ball python help

dtknow

Arachnoking
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Friend I met has had a ball python for a while. He was scared of holding it claiming it was vicious and askd me if perhaps I could find a home for it.

So I went over to his place and their she is in a 3 ft wooden cage with hardware cloth front. Heatlamp burnt out, and stuck shed all over(not sure what the substrate was but the cage was undoubtly cold and dry). When I reach in to pet and pick her up she did track my hand and make a few half hearted feints in my direction. Anyhoo I picked her up and had him prep a warm bowl for soaking her. As I was checking her over w my other hand she made a few more open mouths feints and then made contact once. I was kind of perplexed honestly since it didn't really look defensive-she did have some stuck shed on one eye. When my hand was right next to her face she decided to reach out casually and bite two of my fingers, and then coil around my hand/wrist and squeeze. I went ahead and dunked her in the warm bowl of water and tickled her face and eventually(right before my friends in the car who were waiting got word that this might take awhile!) she let go of my hand, finished her soak(looking quite happy in there) and was removed and dried off and put back in her cage.

I have no experience with ball pythons so some questions w how to proceed.

-told him she(dunno if she is really a girl) needs a heatpad, humid hide, and soaking to remove any additional shed. Also she was being fed one mouse per month which seems pretty slim pickings and may explain why she wanted my hand even though she was in a cage w no heat?
-He's scared of her(even tho from what I saw she seems pretty tame-just cold and hungry) and thats the main reason he wants to find a new home for her. Think it might be better to work with him to get comfy with this snake or maybe find a different-less imposing species?
 
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kevin91172

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Yeps she sounds VERY hungry and in need of someone to take care of itself.:eek:
 

Mistegirl

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Poor little thing!

I only know 2nd hand stuff I pick up reading about Balls, but I would worry that if he's not comfortable with it he may easily fall back into neglecting it. Not really to be a bad person or whatever, just kind of human nature.

Either way you go good for you for helping out :)
 

Ookamii

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not much experiance on that species hear, but i do have a friend that breeds and sells them and is always looking for more to be breeders, if yall do decide to find her a new home, message me, im sure my friend would love to take her in.
 

jdmjames

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Sep 24, 2010
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tell him to get some repti-bark or aspen. medium sized heat pad, red heat bulb, a decent sized water bowl and a hide. if its eating a mouse a month that is cruel, ball pythons are probably the most docile of snakes so if its biting its being starved. normaly a 3ft ball python should be eating a medium rat, since its been starved i would say start with a rat pup every week for amonth then go up to a small rat. do that and the ball python will be happy as can be. take it from me i own 11 of them.
 

Crysta

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tell him to get some repti-bark or aspen. medium sized heat pad, red heat bulb, a decent sized water bowl and a hide. if its eating a mouse a month that is cruel, ball pythons are probably the most docile of snakes so if its biting its being starved. normaly a 3ft ball python should be eating a medium rat, since its been starved i would say start with a rat pup every week for amonth then go up to a small rat. do that and the ball python will be happy as can be. take it from me i own 11 of them.
Its not cruel if the snake is proper weight and being fed once a month..
But it does need a warm side of 90F... and a colder side of around 80 (going down to 75f at night)
of course give it a hide. U can also give it a hide with some damp sphagnum moss on in the middle of the aquarium to help with shedding.
If you'd go for regular feedings if its 3f I'd say about every 10-12 days is a good feeding regimen. As long as its proper weight. (no bone showin' etc)
Good idea on starting small, and slowly moving up the size of prey, gives the belly some easy time digesting.
 

ladizzlee

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Oct 26, 2010
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Its not cruel if the snake is proper weight and being fed once a month..
But it does need a warm side of 90F... and a colder side of around 80 (going down to 75f at night)
of course give it a hide. U can also give it a hide with some damp sphagnum moss on in the middle of the aquarium to help with shedding.
If you'd go for regular feedings if its 3f I'd say about every 10-12 days is a good feeding regimen. As long as its proper weight. (no bone showin' etc)
Good idea on starting small, and slowly moving up the size of prey, gives the belly some easy time digesting.
excuse me?
it is cruel. VERY cruel.
me and my bf have 12 snakes and they dont even go a day off schedule eating which is every week.
that is how often they should eat to have a HEALTHY snake.
no moss, moss isnt for snakes. the best thing to have is reptibark which is moist.
if you feed it something big it will die from being so weak.
and being fed once a month WILL show bones.
 

dtknow

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Sorry Ladizzle i can't agree with it necessarily being cruel. Snakes in the wild frequently go for long periods without food-they certainly have no feeding schedule. What is perhaps cruel is the fact that this one is underweight(no bones showing-but slab sided) and should be fed more. I know this is nitpicky but this is just to refute anyone(AR activists like to jump on this) who that just because someone doesn't feed their snakes on schedule they are inhumane keepers and neglectful.

Anyway I've been working with the guy and we've decided to get a new tank(20 gal...instead of the huge cage it was in previously). Not too sure on what kind of heating pad to get though. Most petshop ones don't have any kind of thermostat attachment. Thoughts?
 

Shell

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I know this is nitpicky but this is just to refute anyone(AR activists like to jump on this) who that just because someone doesn't feed their snakes on schedule they are inhumane keepers and neglectful.
Not only that, but Ball pythons especially, are notorious for not sticking to a feeding schedule and fasting. I use a feeding schedule for my snakes, but my BP certainly likes to test it from time to time, and from my experience, she would fall in the "good eater" for a BP, category.
 

sharpfang

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Colder than an African Termite Mound

Sorry Ladizzle i can't agree with it necessarily being cruel. Snakes in the wild frequently go for long periods without food-they certainly have no feeding schedule.
Me neither......the record for a BP not eating: 22 Months! and a 3-6 month "fast", is unfortunately a story heard often....
W/ that said: The overall conditions described for this imperticular BP are negligent, IMO :embarrassed:

As far as feeding: A Bi-Weekly feeding SCHEDULE w/ an occasional skipped meal, Is Nowhere NEAR cruel, also in my own Opinion :cool:

Not only that, but Ball pythons especially, are notorious for not sticking to a feeding schedule and fasting. I use a feeding schedule for my snakes, but my BP certainly likes to test it from time to time, and from my experience, she would fall in the "good eater" for a BP, category.
And I bet yours is kept warm-N-happy :D

The Ball Python "Bible" by Dave & Tracy Barker, will have virtually all the info any BP owner would need ;) my copy is signed :D And my BP just ate :}
 

jere000

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Feeding depends on the species size of prey and how big the snake is.Like for example boas generally fed eat every two weeks to monthly if on rabbits(some people feed weekly until they get to a year or two).Where as ball pythons are generally fed every week.Also use a thermostat heating pads get hot with out them not just flex watt.Also get some temperature and humidity gauges.As far as the cage goes a 41 qt tub should house an adult ball easily.Drill or melt a few holes in it and use newspaper as substrate(that's just my personal preference).
 

pitbulllady

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I've had many, many Ball Pythons over my DECADES of experience in keeping snakes. Few of them would eat ANYTHING on a weekly basis, even if it were offered, and these snakes can and do suffer from obesity in captivity. The one I have now, a very large Ghost male, will eat a medium rat per week for about two weeks, then voluntarily skip a week or two, during the spring/summer months. Like virtually all Ball Python adults, he goes "off-feed" for several months, starting in October. He probably will not eat again-again, this is voluntary-until around March or even April, and this is perfectly NORMAL behavior for a Ball Python! Indeed, most will not breed until they have entered that non-feeding phase, since it is part of their normal reproductive cycle. It certainly is NOT cruel to permit an animal to do this if it's part of their normal yearly cycles. Some Balls are not as eager feeders as others and won't eat much more often than once a month even if food is offered, and others are picky about what they eat; I am fortunate that mine eats rats, but I've had many other adult Balls that would only eat mice and absolutely refused to switch over to larger prey items. That's just Ball Pythons for ya.

As for biting, mine will absolutely "eat you a new one" if you are stupid enough to stick your hand in his enclosure! It's NOT a feeding response but a territorial aggressive response, one common to many Python species. He will start hissing and huffing like a Puff Adder the moment he realizes you are going to open his cage, and he's NOT bluffing, trust me! I would hesitate to call Ball Pythons "the most-docile of snakes", since I've been nailed by more of this species than any other species of snake I have been in contact with. I have noticed that many of the captive-produced morphs tend to be more "bitey" than wild-caught specimens, especially when inside their cages. My guy is a big boy, and he hurts when he bites, and you are definitely gonna shed some blood if he nails you! I've seen many Balls with nasty dispositions, in or out of the cage, and this is especially true of the morphs. It's not because they are hungry, either. Once you pick my boy up, he's fine. You just have to use a snake hook or a towel to accomplish this. Cage-aggression is, again, a very common Python trait, regardless of species. MOST Balls are docile, but there are plenty of exceptions.

pitbulllady
 

dtknow

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PBL: Do you think my bite was a feeding response? Wouldn't a defensive bite be merely a quick hit?

The way that I see it-if this snake is still snappy after getting enough food/TLC-it is probably going to need a new home. It is not fair for either owner or the snake.
 

Ookamii

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PBL: Do you think my bite was a feeding response? Wouldn't a defensive bite be merely a quick hit?

The way that I see it-if this snake is still snappy after getting enough food/TLC-it is probably going to need a new home. It is not fair for either owner or the snake.
Like i said before, if yall decide to get rid of it my friend would be more then happy to buy it off yall, and trust me it would be going to a VERY good home. just send me a message and ill give you his number if you would like to go that route
 

dtknow

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Considering I'm in Cali FL is mighty far. I suppose if I he could trade this ball python for something less imposing he might. We'll see. I just hope it works out for both of them.
 

Ookamii

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Well he breeds and sells snakes, he is accually going to be the sister company when i open my reptile shop, he has a big building with selves and tanks, proper size/lighting/heat for each snake he has. i know he has some baby retics, but if your friends is having so much trouble with a ball i dont think he would want the retic....
 

pitbulllady

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PBL: Do you think my bite was a feeding response? Wouldn't a defensive bite be merely a quick hit?

The way that I see it-if this snake is still snappy after getting enough food/TLC-it is probably going to need a new home. It is not fair for either owner or the snake.
You initially described the snake's strikes as "half-hearted feints", which does NOT sound like feeding responses, so much as defensive bluffs. A really hungry Python won't just strike and bite; it will also constrict if it manages to land a good bite, and it's not likely to let go without intervention. A sorta-hungry snake might initially mistake your hand for food, especially if it smells food at the same time, but after the first strike, it will realize its mistake. If it continues to strike, it is doing so out of something other than hunger. It's telling you to "BACK OFF".

pitbulllady
 

dtknow

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You initially described the snake's strikes as "half-hearted feints", which does NOT sound like feeding responses, so much as defensive bluffs. A really hungry Python won't just strike and bite; it will also constrict if it manages to land a good bite, and it's not likely to let go without intervention. A sorta-hungry snake might initially mistake your hand for food, especially if it smells food at the same time, but after the first strike, it will realize its mistake. If it continues to strike, it is doing so out of something other than hunger. It's telling you to "BACK OFF".

pitbulllady
The snake basically would open its mouth and move towards my hand if my hand was near its head(keep in mind it was also quite cold so it may not have been up to snuff). I decided to see what would happened if I allowed it to actually have a chance. Once it made contact with the hand it made a solid bite, constricted and held on for about 5 minutes.(kept my hand still and he eventually let go) After this bite no more attempts to bite were noted.

Basically I am wondering if this particular snake is actually bad tempered, or merely hungry. His owner is quite afraid of the prospect of being bit.
 

the toe cutter

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I like to keep a little shot size bottle of neutral spirits(Vodka, Rum, Gin) just in case I get a good solid tag with constriction. A smell or drop or 2 in the mouth will just about get any snake to give up its attempt. I used to have a 8ft Red-Tail that was given to me by a friend of a friends mom when said person left for college and had no plans of looking after it. So it was barely handled and kept its cage at his parents house and needless to say he was not the friendliest customer! But even a sniff of rum would make him think twice!
 

pitbulllady

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I like to keep a little shot size bottle of neutral spirits(Vodka, Rum, Gin) just in case I get a good solid tag with constriction. A smell or drop or 2 in the mouth will just about get any snake to give up its attempt. I used to have a 8ft Red-Tail that was given to me by a friend of a friends mom when said person left for college and had no plans of looking after it. So it was barely handled and kept its cage at his parents house and needless to say he was not the friendliest customer! But even a sniff of rum would make him think twice!
Vinegar works wonders, too-most animals absolutely HATE it and will let go immediately if you put a few drops in their mouths! Problem is, it smells like vinegar, and personally, I'd rather smell any "adult beverage" than vinegar. At least alcohol evaporates quickly. I had to use vinegar to remove a very large adult female Emerald Tree Boa from my hand and arm(strong feeding response, bad aim), and if you have ever seen the teeth those babies have, you will understand why I needed her to let go FAST! That is by far the worse non-ven bite I've had, and I've been bitten by some pretty big Retics, Colombian Boas and Burms. Even the really ticked-off 14-foot wild-caught Retic that nailed me square in the face couldn't hold a candle to that six-and-a-half-foot Emmy.

pitbulllady
 
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