Our new ball python...

ember

Arachnosquire
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Feb 13, 2007
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I love this fella! He is confident, comfortable, curious, relaxed, and very personable. He does not seem fearful or stressed, has not balled up once, and really seems relaxed and comfortable while held. He REALLY likes my husband... which is cool. If held and my husband comes near, the snake will stretch out towards him like a kid favoring a parent. It is endearing.

He is a rescue from a pretty sad state prior to coming home with us... he has been burnt, gouged, kept in a small tank with no hides... and yet, he is the coolest ball python (energy and personality-wise) that I have ever been around (first one I have had as an adult - had them as a child, but that hardly counts, right?).

No name yet. I am leaning towards Kaa, however.

Novility shots with my husband and son:




Here is the new set up. Note, the substrate is bed-a-beast style coconut fiber (mock peat moss) mashed down compact and flat. There is no sand or anything, just an odd reflection/refraction where the side of the glass was steamed up because I used warm water to reconstitute the substrate. His hide box is a styrofoam box that I cut a hole into for entry, and it is lined with newspaper on the bottom. The lid comes off so I can get to the snake if I need to. My son and I colored a jungle theme on it so "the snake would feel at home" (so it was no so damn white and unsightly). It has all be a great homeschool project for my son, and of course we are way into it (our home includes dogs, ferrets, tortoises, arachnids, etc).














 

Mushroom Spore

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Aww, they're such sweet snakes. Good on your for the rescue! Is he on dead prey? Coming from a crappy background like that, you'll probably have to switch him yourself, which could be a pain.

About the enclosure, looks like you'll probably need a bigger tank as soon as you can get it. They aren't terribly active snakes, but you need room for TWO snug hides (one on the cool end, 80F, and one on the warm end at 90F) and a water bowl big/deep enough for him to get down in it and soak if he so chooses.

I'd get rid of that lamp. You'll have to turn it off at night or upset the snake, but if he gets cold at night you could be in big trouble. Plus heat lamps will drop your humidity to nothing, and that will make him very sick very quickly--they need about 50-60% or better, and even higher if they're to have any hope of shedding properly. Investing in a nice UTH to go under one end of the tank is your best bet.

Annnnnnd these snakes LOVE to burrow, actually. So if you really want to see some neat tunnels and the like, give him a ton more of that fiber, or about eight-ten inches of aspen shavings. Mine loves that stuff. :)

btw, my boy Rorschach does that 'reaching' thing too...except that he'd reach for other people, but never let go of me. And the one time he ever broke out of his tank, he got cold and scared and crawled into my bed. Woke me up at 6 AM on a Saturday, but I was just glad he ran for his mom and not, say, out into the rest of the house. My housemates at the time had pet rats. {D
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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We has been on live. I am willing to feed live if I have to, but I would rather f/t if I can get him to take it...

Our house is WARM, so night heating is still in the 70+'s when the lamp is off. That is one of those nice expensive bulbs that we use for the tortoises; full UV and all that jazz - not super duper heat, but the warm side is in the 90's no less.

The substrate holds moisture really well, and I am keen on the zen garden affect of keeping a habitat, so hopefully with good maintenance the humidity level will be okay.

I guess I could increase the substrate. I did not even think that he would like to burrow.


Is there any risk at all about him burning himself with an under the tank heater?
 

Mushroom Spore

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Our house is WARM, so night heating is still in the 70+'s when the lamp is off. That is one of those nice expensive bulbs that we use for the tortoises; full UV and all that jazz - not super duper heat, but the warm side is in the 90's no less.
The thing is, they're nocturnal and don't need UV, so you're kind of wasting a lot of money there. ;) And a cage temp in the 70s is not really that awesome--80F is the standard low, and that's WITH the option to go somewhere warmer. These guys are extremely sensitive to their husbandry needs not being met, trust me. They're quite easy to take care of otherwise, but if something's off...

The substrate holds moisture really well, and I am keen on the zen garden affect of keeping a habitat, so hopefully with good maintenance the humidity level will be okay.
Do you have a way of measuring the humidity in the tank? This is AMAZINGLY important, especially with that lamp. I have a lightless ceramic bulb that I plug in for a few hours at a time when the house is having heating problems, and it drops the tank humidity from 70% to 20% in about an hour or less. If you keep a ball at that level for any real length of time, it's going to get bad.

I guess I could increase the substrate. I did not even think that he would like to burrow.
Their natural environment isn't jungles, but grasslands/savannah, where they live in burrows. Usually they move in after eating the rodent that made it. They do love them some burrows. :)

Is there any risk at all about him burning himself with an under the tank heater?
Nope. A good quality heater, barring malfunction, will top out at about 100F coming up through bare glass. Hot, but not too terribly hot. Then you put in a LOT of substrate, which both allows some of the heat to disperse (averages 90F on six-seven inches of aspen shavings) and lets the snake only need to dig as deep as it wants to get the heat it wants.
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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One under tank heater --- check.

Thanks for the information :)
 

green_bottle_04

Arachnobaron
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yes....and under tank heater is a must. i keep a 50 watt Day-Glo bulb on all of mine during the day in addition to the UTH's. i dont lose humidity because i have a glass top cover 80% of the cage. the only part not covered is where the light fixture sits. so that holds in heat and humidity.
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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Well...

We revamped his tank (which is large... he just happens to also be large - not quite 4 feet long). I covered 2/3 of the lid with thick plastic wrap to help with retaining humidity. I also added a really cool hide on the warm side, an under tank heater, and changed the water pan to a smaller corner dish that he could still get wet in if he wanted to, but does not consume the basking area.

I am so happy! Last night, Kaa (nearly 4 foot long adult male, rehomed to us recently) ate his first meal with us... and his first meal of F/T ever... with ease!

We have the ferrets out, and our tiny white one came up to Kaa's tank and was rolling around next to it, generally being ferretish. I watched Kaa come out of his hide and become very interested in our tiny energetic white ferret. She got one good look at him looking at her, and she took off to a different room.

Later that evening, Kaa was very active. I was going to wait for a few more days to feed him, and spend that time reading up about tips on switching to F/T, but his response to the ferret must have kicked his belly into over-drive. He seemed to be looking for a meal, if that makes sense.

So, I took the thawed ratty out of the fridge, and set it (in a bag) and a pot of HOT (but just as hot as a sink could get it) water for about 10 minutes. The result was a very warm little dead rat.

I brought it in and opened Kaa's cage. Right away he started to move into position. I jumped the gun and set it down, thinking that he would strike and coil. He came up and NUDGED it, over and over. Then he laid his head on top of it. I put my hand in to get the rat and re-try the feeding, and Kaa struck towards me! He put his head right back down on the rat. The damn snake was resource-guarding like a hungry puppy!

So, I let him be. An hour later, nothing had changed. I reached in and carefully maneuvered Kaa away from the rat via is tail area, and as he turned to see what the hell I was doing, I slowly removed the rat. I was very soft about it all.

Then, I held the rat's tail and dangled him inside, font rat legs touching substrate. I moved him around a bit, and Kaa followed excitedly. Then I made a "squeak" sound that (to my credit) sounded just like a rat that was startled, and Kaa HIT IT HARD. He coiled like mad, and then thrashed many times. He dunked the rat into his water bowl and held it in there for a bit... and the worked his mouth around from the middle of the rat to the head. He then swallowed it joyfully, and in very short time. He acted like he expected another one later that night... but he is happily resting and digesting today.

Not too bad! What a forgiving snake of my newbieness!
 

Mushroom Spore

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He dunked the rat into his water bowl and held it in there for a bit...
Ahaha that's so gross. {D But the good news is, now that he's proven he'll take F/T readily, you can get a rubbermaid bin or something to feed him in, and the newness of eating in a seperate bin shouldn't bother him TOO much (but learning to take f/t *and* in a bin at once might have put him off eating). They're much easier to clean up, plus you don't have to worry about the "associating anything coming into the enclosure (like hands) with dinnertime" problems.

You said he still seemed hungry--how big around is he, and how big around is the rat? If you give him one that's about 1-1.5x the girth of the fattest part of his body, that should fill him up. If he's between available prey sizes, or is being a butt about accepting larger prey (mine took MONTHS to switch from hopper mice to adults), you can try offering two smaller prey items at once. However, this isn't very good long-term, as the ratio of fur/bones/teeth to actual meat isn't so great with multiple small animals.
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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Well, it was a large medium male rat, which was almost as big as I think he *should* have. It was a touch smaller than he *should* have... however, it had not been quite a week since the last feeding, so it was not essential that he eat a huge meal. I was going to wait a few days before feeding, but he was freaking out trying to eat my ferret through the tank... I figured that it was a good day to try the F/T! :} Apparently I was right. :D
 

Mushroom Spore

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I was going to wait a few days before feeding, but he was freaking out trying to eat my ferret through the tank... I figured that it was a good day to try the F/T! :} Apparently I was right. :D
Haha, you definitely were. Just be extra careful that cage of yours is escape-proof...I have a feeling one animal or the other wouldn't survive. {D
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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Oh yes, no escaping for any of the critters... the dogs want to eat the ferrets and everything else that moves, the ferrets want to eat the tortoises, the snake wants to eat the ferrets, and the inverts want to eat me... We are getting rats soon (a few as pets, and the offspring as food) and our lives will be almost complete. To add to the fun, we always have a house full of children. It may sound like hell, but it is a blast. Everything well fed and in fear of their lives ;P (I kid, I kid..). Actually, everyone's needs are met and are generally oblivious to the existence of the other critters in the home. Supervision, supervision, supervision! :D {D
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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Now, here is Kaa's new set up. We have added plastic wrap over most of the top, put an under tank heater under one side, added a hide in the warmer side of the tank, and reduced the size of the water dish. He is super cozy!





 

phil jones

Arachnoprince
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hi i love to have one but my PARTNER HATES them :( :( and i would not like to get BITTEN :8o :8o :8o so i will have to stay with the ( t ) and the partner{D {D :D thank for the picts a nice snake to have :clap: :clap: :clap: :worship: :worship: :worship: ;) === phil
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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I was brutalized by a garter snake. My ball python? Well, the strike LOOKS impressive! {D
 
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