medically diagnose your Ball python. If you feel like your snakes health is in
danger, always promptly consult your licensed veterinary health-care
professional for your pet's medical advice and treatment.
Ignorance is not an excuse for improper care and maintenance. Before you buy a
ball python you should fully educate yourself on their needs be it housing,
feeding, care and maintenance. This includes the snake’s anatomy and how it
not buy from sellers that state: He is ready to breed your females now! Or she is ready to breed your
males now! This is an unscrupulous seller. All they care about is money and fast turn over. They do not quarantine their animals.
This could bring a virus into your collection. Always quarantine your newly acquired snakes for a minimum of six months before
you introduce them to your main colony.
Do not be cheap! This is an expensive hobby.
Make sure you do not amass a collection of snakes if you can't afford to take care of them. Make sure you have all the supplies
you need first before you obtain any snakes. Some of the supplies needed are a rack with a heating system controlled by a
thermostat. Tongs to feed your snake, safety first. Water bowls, cleaning solutions, paper towels, substrate, food etc...
Also try to get a heat gun, they are vital in making sure your temperatures are correct. Some of the listed items
have to be replenished on a regular basis. It also takes time to maintain a collection, make sure you have it.
Do not use an enclosure
that is not secure. Aquariums with screen tops are notorious for Ball python
escapes. You definitely want an enclosure that is escape proof. Rack systems are much more secure when housing ball pythons. Irresponsible keepers or handlers give fuel to the
fire for groups that want to ban ownership of such a wonderful animal as a pet.
Do not house multiple snakes together. If
one snake gets sick it can easily transmit the illness to another. This will create unnecessary vet bills.
manually sex your snake if you are a beginner. If you apply too much pressure
when performing this act you can possibly cause damage to the snake. This
should only be performed by an experienced handler or breeder. Please refer to sexing Ball Pythons.
probe your snake if you are a beginner. Probing should only be performed by an
experienced handler or breeder. Please refer to sexing Ball Pythons.
snakes together. Snakes many times will defecate in the water they are soaking
in. If one snake gets sick it can easily transmit the illness to another. This
will create unnecessary veterinarian bills.
Do not treat your
Ball Python like a dog. Ball Pythons
have very sensitive heads; therefor they
are very head shy. They were designed this way to
better detect their prey. This is also a defense response they have by nature
to reduce the risk of injury. This is why you should study a snake’s anatomy and how it functions. Do not force your
snake to conform to your behavior. They are not dogs, so
why would you pet them like one.
bodies like a dog or cat. Their skin is very sensitive. If you do run your hand
down the snake never go in the direction from tail to head, this is against the
scales growth. Always go from head to tail in the direction the scales lay.
Do not get in the
habit of constantly bathing your Ball Python. You constantly read people
stating, my snake needed help shedding again. This means that your enclosure is
too dry or arid. You must bring your humidity level up. The humidity level
should be at least 60 %. Remember to turn off you’re A.C. when soaking your
ball python. If the A.C. is on and the snake catches a draft of cold air it
could cause a respiratory infection. Make sure the water temperature is around 88 degrees; if you exceed this temperature
your snake could get burned. A temperature gun is very helpful in making sure the water is not too hot. If the
enclosure is properly maintained, your snake will fully shed inside of it. Please review our care and maintenance section
on poor and incomplete sheds.
snake directly; if the snake catches a draft of cold air it could cause a
respiratory infection. Only mist the sides of the enclosure.
Do not use hot rocks. This can cause your snake to get
severely burned. It is better to use a under the tank heat pad controlled by a thermostat. Underbelly heat helps with the
Ball Python's digestive system. Ambient temperature doe's not.
Do not use cedar; it can be toxic to snakes. This will
eventually boil down to preference. Aspen, newspaper, and Cypress mulch can be
used. When using a substrate like Aspen or Cypress mulch, usually 2-4 inches
deep is fine. Newspaper is good and easy to clean. The biggest benefit is that
you will never have to worry about the substrate getting lodged in your snake’s
throat. The minus to newspaper is the ink; it rubs off on the snakes. If using newspaper
you can crumple up a few pages, this will give the Ball Python a place to hide.
Do not re-use refused prey items.
If a snake comes in contact with a prey item but does not eat it, don't recycle it to another snake. Sometimes when a snake
refuses to eat this can be a warning sign to ill health. You definitely do not want to make another snake sick to save a dollar.
That cheaply saved dollar can easily cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars down the road in veterinarian bills.
Do not power feed. An overfed snakes
do not equate a healthy snake. Overfeeding and will lead to health issues. Usually the individuals doing this are to make
the snake grow faster than is natural, breeding purposes only. Which boils down to the all mighty dollar. If you truly care
about the animal you will want it to be as healthy as possible. So don't go around bragging about how fast you are growing
you snake just for the sake of breeding them, think about it.
use over-sized prey items.
feed snakes together. Always feed them separately,
preferably in separate containers.This will greatly reduce the risk of injury to your snake not to mention their stress level.
not leave a snake unattended when feeding live prey.
Do not microwave frozen thawed prey.
Do not constantly handle
your snake. This can cause stress
in some snakes. Snakes like people need their space, some alone time. So be
considerate, you do not want someone constantly touching and bothering you.
Do not fall into trends. Many trends on the internet express
improper care and maintenance practices. Also consult with an experienced breeder
/ keeper pertaining to ball python care and maintenance.
Do not leave
your snake in direct sunlight. Snakes have very
sensitive eyes; therefor prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause damage
to their eyes. If you would like to take the snake outdoors over cast days are
much better. Try not to exceed 15 minutes exposure at any given time. Over exposure
can cause photokeratitis, also known as ultraviolet keratitis. It is
essentially sunburn of the surface epithelium of the cornea.
Do not smoke around your Ball Python.
This is a no brainer; do I have to even go into about the effects of second hand smoke??!!
Do not measure your snakes shed to
get the length of the
animal. This method is completely inaccurate. When a snake sheds the skin is
actually stretched out. When you unroll a shed it gets stretched as
well. A more accurate method is to measure the snake itself. It is much easier
if you have someone to assist you in doing this. There are also clear plastic snake
tubes that the snake can crawl through which make it easier to measure if you are alone.
P.S. This page is a work in
progress. Thank you for your patience time and understanding.
These are some of the
guidelines for beginners. I hope you find this information helpful. Happy Herping!
Best of luck,
Living Art Reptiles.