Ball pythons do not have venom. They are regarded as pet snakes because they do not show aggression. Ball pythons are gentle beautiful armless creatures that will not attack even at the sight of a threat. These snakes are without fangs which makes their bite not painful as other species of snake.
History of Ball Pythons
This snake originates from central and west Africa. They are also known as royal pythons and are known to be the smallest pythons in Africa. They are commonly found in shrublands, open forests, and grasslands. Their scientific name is Python regius.
Characteristics of Ball Pythons
- They are nocturnal.
- They have better internal ears than external ears.
- They have very good sights.
- They live between 20 to 30 years while the oldest that ever lived was 47 years of age.
- They have the presence of an infrared heat-sensing pit in their lips.
- They are not expensive.
- Adult males grow to about 28 to 54 inches.
- They are beautiful and non-aggressive but shy.
- They prefer to stay in an enclosed or isolated environment.
Why does a ball python go into a ball?
They go into a ball for defense purposes. They are called ball pythons because of the way they fold into a ball by hiding their head. They do this as a defense mechanism against a threat.
Why does my ball python keep biting me?
They are generally not known to bite because of their peaceful nature which makes them good pets. Although ball pythons have a good number of teeth like other snakes and bite on rare occasions. Their teeth are about 1 centimeter(cm) long and they have about 150 sharp teeth. Your ball python may keep biting you because of the following reasons:
Stress, Hunger, or fear. This point will be explained in this post.
When do ball pythons bite?
Ball pythons are not aggressive in nature and therefore the only but on rare occasions.
Below are the likely times’ ball pythons bite:
- If the snake is wrongly handled. Do not hold the snake carelessly.
- During a long digestion process of it’s consumed food.
- They bite at their young age. If the adult ball python passive the smell of it’s prey on any part of your body close to it.
- They may bite when undergoing their shedding process.
- When they feel like resting.
- When they raise their head to an “S” shape.
As stated earlier, Ball pythons are pet snakes because they fit into the characteristics of a pet. Keeping this snake as a pet will require that you provide the right environment for them that will make them maintain their trait. You should give them the required comfort and privacy which they need because they are snakes that prefer to stay in a solitary place. They feel good in a tank that is wider than their body size and that is having very good ventilation.
Why do ball pythons bite?
It is amazing to know that ball pythons are the best pet snakes. They are snakes that are generally known to be gentle, non-aggressive beautiful, and calm in nature.
Although they are found in the wild but becomes good pet if well-tamed, specialized, and domesticated. They are not known to but they do this at times because of fear, hunger, or stress.
The ball pythons do not like to be threatened or attacked, therefore they try to go into hiding if threatened unlike other snakes than may attack immediately when threatened. If the threat persists after going into their hideout, the ball python attacks by biting.
The young ones are known to bite more than the adult ones because they are not used to handling by humans and will learn as they grow up but they bite on a few occasions if they feel threatened by the way they are handled, either when touched or carried. The ones also bite sometimes if the handler does not carry them well, they may also feel threatened and bite. Before they bite, they always try to flee from such a situation but they resolve to bite if they see it is impossible to avoid such a situation.
Ball pythons are very sensitive I smell. Therefore, they try to bite any object that has the smell of their prey when hungry.
The snakes assume that anything that smells like their food is actually food and they do not hesitate to go for such objective if it is the body of their handler.
The handling of this pet must be taken seriously to avoid attack from the snake. The b python should not be allowed to stay hungry because this will make them bite other things to satisfy their hunger. This will also affect the health of the snakes.
The Ball pythons can respond to stress by biting things that appear disturbing. They can get stressed due to stack from other animals, stress as a result of overfeeding, or stress during the process of skin shedding. The handler should ensure his pet are kept under the best-growing conditions to avoid the display of abnormal trait.
How to prevent a ball python bite?
1- The best way to prevent a ball python from biting you is to get trained by an expert before getting your snake. You need to learn a lot about the snake you want to keep, this will help you to know how to handle the snake in the right way.
Proper handling of your pet snake will prevent you from being bitten by the snake.
2- One of the things to take note of and practice is hand washing before attending to your ball python. This type of snake is sensitive to smell and will likely bite anything that has the smell of its prey when hungry. Therefore, the pet owner should always practice handwashing before handling the snake.
3- The environmental conditions should be such that does not permit stress from any source to the snake. The snake tank or vivarium should be positioned in an isolated place to prevent attacks from an external source such as other Animals like Dogs, Cats, etc.
4- Do not carry the snake in an abnormal position to avoid being bitten by the snake.
5- Be very careful when carrying the young ones because they get irritated and bite easily.
6- Avoid touching your ball pythons if you motive they are in the process of shedding their skin. They may bite you if you try to touch them during this process.
7- During the process of digesting their food, it is advisable not to touch them because they may see it as a threat and attack by biting.
8- It is best to always pay very close observation to your Ball python before handling them, this is the best way to prevent their bite.
As stated earlier, you also need to get trained by an expert in pet handling to help you learn everything you need to know about the snake. You need to know how the snake responds and reacts to various situations, this will help you determine what the snake needs in various situations.
When your pet snake shows some signs or response, it will be wrong to give an assumption of what such signs means because this can result in something dangerous for the snake or its owners.
Signs to note if bitten by a Ball python
Abnormal feelings in some parts of the body like the Arms, Legs, and facial parts.
Swelling of the body.
Piercing marks on the body surface.
Redness of the body.
Things to do if bitten by a Ball python
- Return the ball python to its resting place or allow it to move if it’s in the wild, do not attempt to kill or arm the snake.
- Do not clean the wound with water.
- Do not try to open the wound surface to clean it.
- Do not try to stop the flow of blood by wrapping a strip around the wound.
- Contact the nearest medical practitioner in your area for proper treatment.
This is the best solution when you get bitten by this snake because all forms of damage to your body will be well treated by the Doctor.
Can Ball pythons eat fish?
Yes, Ball pythons can eat fish. They enjoy consuming warm-blooded prey, therefore the consumption of cold-blooded animals like fish are not always acceptable by the snake.
They can eat fish but it is not advisable to give them more than one in a month. They are known to reject fish sometimes and go for other prey like Rodents and Mice which are their most consumed prey.
Not all fish are good for the health of your pet snake because of the presence of thiamine enzymes in some fish. Therefore before giving your snake fish, be sure they do not contain thiamine enzyme which is not good for your snake. The health of your snake will be greatly affected negatively if you consistently feed them fish which may result in the death of your snake.
Edible fish for Ball pythons
There are edible fish that can be given to your snake. Although, the snake should only consume Fish about once a month because they don’t always enjoy fish consumption.
The edible fish are the fish that do not contain some harmful enzymes or contain a very small portion. Examples of edible fish for your pet snake are Platies, Salmon, Guppies, Trout, etc.
Non-edible fish for Ball pythons
These are fish that should not be given to your snake at any time. These fish are very harmful to your pet snake and can result in terrible health conditions for your snake and may result in the death of your snake if consumed. Examples of such non-edible fish are Whitebait, Mackerel, Goldfish, Rosy reds, etc.
You will need to get yourself familiar with the different types of edible andnon-ediblee fish for your snake before going to bite them in the store or market. Some of the fish may have similar look to you or the market attendant may give you the wrong fish, therefore you must be sure of the different physical characteristics of the fish you want for your snake.
What food should I give my Ball python?
These snakes at different ages have preferences for different food. It is important to know the age of your snake and the food that is best for its age.
Below, we will discuss the different food for the different ages of ball pythons.
It is best to regulate the portion/ size of food that you give your snake. A simple trick to determine the portion to give your snake is by giving your snake something that is not bigger than the head size of the snake or else, they may not be able to consume it.
It is best to give your snakes live prey for palatability and satisfaction. The baby snakes can be given small size mice while the adults or those large sizes can be fed with various live prey like Chicks, Gerbils, Rodents, and Mice.
|Below 4 months||70 – 200||Mouse hopper||After every5 – 7 days|
|4 – 12 months||200 – 700||Small sized adult Mouse||After every 5 – 7 days|
|1 – 2 years||700 – 1000||Large sized adult Mouse||After every 7 days|
|2 – 4 years||1000 – 2000||Small sized Rat||After every 7 – 10 days|
|Above 4 months||Above 2000||Small or medium sized Rat||After every 7 – 14 days|
The ball pythons are known to stay fasting while undergoing shedding, therefore this should not be strange to you.
How to know a good substrate for a Ball python snake
- Parasite and fungal infestation
- Water retention
- Burrowing nature
- Cost of purchasing it
- Good cleaning methods
Parasite and fungal infestation
These are dangerous organisms that are known to live in and feed from or on their host. They are known to cause destruction to the body of their host while fungal are organisms like molds, mushrooms, yeasts, etc. They are eukaryotic organisms and can be dangerous.
The presence of parasites on your ball python substrate can be dangerous because they can cause ill health or death of your snake.
The substrate used for your snake house should give a beautiful look to the house. Whether you decide to use a vivarium, a tub, or a rack, there should be an appalling feeling in your substrate should give.
The substrate chosen should have the required water retention capacity. This is because your snake health will be affected negatively or positively if the quantity of water retained in the substrate is too small or too much.
It is good that the substrate you choose for your snake house should have a level of likeness to allow burrowing by your ball pythons because this type of snake likasburrow into the soil. This will who your snake live healthy because of the possibility of borrowing.
Before choosing a substrate for your snake house, ensure that you choose a substrate that can be easily accessed in your locality. This substance may be available at no cost or may have a price attached. The important thing is that you should be able to get them any time they are needed.
Cost of purchasing it
It’s important that you find out the prices of all the snake house substrate for ball python housing before you decide on a particular one to use. This will help you make the right choice. You need to choose a substrate in which you can afford to pay the price attached every time you need them.
A snake keeper should know the impact ingesting substrate will cause on the health of his ball python. This will help him make the right choice before choosing the substrate to use on his snake house or farm, for a snake farmer.
Good cleaning methods
The various substrate has different methods of cleaning. Before a snake keeper chooses a substrate for his ball python house, he needs to find out the various cleaning methods for the substrate. This will make him informed on what the cleaning demand for the substrate will be like. This will also help him get prepared for the task ahead. It is advisable that the snake owner or farmer go for a substrate that can be easily cleaned by him.
Is Cypress mulch good for Ball pythons?
Cypress mulch is one of the best substrates for your ball python. They have very good moisture retention ability, they are absorbent, and gives your snakes the best comfort.
The characteristics of the cypress mulch are just perfect for a snake house substrate because they are safe and will it cause any form of harm to your snake. They will not cause problems like sickness, intestinal problems, or infections.
Other good substrates for your ball pythons are:
- Paper towels
- Commercial paper cage
- Recycled paper beddings
- Cypress mulch
- Orchid bark
- Bioactive soil substrates
- Aspen shavings
This is one of the cheapest and easy-to-use substrates for your Ball Python. They are very safe for the health of your pet snakes, they are easily accessible, and are good when the sanitation of your snake house is concerned.
These are good substrate materials for your snake cage because of their absorbent nature. They have similar characteristics to newspaper as substrate material but they are not cheap.
This substrate has a good absorbent nature which keeps the humidity at a steady state. This is a very suitable substrate for the housing of ball pythons, Amphibians, and some reptiles.
They are gotten from a coconut shell that has been broken into small pieces. Although they are very good substrates it may be impossible to use them because of their level of availability depending on your area. Coconut husks are very expensive to get in some locations and this may prevent pet owners from getting them to use in their snake housing facility.
Bioactive soil substrate
This substrate is a combination of different particles. They require some production process for them to be made available. This makes it impossible for all sale owners to use them. They also contain microorganisms that break down waste.
Over time, this has not been a widely acceptable substrate because of its nature. They get broken down and rotten in a fast manner which makes them not suitable for your snake house. Although it is considered good by some experienced ball python owners.
Recycled Paper beddings
This is one of the most expensive substrate materials. They are safe and hygienic for use and they can be easily borrowed by the snake.
This is similar to cypress mulch and it is very safe for use. Just like the cypress mulch, the absorbent and water retention nature makes them one of the best options for your snake house. Although the financial requirement for getting the orchid bark can be discouraging because the price is generally known to be expensive but this may vary based on location.
Are you considering the use of orchid bark for your ball python snake housing?
If yes, then you can proceed to use them because they have been known to be suitable for your snake house.
Bad Ball Python substrates
The characteristics of some substrates make them not suitable for your snake. They can negatively affect the health of your snake and this may lead to its death.
Some bad ball pythons substrates are:
This is one of the substrates that are not suitable for your snake because of its characteristics. They contain fibers that get loosened which can injure your snakes. They easily get dirty because of the difficulty of cleaning them.
This is not a good substrate material because it can be easily swallowed by your snake. They have the ability to retain dirt which will affect the health of your snake.
This is one of the cheapest substrate materials available but it is very bad for the health of your snake because it can be ingested and this will affect the intestine of your snake.
This appears to be the worst of all the substrate materials because of its toxic nature.
How to maintain snake house substrate material
There are various maintenance activities to carry out on your ball python substrate and this depends on the nature of the chosen substrate. Some substrate materials have high water retention ability. Irrespective of the type of substrate you have chosen to use in your snake house, the cleaning process must be done regularly because the health of your snake depends on it. A snake house that is loaded with all kinds of dirt will be dangerous to the health of your snake. This will either make your snake develop ill health or may result in death of your snake.
It is required that you change substrate materials like Newspapers or paper towels because they are in form of sheets. This material loses its texture fast and retains some level of dirt when they get soft and moist. They also become dirt particles if they are not changed when they get due for changing.
For substrate materials in particle form, you will be required to either replace the used substrate with fresh material when they are due for changing or you can decide to only identify the specific parts of the substrate that carries dirt, then clean those parts or replace them with fresh substrate.
There are things that contaminate your substrate.
Things that contaminate your substrate are:
Shed skin, feces, urates, and water.
The cleaning of your substrate should be done regularly and can be changed at least once a month.
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