Which one to get

Masurai

Arachnobaron
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I want to get a snake but can't decide what to get. The pet store i go to has ball pythons and red-tail boas.
 

K-TRAIN

Arachnobaron
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I want to get a snake but can't decide what to get. The pet store i go to has ball pythons and red-tail boas.
well, if you want my opinion, unless you have room for a large cage. (normally you would either build one yourself or pay a good amount for a custom cage) go with the ball python. i've been looking into red tails, and they are a little harder to keep because of there cage size (about 10 ft snake full grown).
 

Mushroom Spore

Arachnoemperor
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Do NOT get a ball python from a pet store. Doubly don't get one from a pet store if it's a big chain like PetCo or Petsmart. They're going to be wild-caught, sickly, half-starved, and like as not they'll NEVER eat well, if they ever eat at all.

Order from an online breeder/dealer with a good rep, ask around on the dealer reviews forum here or on faunaclassifieds. You'll get a healthy snake, and odds are good even with overnight shipping you'll still pay less than a pet shop will charge you.
 

Masurai

Arachnobaron
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Do NOT get a ball python from a pet store. Doubly don't get one from a pet store if it's a big chain like PetCo or Petsmart. They're going to be wild-caught, sickly, half-starved, and like as not they'll NEVER eat well, if they ever eat at all.

Order from an online breeder/dealer with a good rep, ask around on the dealer reviews forum here or on faunaclassifieds. You'll get a healthy snake, and odds are good even with overnight shipping you'll still pay less than a pet shop will charge you.
Actually the pet store i go to is one of the few good ones. They get all their animals from a breeder, and are well fed.
 

Goomba

Arachnobaron
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Ball Python. Beautiful colors. Conveinient size. Etc.
 

K-TRAIN

Arachnobaron
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how hard or easy are they to care for
if you mean ball pythons, there pretty easy. if you get a small one, like 1 1/2 ft
or smaller, you could keep it temporarily in a 10 gallon or a lees herp keeper (the $20 long one.) you cant keep them in that for long though. thats what mines currently in, but its gonna change in a few days when i get a twenty gallon. by the way, some people will disagree with that, but if you want to try it, try it. it works for me. you can use a heat mat too (just my suggestion.) the only thing that seems to make them "hard" to keep is that sometimes they refuse to eat (thats what i've been told anyway. i've never seen it happen.) provide a water bowl large enough to soak in when its shedding, a hide, and thats about it. im sure others will give you some good advice too.

-k-train
 

Snake_Eyes

Arachnoknight
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Do NOT get a ball python from a pet store. Doubly don't get one from a pet store if it's a big chain like PetCo or Petsmart. They're going to be wild-caught, sickly, half-starved, and like as not they'll NEVER eat well, if they ever eat at all.
I'll be sure to let my pet store CB ball python of 3+ years know that...thanks. :rolleyes:
 

Mushroom Spore

Arachnoemperor
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Actually the pet store i go to is one of the few good ones. They get all their animals from a breeder, and are well fed.
If you are absolutely positive about this (because there have been stores that lied about where they got their animals, so they could make a sale), then go ahead. :) The signs of a healthy ball python are clear eyes (they might fog over when approaching a shed, but if it looks like they have old 'eyecaps' stuck on there, you'll have a problem), and the eyes should be smooth, round, and without wrinkles. There should be no pieces of old skin stuck to them, and they should be round-bodied; if you can clearly see the spine sticking up, they're underweight. Then there's the obvious stuff, check for mites, fluid in the nostrils/mouth, skin problems, hissing/wheezing. Wrinkly, saggy skin can be a sign of dehydration.

Do they get babies started on pre-killed prey for you? This is important. You can always try to switch them from live prey to pre-killed yourself, but an inexperienced owner is likely to just end up frustrated.

As far as care goes, the last post is pretty good, although I would add that they need TWO hides, one that goes on the heated end (88-90F, an undertank heating pad is best), and one that goes on the cooler end (80F). Note that in bigger tanks, the 80F point might be more like the middle of the tank. Not a problem! Just put the "cool end" hide in the middle of the tank, where it's 80, and you can put the big old water bowl on the far end of the tank. DO NOT let anyone try to sell you a hot rock. Ask any vet why they're a bad idea.

They also need high humidity (60-80%), this is VERY important, as they'll get sick/shed badly if they get too dry. You can accomplish this by covering like 80-90% of the screen lid with a towel or something, and either misting the tank or wetting the towel itself. One good way is to get a bunch of paper towels, fold them up, wet them, and then stick them on top of the screen but under the towel. This gets humidity up FAST.

If you can keep their temps and their humidity right, they're easy pets. I got mine in August '05, and he was already several months old. He remained in his ten gallon tank until Christmas, when my dad got him a 20-long as a present. He's still in there today, and doing good, though I think he's about ready for some bigger hides.

The best thing to put on the bottom of the tank is aspen shavings (not pine or cedar, they're toxic to small animals). Balls like to burrow, so about 6-8 inches will make them very happy.

I would try to get a male if you can. They often go on long fasts over the winter due to mating season, and that can be frustrating, but females may produce (infertile) eggs even when they haven't been mated. Complications due to not being able to lay those eggs properly can kill them quickly, I just saw someone on another pet forum lose their snake to this problem with absolutely no warning signs. It's rare, though.

I'll be sure to let my pet store CB ball python of 3+ years know that...thanks. :rolleyes:
Sadly, happy stories from ball pythons purchased in pet shops are the exception, not the rule, and I don't consider it worth the risk for a snake newbie in particular to try their luck. I'm very happy yours is fine. But the fact remains, I and countless others have seen and reported the condition of balls at chain pet stores time and again.

There are bad breeders out there too, but at least you can look up reviews and see who's got a record for shipping out poor-quality animals.
 

AviculariaLover

Arachnoknight
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Oct 20, 2006
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I agree with the consensus to get a ball python. I also agree that it's very important to find out where the ball came from. If it's a big chain store I'd stay away, but smaller pet stores may get snakes straight from breeders. The pet mostly actually hets for lots of different morphs, so its an awesome deal on healthy snakes. But not every pet store is going to have healthy CB babies, and they might lie, so its a tough call. Use your best judgement is all I can say.

I have a big heathy three year old girl that I got from a breeder online (getting one online might also be cheaper, even with shipping), and a little boy only a few months old from a pet store. They are by far my favorite snakes.
 

Snake_Eyes

Arachnoknight
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Sadly, happy stories from ball pythons purchased in pet shops are the exception, not the rule, and I don't consider it worth the risk for a snake newbie in particular to try their luck. I'm very happy yours is fine. But the fact remains, I and countless others have seen and reported the condition of balls at chain pet stores time and again.

There are bad breeders out there too, but at least you can look up reviews and see who's got a record for shipping out poor-quality animals.
I was just busting your balls. ;)

I hear what your saying though...a guy I work with has had two ball pythons die on him in a year that he bought at Petco. I can't say for certain that he bought the snakes unhealthy, there is a possibility that they became that way in his care (the guys an idiot).
 

Masurai

Arachnobaron
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Where online would be a good place to buy one. I checked on here and all i saw was one that was already a few feet long, and i want a baby.
 

Beardo

Arachnoprince
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99% of Ball Pythons sold in pet stores are wild caught (aka "farmed" or "captive hatched").....if its a baby Ball Python being sold in a pet store, especially at this time of the year, I almost guarantee its an import.

Nothing wrong with imports, just make sure you know what you're getting into prior to purchasing the snake.
 

Mushroom Spore

Arachnoemperor
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Where online would be a good place to buy one. I checked on here and all i saw was one that was already a few feet long, and i want a baby.
Actually, if it's not too expensive, I'd just go ahead and get that adult. It's already going to be an established feeder with a good weight, and you'll save on the cost of buying a baby-sized setup and THEN buying a new setup when it's bigger.
 

AviculariaLover

Arachnoknight
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kingsnake.com has tons of classifieds for snakes, you'll surely find a nice looking normal ball python, of any size.
 

Avic_Addict

Arachnosquire
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Apr 2, 2007
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If this is going to be your first snake, I'd say scrap the whole Ball Python idea and look for a corn snake. They are so easy to care for that its pretty difficult to get it wrong, plus they are generally less expensive, easily available and come in loads of cool colour morphs. Once you've gotten some experience with owning a corn snake you'll be better prepared to deal with any feeding problems a ball python may throw at you.
 

Grim91Z

Arachnosquire
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If you wanna go budget, here's what you do. First off, you wanna have everything set up before you get your BP.

-Sterilite tubs work GREAT for keeping snakes. A good 16 quart tub with a locking lid (IMPORTANT, trust me) would make a good starter home for you hatchling/yearling. An adult can live well in a 120+ quart tub You can get a cheap hot knife (soldering iron, whatever they're called) and puncture two rows of holes about two inches apart around the upper part of the cage, and then some one the lid if needed (to keep humidity down).
-Newsprint is great for bedding, easy to spot clean with and cheap (obviously) to change out. Of course, you can use the aforementioned aspen (which I use for yearlings of all species).
-As for a water dish, well anything that can hold water would do. You can probably use a small cat dish designed not to knock over. You can also buy a small rock looking dish from a pet store.
-Hides can be made from upside down plastic plant pots with a half hole soldered out (same tool used to puncture the enclosures ventilation holes). But again, pet shops can provide you with natural looking crafts.
-Heat. Order flexwatt and all the jazz needed online. This and this Should do it. Rich will even crimp the wires for you free of charge. Be warned, it should be controlled by a thermostat or dimmer of some kind. You can make a dimmer at home for under 10 bucks. It's not the best but it can suffice and I have great luck with it. Well, it works better than those Reptitherm 500's you see at Petco.
-Last but certainly not least, reading your temps. One word, Accu-rite. Walmart sells dual thermometer with hygrometers for 12 bucks a pop. NEVER use stick on or dial thermo's.

That pretty much covers it, you can add decor like fake foliage or baked branches from outdoors (no cedar, bad for reptiles). Now after you've got this set up put together (for under 50 bucks it seems, too) it's now time to pick your pet. Good luck and have fun.:)
 

C.S

Arachnopeon
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May 27, 2007
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If this is going to be your first snake, I'd say scrap the whole Ball Python idea and look for a corn snake. They are so easy to care for that its pretty difficult to get it wrong, plus they are generally less expensive, easily available and come in loads of cool colour morphs. Once you've gotten some experience with owning a corn snake you'll be better prepared to deal with any feeding problems a ball python may throw at you.

Agree 100%:D ...
I have/will never suggest a BP as a first snake to anyone [even though besides a cornsnake ,ball pythons are often suggested as a "good" first choice].
BP's can be a MAJOR pain in the ass to deal with [feeding issues ] and will often force folks to get OUT of the hobby.In my 18yrs keeping various species of snakes , BP's have been the major source of aggravation:wall: :wall: .All snakes are known to take fasts from time to time BUT not like a ball:evil: even the well started CBB specimens from breeders;)
 

froggyman

Arachnoangel
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i agree but kingsnakes are about the same as corns and i just love the "banana" kingsnake
 

AnthrpicDecadnc

Arachnosquire
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Do NOT get a ball python from a pet store. Doubly don't get one from a pet store if it's a big chain like PetCo or Petsmart. They're going to be wild-caught, sickly, half-starved, and like as not they'll NEVER eat well, if they ever eat at all.

Order from an online breeder/dealer with a good rep, ask around on the dealer reviews forum here or on faunaclassifieds. You'll get a healthy snake, and odds are good even with overnight shipping you'll still pay less than a pet shop will charge you.
That's not true, i scored a captive bred hatchling (c-bred, not c-hatched) She handles very well, eats, and is very healthy. Also, she rarely balls up.

I've heard good things about both snakes, and there will be people who will tell you to get one or the other. though a ball is very low maintenence, they still can be rather finicky eaters, c.b or w.c. the boa gets rather large. you decide.
 
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