Blue Eyed Lucy ball pythons are one of the most stunning of all the morphs in my opinion.
Not surprisingly, they also tend to be some of the more expensive specimens currently available to hobbyists and breeders.
The name “Blue Eyed Lucy” is quite a mouthful, so they’re sometimes simply known as “BEL pythons” or “BELs”.
In appearance Blue Eyed Lucys are completely white with bright blue eyes. This makes them unlike anything else out there.
Of course, these blue eyes are very unusual, and indicates that these aren’t actually albino snakes at all.
If you’ve got the budget and fancy something really special then adding a Blue Eyed Lucy to your collection really will be something special.
Fortunately, they’re just as easy to keep as most other ball pythons, and require no additional specialist conditions.
In this care guide we’ll discuss the basics of keeping your pet BEL happy and healthy in captivity…
- 1 Cages for Blue Eyed Lucy Ball Pythons
- 2 Substrates for Blue Eyed Lucy Ball Pythons
- 3 Cage Decor
- 4 Heating & Temperature
- 5 Nutrition & Feeding
- 6 Behavior
- 7 Temperament & Handling
Cages for Blue Eyed Lucy Ball Pythons
If you’re going to invest the money into buying one of these amazing snakes then you’ll want to give it the very best housing possible.
Fortunately, BEL ball pythons only grow to quite a modest size and are easily accommodated at home.
There are a number of cages and vivariums that can work well for Blue Eyed Lucys, and each keeper has their own preferences. Be careful if you ask on forums or social media – you might get lots of opposing opinions!
The contents of this article are based on my own personal experiences with keeping and breeding ball pythons for the last 10+ years but I don’t claim that my way is necessarily the only way.
Firstly, in terms of size, there are differing opinions.
Some keepers claim that a ball python that is given too much space can become nervous. They may therefore feed less, and could become harder to handle.
Professional breeders often keep their snakes in very small cages as a result – often in plastic boxes in a rack system.
Personally I’m more of a hobbyist. Not only would I rather create a more “natural” setup but I also haven’t personally experienced any issues with providing rather larger vivariums.
The important caveat here, however, is that I provide decent hides for my ball pythons and they’re kept in a quiet part of the house away from any disturbance.
I personally use cages of around 120cm (4 feet) in length for my adult ball pythons, though I would consider 90cm (3 feet) as the absolute minimum for a small Blue Eyed Lucy.
Of course, younger/smaller snakes can be housed in small enclosures. I’ve used 9 litre plastic tupperware containers successfully for hatchlings.
So what cages work well for Blue Eyed Lucys?
Plastic Containers & Cages
Plastic enclosures are very economical but often don’t look great. In other words, they’re good for those of us on a budget but don’t really work for aesthetics.
Personally, if I’m buying a stunning snake like a Blue Eyed Lucy I want to be able to see them in all their glory – though you may have other ideas!
While there are bespoke plastic reptile vivariums available, many breeders use plastic storage boxes for their snakes. Some of the better models have handles on either end that “clip” the lid on. This is good as it helps to prevent escape.
If you go down the storage box root be sure to add suitable ventilation; stale conditions can be a killer for any ball python, let alone a Blue Eyed Lucy.
Exo terras look very smart and are easy to see into so you can watch your snake in comfort. In addition, they are safe as they have front opening glass doors which lock shut so your python won’t be able to escape.
Unfortunately Exo Terras only come in a very limited range of sizes and they can be quite pricey to buy.
While I’ve successfully used them for smaller ball pythons in the past, I’ve now moved on to alternative housing in most cases (see later).
My personal opinion is that Exo Terras are a solid option for someone with a big-enough budget and a small-enough snake. But then again if you’re buying a Blue Eyed Lucy then I guess money shouldn’t be too much of an object 😉
Have a look at the choice available on Amazon.
Glass Fish Tanks (With Mesh Lid)
Glass aquariums are another option (minus the water of course), but you must ensure that you have a secure lid. These can either be built at home or bought premade on places like Amazon.
As they come in a wide range of sizes and are reasonably priced a glass aquarium can be a solid option.
Wood vivariums are a good choice for your Blue Eyed Lucy ball python, and this is the form of housing I now primarily use.
Wooden vivariums look good and provide your snake with extra privacy as the sides are solid.
They can be “stacked” quite easily, which is another benefit. Sadly, once you start keeping reptiles you rarely end up with just the one. Having the space to be able to expand in the future, adding extra vivariums on top can come in surprisingly handy – you’ve been warned 😉
Adult ball pythons are surprisingly strong, and can be quite active. I’ve had a few that managed to open the sliding glass doors of their wooden vivarium, so I suggest using a cage lock to keep them safe.
Substrates for Blue Eyed Lucy Ball Pythons
Just as important as the cage itself is the substrate that you line the bottom with.
Here are some of the more popular options:
Newspaper & Kitchen Towel – Popular as it’s cheap and makes cleaning the cage easy. Personally I’m not a huge fan as it’s not very absorbent and I don’t feel it encourages natural behavior.
Beech Chippings – One of my favorite options as it is absorbent, looks good and smells fresh. Of course, your Blue Eyed Lucy will also be able to burrow in it. The downside is it can go mouldy if it gets wet, so be prepared to spot-clean if your snake spills its water.
Aspen Chippings – Probably the most popular options at the moment among snake keepers. It’s lightweight, reasonably priced and permits burrowing. Be careful you avoid the dusty brands though.
Bark Chippings – Another attractive and practical option, though be careful when feeding that your snake doesn’t accidentally swallow any of the particles.
Coconut Fibre (Coir) – Popular among invertebrate keepers for years, this is inert, cheap and looks great. As it dries out it is also good for burrowing.
Commercial Substrates – There are a huge range of “commercial” substrates with brand names currently marketing as snake substrates. Some of these are better than others so it’s worth asking around to see what’s currently popular.
Blue Eyed Lucy ball pythons don’t require anything too complex when it comes to cage decor. With a suitable vivarium, some substrate and a water bowl you’ll already be 90% of the way there.
Some keepers opt to include silk plants and other artistic flourishes but I certainly wouldn’t say they were “essential”.
A couple of things I would encourage you to think about though are…
Ball pythons can be quite nervous snakes, and as a result they need somewhere dark to hide away. In the wild they use rodent burrows, but in captivity we need to try and replicate this. A piece of cork bark or even an old cereal box can give your snake the security it desires.
As we’ll cover shortly, your Blue Eyed Lucy will probably benefit from some supplementary heating. They are, after all, cold-blooded.
A thermometer is therefore an important tool, allowing you to regularly monitor the temperature in your python cage.
Personally I prefer digital thermometers over the more traditional dial thermometers as I find they’re more accurate.
A Cage Lock
As mentioned previously, you may want to consider adding a simple cage lock. This not only prevents your ball python from accidentally opening up their own cage, but of course can also help to keep other domestic pets and children from getting in.
Heating & Temperature
Unless you live in a very warm area, your Blue Eyed Lucy is likely to need some additional heating.
Coming from Africa, these are snakes that like to be able to bask.
At the same time, however, a temperature gradient is important so they can move away to a cooler area when desirable.
The solution is to make one end of their cage much warmer than the other.
The basking area of the cage should be set at between 88 and 96’F (31-35’C). The cooler side of the enclosure should be set at 78–80’F (25.5 – 26.6’C).
Most common forms of reptile heating can be used. In my wooden vivariums I find that a heat mat works well, as the timber helps to retain the warmth.
Ceramic heaters are another option, suitable for cooler homes or cages that don’t retain as much heat. You can learn more about choosing and installing a ceramic reptile heater in this guide.
Whatever option you choose, be sure you choose a suitable thermostat to prevent overheating. I suggest you read my thermostat guide here.
Nutrition & Feeding
Ball pythons are carnivores, so they need to be given meat to eat.
Possibly the best option – and that used most commonly – is rodents.
Most ball pythons will happily consume “dead” mice and rats so there’s rarely any need to feed them live prey.
Personally I buy my rodents in bulk online, which are sent to be frozen. I then thaw out as many as I need on feeding day.
Warm rodents tend to be more appealing to ball pythons in my experience, as these snakes have heat-sensors around their mouths. So don’t just let the rodent thaw out at room temperature; consider popping it into some warm water before feeding to make it more appealing.
Broadly speaking your Blue Eyed Lucy should eat a rodent with a similar girth to the fattest part of your snakes body. That said, some of my ball pythons are rather more sensitive to size than others.
I use both mice and rats depending on the size of the snake. Smaller snakes receive mice, but I rapidly try to get them eating rats. The reason is that some specimens can be fussy when changing over one one food source to another; the sooner you can make that happen, the easier your life will be.
400;”>Ball pythons can become overweight in captivity so don’t go overboard with the feeding.
You’ll normally be able to tell when your Blue Eyed Lucy is hungry as you’ll see them “prowling” around their cage looking for food. Broadly speaking a feed once every week or so tends to work well.
Please note that in my experience ball pythons can be very sensitive when it comes to eating. While I have some specimens that slam straight into the food within moments of popping it in, others take their time and won’t feed if watched, if the light is too bright and so on.
My preference these days is therefore to place food into the cages, then leave the room and leave my snakes to their own devices. I come back later to check on them and remove any uneaten prey.
Blue Eyed Lucy ball pythons typically spend much of their time hiding away from view.
Don’t worry – this is perfectly normal.
However it does underline the importance of including one or more suitable hides for them, into which they can completely conceal themselves. This means that you’ll likely need to “upgrade” their hide as often as their cage.
Some ball pythons can go off their food for extended periods of time. In my experience it seems that adult males are particularly prone to this.
So long as your Blue Eyed Lucy is maintaining their weight and looks healthy then this is perfectly normal and shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Just to be certain, however, double-check their environmental conditions to ensure that everything is in order. You don’t want a faulty heater that you haven’t noticed to be causing problems for example.
If your ball python stops eating with no obvious explanation then I suggest you keep trying them with food every week or two.
Carefully monitor their health throughout this period.
In anything from a few weeks to many months they’ll eventually start accepting food again. Of course,drinking water should still be available at all times.
Temperament & Handling
Like other ball pythons, the Blue Eyed Lucy is generally quite slow-moving and docile pet snakes.
Assuming you don’t do anything silly – like spooking your snake or trying to pick it up while you smell of rodents – you should be able to handle your snake safely.
This relaxed temperament is one of the things that really makes ball pythons such an ideal pet snake. They’re ideal for beginners and most specimens will become silly tame with patience.
They can also be held by children, though parental supervision at all times is recommended.
When picking up your ball python try to support as much of their body as you possibly can, holding them gently but firmly with both hands. Try to keep calm, and don’t “poke” anything at your snake, or it may see this as a threat.
Extended handling sessions can cause stress for your pet, so a little-and-often policy normally works best.