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Troubleshooting Guide to BALL PYTHONS

Natural History | General Information | Housing Your Snake | Care and Husbandry | Feeding Strategies
Breeding | Common Questions | Glossary | Ball Python Breeders | Classified Ads | Forum

General Information

Do Ball Pythons, Python regius, make good pets? I'd have to say yes, but like most other animals, they can be challenging at times. Before you consider getting a pet snake, you might be interested in reading "Keeping a Snake as a Pet." This excellent article was written by Dana Payne, a keeper at the Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Washington.

Ball Pythons can be good 'beginner' snakes, if you follow a few caveats and know what you are buying. One thing that you should know, is that getting the snake setup in a secure cage will probably cost as much, if not more, than the snake itself. You will need a cage (typically an aquarium), a secure lid, at least one heat source (either a heat mat, or an aluminum type clip lamp), a thermometer, a water bowl, and at least one hide box. I would suggest you also get a lamp timer, an extra hide box or two, a hygrometer (humidity gauge), a second heat source, a snake hook, and a pair of hemostats×. You will also need to know where to get food for your snake (or be able to raise your own), and know of a qualified reptile veterinarian in your area.

So you've done the research and decided that you are ready to care for a snake. Now the question is, where to get it? The easiest place to get a pet snake, would most likely be a pet store. As typical with life, sometimes the things that come easy aren't necessarily the best. Unfortunately Ball Pythons are not commonly bred in captivity, which means that most of them seen in pet stores originate from the wilds of Africa. If you do some research and find a herpetological (or herpetocultural×) society in your area, you may be able to find someone who breeds them. If you do get your snake from a pet store, hatchlings (16-18 inches) usually adjust to captivity. Wild caught adults (36-48 inches) however, typically do not fare very well in captivity, due to a host of health problems.

Once you have your snake and got him/her set up at home, the best thing to do is leave it alone for at least a week or two. This will give your snake time to get comfortable in it's new home. A snake that is not stressed and acclimated will eat, and generally be a better pet. After you've patiently waited a few weeks, I would try and feed it it's first meal See Feeding Strategies. Once it eats a few times for you, it's OK to start handling your snake for short periods of time. I feel it's better to get them out of the cage with a snake hook×. Ball Pythons do not usually bite, but if a bite is going to happen, reaching your hand into the tank is typically when it does. The snake may not know your intentions and see you as a predator or confuse you with a food item. Bites very rarely happen, and fortunately do not hurt any worse than getting a shot from the doctor. Once you've had your snake for awhile you will be able to "read" it based on it's body posture and activity cycles. For the most part, hatchlings may tend to be a little more defensive and/or hungry, and adults are typically very docile.

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Recent Ball Pythons Forum Posts
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• New Ball Python Owner, posted by Swampboy
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