today’s guide, we will be looking at what makes each of these reptiles unique and desirable, as well as their PROS and CONS to ensure you make an informed decision.
Main Topics Discussed On Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python:
- Difference In Cost
- Difference In Size
- Difference In Life Expectancy
- Difference In Diet
- Difference In Behavior
- Difference In Cage Setup
- Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: What Are The PROS For Each?
- Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: What Are The CONS For Each?
Difference In Cost
Generally, where you choose to buy your reptile pet from will always impact the amount of money you are going to spend. I always recommend people to buy their reptile pets from reputable breeders, and try to stay away from popular, common, large pet stores.
Additionally, chances are that if you are buying your Bearded Dragon or Ball Python from reputable breeders, you will end up owning a healthier, stress-free reptile than you would if you were to buy it from a pet store.
In conclusion, for Bearded Dragons you can expect to pay anyway between $30 to $150. Baby Bearded Dragons being less expensive. I would recommend buying a Baby Bearded Dragon as this will give you more time to create a bond with your lizard, while having an impact on its personality early on.
Ball Pythons, will, of course, vary in price depending on their breed with basic Ball Python Morphs being the cheapest at around $40 to $80. More rare Ball Python Morphs can get pretty pricey with GHI Mojave Ball Python costing as much as $550.
Something to remember about both species is that depending on what exact morph they are, the price can of course vary significantly.
The yearly cost of owning a Bearded Dragon can range anywhere between $200 to $350 per year. Sometimes even more. The price of the Bearded Dragon itself is not included in this estimate. The REAL expense is the tank and accessories needed to properly and safely house a Bearded Dragon.
Additional costs may come into play such as vet visits or other unexpected situations. However, once you purchased the right tank size for your Bearded Dragon, plus the necessary accessories to house him/her properly such as a Heat Lamp, UVB Bulbs, etc, the annual cost of owning a Bearded Dragon will significantly drop.
I am not going to include the price of the Ball Python itself here since it can vary GREATLY. Assuming you have decided what Ball Python Morph to buy, I will go away and talk about the cost of owning and caring for a Ball Python. Frankly, I will only focus on the cost of housing and feeding a Ball Python.
That being said, expect to pay anywhere between $50 to $200 for a Glass Tank that is at least 60 to 75 gallons [Ideally 120]. Of course, the glass tank needs to be equipped with Lids and Clips, so you are looking at some additional $30.
You will also have to pay around $150 to $250 a year for substrate. Substrate, of course, needs to be changed once a month [at least] so basically, you’re looking at about $15 to $25 a month depending on the type of substrate you are going for.
Lastly, you will also need a Heat Pad and a Thermostat that shouldn’t cost you more than $40. But Ball Pythons are going to need two hide spots inside their tank as well, so that ads some extra money to the process of properly housing them.
In conclusion, owning and caring for Ball Pythons as pets can cost you anywhere between $150 to $400 for the initial setup. The price can go way up if you choose to invest in expensive accessories.
Key Takeaway: The cost of owning and caring for a Bearded Dragon is pretty much the same of that of caring and owning for a Ball Python.
Difference In Size
When it comes to how big these two species of reptiles get, the difference is quite big with Bearded Dragons growing anywhere between 18 to 26 inches, whereas Ball Pythons can get anywhere between 3 to 5 feet long. Keep in mind that Female Ball Pythons are a big smaller and can grow anywhere between 2 to 3 feet long.
Although the difference in size is considerable, both reptiles make great pets for beginners. Bearded Dragons and Ball Pythons are fun, docile, and pleasant reptiles to own for both beginners and seasoned owners.
Related: How BIG Do Bearded Dragons Get?
Difference In Life Expectancy
Ball Pythons live quite LONG lives, making them a HUGE responsibility. In fact, the Ball Python holds the record for the longest-live snake at 47 years. However, the average life expectancy of a Ball Python is anywhere between 20 to 30 years, with Female Ball Pythons living shorter lives than males.
Bearded Dragon, on the other hand, live SHORTER lives than Ball Pythons. Specifically, Captive Bearded Dragons can live anywhere between 8 to 14 years. If the age is a HUGE factor in your decision-making process, then now you know which one of them live longer lives.
The life span of both Bearded Dragons and Ball Pythons is directly impacted by how well-cared they are, so it is important to do your research and find out how to properly care for your reptile to ensure they live long, happy lives.
Related: How LONG Do Bearded Dragons Live?
Difference In Diet
Bearded Dragons are omnivorous creatures. They can eat both animal and plant protein. Specifically, Bearded Dragons can eat a variety of worms such as kingworms, earthworms, waxworms, as well as other animals such as crickets, bugs or insects.
It is important to remember that Baby Bearded Dragons need more animal protein since they are still growing, whereas Adult Bearded Dragons need more plant protein. Specifically, a Baby Dragon’s diet should consist of 80% animals protein and %20 plant protein, whereas an Adult Dragon needs exactly the opposite.
Ball Pythons, however, are carnivorous reptiles. If keeping live animals in your home is a MAJOR concern, then maybe a Ball Python is not the best pet for you.
However, a BIG PLUS when it comes to a Python’s dietary needs is that they need to be fed way more rare than Bearded Dragons. Adult Bearded Dragons need to be fed twice to three times a week, whereas Adult Ball Pythons will eat once every 10 to 14 days.
Difference In Behavior
Generally, both reptiles are docile and easy to handle. Bearded Dragons are known to be extremely docile once they get used to you and the surroundings, this being the #1 reason these lovely reptiles have gained so much popularity among reptile lovers in the last couple of years.
Ball Pythons are as well easy to handle and docile pets. However, failing to know the basics of handling a Ball Python may result in your Pet Snake biting you.
No need to worry as this is usually not happening unless your snake feels threatened or scared. The bite of a Ball Python is harmless. All you have to do in the case of such an unfortunate event is to wash and disinfect the wound. You will also have to inspect the wound and ensure no teeth were left in your skin.
Difference In Cage Setup
Frankly, while there are slightly differences between the cage setup of a Bearded Dragon and that of a Ball Python, that shouldn’t have a big impact on your decision.
They have quite commons requirements. Both reptiles thrive in a 75 to 120 gallons glass tank. Both of them need proper lighting for about 12 hours a day, as well as a hot spot and cooler spot.
There is not much to talk about here since both the Bearded Dragon and the Ball Python have quite similar requirements when it comes to their cage setup.
Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: What Are The PROS For Each?
It is also important to take a quick look at some of the PROS of owning a Bearded Dragon and/or a Ball Python.
Bearded Dragon PROS
- Easy To Care For
- Friendly & Sociable
- Manageable Size
- GREAT First Pet
- Likes Handling
- Decent Priced Tanks
- Kid Friendly
Ball Python PROS
- Low Maintenance Pets When Compared To Dogs or Cats
- They Eat Only Once Every 10 to 14 Days
- They Poop Only Once a Week [On Average]
- Cleaning Their Cage Is Quite Easy
- They Are Fun To Watch & Handle
- They Make Great Beginner Pets
- You Will Be The Owner Of One Of The LARGEST Snakes On The Planet
- They Are NOT Dangerous [Ball Pythons Are NOT Venomous]
Bearded Dragon vs Ball Python: What Are The CONS For Eat?
But how about CONS, you may ask. With no further ado, let’s look at the CONS of owning both a Bearded Dragon and/or a Ball Python:
Bearded Dragon CONS
- Expensive Diet
- MUST Be Fed Live Bugs
That’s all I could come up with.
Ball Python CONS
- They Eat Live Food [Rats, Mice, etc]
- Can Become Aggressive If Not Properly Cared For
- Can Be a REAL Threat To The Natural Environment If They Escape
A common disadvantage of owning each one of these two reptiles is that they need quite big enclosures, so if you live in a small place, having a 120 gallons tank may take up a lot of space.
Hopefully, this article helped you decide which pet [if either] would be a good suit for you. And if it is not already clear, let me say that these two reptiles are quite different.
While there are some things they have in common such as their cage setup, Ball Pythons and Bearded Dragon significantly differ in size, lifespan, and have extremely different dietary needs.
It is also important to mention that Bearded Dragons are diurnal creatures, whereas Ball Pythons are nocturnal [most active at night].
Regardless of which pet you choose to go forward with, I hope this article helped you better understand the main differences between a Bearded Dragon and a Ball Python as it is important to make an informed and educated decision before adding a new addition to your family.