common mistakes for ball pythons?

gypsy cola

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 16, 2014
Messages
195
Hi everyone,

I am picking up a ball python from someone who <insert story here why they can't take care of it anymore>. For those experienced keepers what are some common mistakes you have seen with people who take care of balls? I literally know nothing about this snake (how healthy, age, sex, etc.) What are some things I should look out for if this snake is not healthy? To clarify, how can I tell if the snake is healthy or not? Anything I should do when I first take it home such as quarantine, give it bath, etc.?

Thanks!
 

Tdcandama96

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 27, 2016
Messages
29
double check for mites, they make snakes total buttholes.
nice basking spot, good sub, hide, etc. etc. also ask if they were feeding live or frozen mice.
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,099
Contrary to many keepers royals will in fact climb given the opportunity and means. So once the snake has been quarantined if you can give it a sturdy branch to climb.

I'd keep it on paper to start with until you're certain it hasn't got mites. You'll be able to see them, especially under the bottom jaw.

As above definitely find out what the previous owner was feeding. Live or FT (frozen and thawed). Mice or rats.

Also as above a hide the python feels secure in. It can be something as simple as a plastic washing up bowl turned upside down with a hole cut out of it.

Let it settle in to your house for a few days. The new smells etc. Hopefully it'd feed without issue.

Bare in mind though some royals are like some T's and will fast for long periods. Don't panic. Make sure it has fresh water and monitor it's body condition. Every couple of weeks you could offer it a small meal to see if it'll take.
 

gypsy cola

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 16, 2014
Messages
195
Contrary to many keepers royals will in fact climb given the opportunity and means. So once the snake has been quarantined if you can give it a sturdy branch to climb.

I'd keep it on paper to start with until you're certain it hasn't got mites. You'll be able to see them, especially under the bottom jaw.

As above definitely find out what the previous owner was feeding. Live or FT (frozen and thawed). Mice or rats.

Also as above a hide the python feels secure in. It can be something as simple as a plastic washing up bowl turned upside down with a hole cut out of it.

Let it settle in to your house for a few days. The new smells etc. Hopefully it'd feed without issue.

Bare in mind though some royals are like some T's and will fast for long periods. Don't panic. Make sure it has fresh water and monitor it's body condition. Every couple of weeks you could offer it a small meal to see if it'll take.
Thank you for this information, this is beyond useful. I believe this snake is coming in a 10 gallon. What do you believe is the best set up for royals?
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,099
Thank you for this information, this is beyond useful. I believe this snake is coming in a 10 gallon. What do you believe is the best set up for royals?
That's a bone of great contention. I believe a 4x2x2 vivarium for an adult female. Other keepers prefer to keep them in drawers/rack systems. It just allows them to keep lots in a small space.

A viv obviously gives them more space and allows for a proper thermal gradient.
 

gypsy cola

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 16, 2014
Messages
195
Thanks for the wealth of information @basin79.

Any common mistakes you see with newbies?

I have known quite a few people who have killed their royals when they appeared to have to proper set-up...then again they did post a million pictures of their snakes daily since acquisition. As far as I know, royals are more forgiving snakes?
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,099
Thanks for the wealth of information @basin79.

Any common mistakes you see with newbies?

I have known quite a few people who have killed their royals when they appeared to have to proper set-up...then again they did post a million pictures of their snakes daily since acquisition. As far as I know, royals are more forgiving snakes?
A stat is a necessity. If you go for a viv and use a ceramic bulb it has to be guarded.

Apart from that they're pretty straight forward to keep.
 

Kayis

Arachnopeon
Joined
Sep 26, 2016
Messages
37
Feel it up....firm body would mean it's feeding well. I keep my BP's in a tub on a rack system. Heat tape on one side connected to a stat. Add hides to cold/warm side and make sure water is available. For sub i just use newspaper. A bulb is not needed but your choice. They fast and will refuse food at times...don't worry about it. Longest fast I had was a little over three months. These guys are pretty simple to care for as long as simple conditions are met.
 

Cheo Samad

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
Messages
38
Also gonna advocate for tubs/racks here. Much better for holding humidity. Quarentine away from any other snakes or reptiles for at least 60 days and much better would be 90.

However you set it up try to get an overall ambient temperature of about 80 with a warm belly heat spot of 90. The belly heat and ambient temps are both important for digestion. Humidity should stay in the 60-70 range. Too low or too high will be a cause for respiratory infection (and when on the low end bad patchy sheds. They'll shed in one solid go every time if the humidity is in a good range.)

Plenty of hides to make it feel secure. It's a snake that if it is comfortable will spend the majority of its time crammed and hiding.

First picture is after a fresh cleaning so she was out in the open, a few hours later you'll find them nice and crammed up wherever they feel secure. Final picture is a nice full shed. Best of luck!
 

Attachments

Cassiusstein

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
102
I agree, if looks aren't too important to you, tubs are the best, along with heat tape. BPs are nocturnal, and IME do a lot better with belly heat.

A big newbie mistake is overfeeding. If the snakes tail starts becoming rounded, it's becoming obese.

A good tip I have for a fasting ball python, is either a prekill with its head split open, or african soft fur rats. They go absolutely nuts for ASF. You definitely have to be careful though, as they can become "hooked" on them lol. But I have NEVER had a ball python refuse an ASF.
 

Cassiusstein

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
102
Also, invest in a temp gun. They'll give you the best reading of your ambient heat, hot, and cold side.
 

viper69

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
11,556
Hi everyone,

I am picking up a ball python from someone who <insert story here why they can't take care of it anymore>. For those experienced keepers what are some common mistakes you have seen with people who take care of balls? I literally know nothing about this snake (how healthy, age, sex, etc.) What are some things I should look out for if this snake is not healthy? To clarify, how can I tell if the snake is healthy or not? Anything I should do when I first take it home such as quarantine, give it bath, etc.?

Thanks!
1st go to Ballpythons.net it's THE place for balll python info. Not a single question we don't have answered over there.

Look for mites

Examine the size of the tail, examine the spine as well. If you see the spine a bit, snake is too thin.

Need 2 hides, one at the warm end, one at the cool end of home.

For sub, I use pure aspen.

Get a fecal test for it at the local vet.

NO HOT ROCKS-- they equal thermal burns.

The best type of heat is from a radiant heat panel IMO.

If you get an under the tank heater (UTH), get an Ultratherm, they are the best, but only raise ambient temps by about 5degrees. They are good for belly heat though.

If have the cash, a "pig blanket" made by Kane is the gold standard.
 

Python

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
631
Also look for bubbles in the nose or mouth. Respiratory infections are easy to get. They're also easy to get rid of but if left unchecked they can be deadly. I've seen many people lose otherwise healthy snakes to a respiratory infection simply because they didn't know what it was or they ignored advice to treat it
 

Cheo Samad

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
Messages
38
That also^

If you see any sort of bubbles, do not take the snake home. Going to need vet bills, cultures, and antibiotics to treat it. There are too many healthy animals to choose from to have to settle on a train wreck.
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,099
Also look for bubbles in the nose or mouth. Respiratory infections are easy to get. They're also easy to get rid of but if left unchecked they can be deadly. I've seen many people lose otherwise healthy snakes to a respiratory infection simply because they didn't know what it was or they ignored advice to treat it
Agreed. Nose bubbles, lots of mouth saliva and heavy wheezing. Although a wheezing sound can be heard when a shed is imminent too.

RI aren't always easy to treat though. I lost an adult female blood python to an RI. Got her on a broad antibiotic whilst her results came through from her swab. She never made it. Obviously prevention is better than cure but if there's any doubt get them to a vet asap.

I took 1 to find my retics to the vet for a very slight popping I heard. Nowt wrong with her but I wasn't taking any chances. RI's are absolutely terrible.
 

Jones0911

Arachnobaron
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
406
I agree, if looks aren't too important to you, tubs are the best, along with heat tape. BPs are nocturnal, and IME do a lot better with belly heat.

A big newbie mistake is overfeeding. If the snakes tail starts becoming rounded, it's becoming obese.

A good tip I have for a fasting ball python, is either a prekill with its head split open, or african soft fur rats. They go absolutely nuts for ASF. You definitely have to be careful though, as they can become "hooked" on them lol. But I have NEVER had a ball python refuse an ASF.
Where can I get these ASF?

Ive never seen them for sale in the United States
 
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