Corn Snake or Ball Python

PatrickM

Arachnopeon
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Feb 8, 2011
Messages
28
I found a corn snake and a ball python for sale on craigslist. Both include the terrarium with equipment and are around $50 each. If anyone has any advice on how to make sure the snakes or healthy, or which of the two I should go with I would greatly appreciate it. Down the road I want a False Water Cobra, so I'm hoping to get some good experience before it. Thanks!
 

Jmugleston

Arachnoprince
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Jul 31, 2007
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I found a corn snake and a ball python for sale on craigslist. Both include the terrarium with equipment and are around $50 each. If anyone has any advice on how to make sure the snakes or healthy, or which of the two I should go with I would greatly appreciate it. Down the road I want a False Water Cobra, so I'm hoping to get some good experience before it. Thanks!
Both are great starter pets. Whichever you decide you should check for a few things. Is the snake of good weight? If it is underweight, or obese stay away from it. Check for external parasites as well. I would stay away from either if the conditions in which they were kept are not proper. If the snake has not had access to proper husbandry in a while then you may be inheriting more problems than you desire. Check for physical issues as well. Is the snake wheezing, is there mucus coming from the mouth or nostrils, open wounds, kinks in the spine, etc.

If both appear healthy, then the choice becomes what type of pet snake do you want. Corn snakes are generally more active than ball pythons. When you're holding them they will be moving around quite a bit. Ball pythons are more laid back and will typically sit for a while. If your end goal is more colubrids (false water cobra) then the cornsnake might be a good first start. Granted there are other intermediates you should keep before jumping to the false water cobra, but that is for another discussion. The other advantage to cornsnakes is they don't go off feed like ball pythons do. The only time our corns stop eating is when we cool them for breeding. Ball pythons on the other hand are notorious for fasting. We have had ball pythons do this for months on end. If they're healthy it doesn't affect them much, but it is still frustrating for the keeper. (Especially when the non-eating snake is an important combination for a breeding project!). I'd say if both are healthy go with the corn. It is potentially a better "starter" pet considering your goals.
 

Rue

Arachnoknight
Joined
Feb 24, 2011
Messages
239
I agree with Jmugleston's post.

Corns are likely a bit easier. I'm also not sure about American state legislations. Corn snakes I think...are permitted everywhere (if you move)...the ball python might not be...just a consideration if you might be moving.
 

Lorgakor

Arachnomom
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Another big difference to keep in mind is their metabolisms. Colubrids like corn snakes have a higher metabolism than ball pythons, so they poo alot more. That is the main reason that I don't keep any corns.
 

PatrickM

Arachnopeon
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Feb 8, 2011
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Hey guys thanks a ton for your input. I spoke with the owner of the corn snake, and apparently it was a child's snake and the child decided she didn't want to take care of it anymore. Her parents aren't exactly experts so I'm interested in finding out what condition its in. Apparently it was fed in a feeding tub once a week or so and the cage was cleaned regularly. However they have no heating source for it and it was always kept at room temperature.

I'm willing to take on potential problems to give this guy a better home. However, being I'm not the expert here, would these potential problems be to big for me to handle?
 
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Rue

Arachnoknight
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Feb 24, 2011
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239
There's no problem.

I feed my snake once every 10 days (seems to be what she prefers), and I feed her in her tank (big no-no...you should use a feeder tub - but this works better for me).

While I have an undertank heating pad and a regular lightbulb...our house is quite cold in the fall and winter. If their house is kept warmer, it's not an issue.
 

Lorgakor

Arachnomom
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Which one are you talking about? A corn at room temp isn't that big a deal if the house is warm enough, but a ball python needs much warmer temps.
 

kevin91172

Arachnobaron
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Corn all the way.I have both but the balls sometimes test my patience and their feeding like others have already mentioned....

---------- Post added at 08:17 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:46 PM ----------

Which one are you talking about? A corn at room temp isn't that big a deal if the house is warm enough, but a ball python needs much warmer temps.
Yeppers on this one
 

bravesvikings20

Arachnosquire
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
Messages
69
Ball pythons are not illegal as of now, but check your local laws on the corn snake. In many states you cannot keep snakes that are native without a permit.
 

PatrickM

Arachnopeon
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Feb 8, 2011
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Well I got the corn snake. Been really active and is doing well. Check it out!


Also, the previous owner has been using an Aspen bedding for substrate. I noticed on the package it said nothing about using for reptiles. Any opinions on this?



 

Jmugleston

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Well I got the corn snake. Been really active and is doing well. Check it out!


Also, the previous owner has been using an Aspen bedding for substrate. I noticed on the package it said nothing about using for reptiles. Any opinions on this?



I use aspen in my rack systems and I like it. Aspen lacks the oils you find in Cedar (and some pine) so it is safe to use for reptiles. Some prefer to remove the snake from the cage in order to avoid any chance of accidental ingestion of substrate.
 

Rue

Arachnoknight
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Feb 24, 2011
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239
She's gorgeous! Congrats!

Aspen is, as Jmugleston said, safe. I prefer the Reptile Bark material though. I think it's nicer looking and I find it easier to scoop the poop out of (easier to see all the mess and get it out).

I also wonder if it's better for help with shedding...rougher surface to help pull the skin off?
 

Lorgakor

Arachnomom
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While aspen is perfectly fine, I would ditch it for now and go with either paper towel, or unmarked newsprint. The reason being is that you just got this snake and you need to make sure it has no issues. If it is kept on paper towel you will be able to see if it has any mites, as they are easily visible on the white background. After a month or so you can switch back to aspen or whatever you like. Though when using a loose substrate it is best to feed in another container to avoid any problems with ingestion.
 

PatrickM

Arachnopeon
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Feb 8, 2011
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Hey thanks a lot for the help. I'm going to go ahead and switch the substrate to paper towels. Do also have a feeding tub too. Thanks again!
 
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