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Photo and Text by Ken Felsman

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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

Glossary

Blister Disease: is an infection, usually seen as red/puss filled blisters on the belly. It is typically caused by unclean conditions. If you suspect your snake has blister disease, seek the help of a qualified reptile veterinarian.

Captive Bred: snakes are ones that come from parents who have been in captivity and the care giver has taken the time to induce the male and female to breed. These are typically more desirable in that they acclimate better to captive conditions, and that it has less of an impact on wild populations.

Captive Hatched: snakes are babies which come from eggs that were taken from wild mothers and incubated.

Crepuscular: refers to animals which rest during the extremes of the day (ie. noon and midnight) but are active in the morning and evening.

Diurnal: refers to animals which are active during the daylight hours and rest when it's dark.

Ectoparasite: are external parasites that you will see crawling over, or on, the snake's body. Mites which are about as big as a period [ . ] and Ticks which are about as big as a zero [ O ], are the two most common you will see.

Endoparasites: are internal parasites. If you have a wild caught Ball Python, a veterinarian will be able to find eggs or the parasites themselves in your snakes feces (poop), by looking at it under a microscope.

Heat Mat: can either be human type heating pads set on low, or plastic ones specially made for animal applications. The plastic ones typically don't have any way of adjusting the heat output. What I like to do is add lamp dimmers which snap onto the cord. This at least gives you a high/low/off setting.

Heat pits: are part of the Ball Pythons group of senses. They are located on the upper 'lip', and a few are on the back of the lower 'lip.' Scientists believe they can see heat with these pits in the form of infra-red light. It's like having a pair of night vision goggles. You will also notice the snake in the picture is partially blind and has cataracts as a result of previous trauma to it's eye.

Hemostats: are about 6-10 inch long 'tongs' that can be used to offer food items to snakes without getting your hands too close. You can find them in some hardware stores, medical supply retailers, and hobby stores.

Herpetoculture: is the hobby of keeping and breeding reptiles and/or amphibians.

Herpetology: is the scientific study herptiles.

Herptile: Refers to either a reptile or amphibian.

Hide Box: a retreat for your snake to feel secure. I use either Terra Cotta pots, or Rubbermaid tubs with holes in them. I suggest having at least two per cage. One on the warm end(~88F), and one on the cooler end (~75-78F).

Husbandry: The business or occupation of a husbandman or farmer; tillage or cultivation of the soil (including also the rearing of live stock and poultry, and sometimes extended to that of bees, silkworms, etc.); agriculture, farming.

Hygrometer: is a humidity gauge. Most Wal-Mart/K-Mart type stores sell them for about $5 in the outdoor/garden section.

Jacobson's Organ: is the sensor located in the roof of a snake's mouth. They take particles out of the air with their forked tongue, and the Jacobson's Organ interprets these particles and tells the snake a little about it's environment.

Mouth Rot: is an infection in the oral cavity. Typically caused by unclean conditions and/or trauma to the mouth. Usually appears as a white cottage cheese like material, or dry scabs in/or around the mouth. Seek the help of a qualified veterinarian.

Nocturnal: refers to a propensity to rest during the day and be active at night.

Savanna: habitat composed of flat ground with a mixture of trees and tall grasses.

Snake Hook: is a device used to control and/or lift a snake without handling it. You can make one for a few dollars. Most hardware stores sell metal bar/rod stock in three foot lengths. For smaller snakes 1/4 or so works good, for larger you can use 3/8 diameter. Using a bench vise and a hammer, bend one end over onto itself at about the four inches from the end, this end becomes the handle. At about the four inches from the other end, put about a 90 degree bend in it. You now have a snake hook for about $4-5.

Quarantine: A period during which persons or animals who might serve to spread a contagious disease are kept isolated from the rest of the community. Also, a period of seclusion or isolation after exposure to infection from a contagious disease

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