Animal Stories - Ball Python

Animal-World Information about: Ball Python

The handsome, sweet tempered Ball Python is one of the most favored and adored pet snakes!
Latest Animal Stories
gator - 2010-06-17
I got a baby royal ball python 2 weeks ago at a reptile expo. It eats fine and seems healthy. But it is the most aggressive 1 I have ever seen. I've had ball pythons before my biggest was bout 3 1/2ft long. I never had a problem or seen 1 even shake its tail. This baby is so aggressive I don't want it around my gf's kids unless it calms down. Is this really normal for a baby ball to even shake its tail?

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  • weldon rhoades - 2011-08-17
    There are a few reasons your itty pet has a huge attitude.The first reason they bite is they feel threatened. This could be due to him not being acustumed to handling. Second could be that your not feeding him enough. Babies need fed 2 and maybe 3 times a week. Third could be that he's hurt. Maybe has been bruised by misshandling or even abuse before you got him. 4th reason is, he isnt a pure Ball and may have been mix bred with a more aggressive breed for instance a reticulated.
  • Michele Elise - 2012-05-24
    No it isn't normal for a ball to shake his tail. For any baby snake, I don't care what breed it is. It is eat or be eaten when they are itty bitty babies. Of course by now you have gotten rid of the snake or gotten over your problem. I think its unlikely that your ball is a cross as it would have been quite a lot more expensive and I think you would have noticed that. The next time you have a baby you may consider actually allowing yourself to be bitten. A baby is going to literally give you only a pin prick of blood if that and it may help you to dismiss your fear easily.
nancy - 2011-03-31
I HAVE 2 QUESTIONS :: what are the 2 spike looking things about 2 inch. from my ball pythons tail? Also, please help also by telling me how I would go about finding out my snakes sex w/out going to the vet...thanx!

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  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2011-03-31
    The spikes on the Ball Python (Python regius) are called spurs and most pythons and boas have them. They are located towards the base of the tail and both males and females have them. Males often use them in their mating/courtship rituals.

    Sexing snakes can be difficult or harmful if you are not experienced with how to do it. There is a probing method where a probe is inserted into the cloaca opening (near the base of the tail) towards the tip of the tail and how far the probe goes in will tell you if it is a female or male. The probe usually goes in further for males. There are a couple other methods as well, however I would recommend taking your snake to a vet if you are not experienced with sexing snakes.
  • Nikki Well - 2011-04-05
    The two spikes on both sides of the vent are called anal spurs. And you can take your snake to a local pet shop with reptile experience and they will sex your snake for you.
  • Natasha - 2011-06-30
    So I have some great news... I can answer both of your questions in a few words.
    Those spikes.. are it's a penis.
    And you have a baby boy. :D
  • derek - 2011-09-20
    They are its anal spers and you have a male like I do
  • Michele Elise - 2012-05-24
    Go with the first answer from doesn't mean you have a boy! Though often the spurs are larger on a male. The spurs are definitely not the penis. They are used by the male and female to facilitate them staying together during the mating procedure.
darick - 2011-07-16
Hi, I am just getting in to snakes and I want a ball python but i don't want my family getting hurt so is this a good snake to be a family snake

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  • Blaine Bassett - 2011-10-30
    Ball Pythons are very gentile snakes. I have never had any problems with mine at all, just remember to play with it often to make sure that they do not become aggressive. Feed your snake in a separate 'box'. This way the snake will not attribute being picked up with feeding.
  • Lucylemonpip - 2012-01-18
    Ball/Royal Pythons make brilliant pets. I handle mine quite a lot and although they can be a bit head shy, once they settle, and realise who you are, this stops, unless you make a quick movement. I can walk around with my Royal around my neck and he'll happily stay there. They are inquisitive and gentle, unaggressive snakes and easy to keep, although some can have problems not eating for a while; however see my feeding tip under Elis message above, which may help. Your family cannot be harmed by a Royal; they are not strong enough to constrict an adult and if you are unhappy about the tightness of the grip, if carrying the snake around your neck, they are easy to remove. They like to grip onto your hand and anchor themselves, as security. They are lovely snakes to own. I have a Corn Snake too, they are also gentle and safe snakes, and make good pets. Both my snakes know when it's me who is handling them; I can tell by their relaxed body language. My Corn likes to be gently stroked and will sit for many minutes enjoying this.
  • Carrie - 2012-02-06
    I 8 beautiful ball python. They are the most docile animals I have ever had the joy of interacting with. My 7 year old daughter carries them around everywhere. They are her best friends. She even assists me in feeding them. She is more afraid of the rats. I highly recommend them as family pets.
  • Michele Elise - 2012-05-24
    Your two best bets are indeed the Ball Python and Corn Snake. Neither are dangerous to humans. Your considerations perhaps should lie more with keeping your snake safe from the family. You will want a secure enclosure with clamps on the top (I'm assuming you will keep it in an aquarium tank) The things that are a danger to the snake are the snake escaping, other pets attacking it or getting into his cage, and children mishandling the snake because they don't know better. I have kids, don't think I hate kids. We established a clear set of rules with my children. I think that is key! No going in the cage without an adult present (remember we're not afraid of the snake hurting the child really but mishandling of the snake) My other rules included we do not put a reptile near our face EVER! because a bite to the face is so much worse than to an arm or hand. Never carry a snake draped around your neck because there are actually very few types of snake (constrictor or not) who don't incorporate a constriction into their hunting and killing techniques. This is something people miss on commonly. I have in my lifetime owned over 50 snakes and only one breed did not engage in any form of constricting their prey, a tiger rat snake, who squishes their prey to a tree branch with its body. A snake NEVER belongs around someones neck, especially not a childs. But yes ball pythons and corn snakes (gorgeous colors and patterns great snakes they should also be considered in a serious way!) Perhaps even get one of each just to appreciate the differences. Corn snakes are not nearly as demanding if you live in the U.S. and therefore less expensive to keep. I have two lovely corns and 3 balls, all of them great family pets and great to handle! and if you get either you have to think of a good name, though the snake doesn't care a whit, one of our balls is named Monty after Monty Pythons flying circus etc. and we had a corn snake named Jiffy for Jiffy Pop! Again there's kids involved! you can email if you like @ (another snake we kept that wasn't family oriented)
Amy - 2012-03-07
I have a 1yr old bp. She is the worst at shedding. I always have to wet her then I have to gently roll the dry skin off her like a wet stocking. But she loves it when I do this. She cuddles with my hand and rubbs her head on me. She is sooooooo sweet. The question I have is how do I get built up skin off of her spurs without trauma

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  • Michele Elise - 2012-05-24
    I don't know how to get the skin off the spurs and it may not be important to do so if it is left only on that hard material with none of the skin left where the spur comes out of the body. You can give her a nice warm soak for a few hours or even overnight. If you do this make sure the water is heated in some way. You don't want her to get cold. tThe water should come up to about halfway up your snake. You don't want to drown her. You do want to raise your humidity obviously. Mist her! Even Ball pythons love to be misted. too (and I hate to say this and please don't take it the wrong way) Its really great that you love your snake so much and you are concerned of her welfare...but ...she doesn't really love you. She is not cuddling up to you. She is rubbing on you for the sole purpose of removing that skin, the same way she would rub on a tree or bush if she was out in the wild. When dealing with snakes it is sooo important to remember that they are captive wild animals, especially when you start to wander away from the very docile ball python or corn snake which most people do. They are not really tremendously intelligent creatures either. I understand believe me I would love it if my 25 snakes loved me, but they just don't. That being said my cat loves me and my dog loves me and even my chickens though I don't think they love me they can learn their names and come when I call them (some of them, not all of them)A snake is influenced almost entirely by its instincts and if it gets frightened it may strike at you to defend itself. If it is hungry it may sense your body heat and try to eat you or part of you. And even the most docile snakes, even the ball python will occasionally show those sorts of behaviors, so be careful with her. Good luck!
weldon rhoades - 2011-08-17
My snake Moses was purchased about 7 weeks ago.He ate 2 mice soon as we got him home. I keep the cage about 85 on the warm side. Humidity is 45%. During shedding (took a week) and still had skin covering his lower half. Today I woke up and he was dead. Did I kill him for lack of humidity? Was it due to the fact he had trouble shedding? He always soaked in his cave.That should've been enough for him to shed. Wasn't it? There's gonna be a moses2. But I wanna make sure i dont become a snake executioneer

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  • Stevo-D - 2012-02-09
    Humidity has to be at 50 to 60 per cent and in shedding 70 to 80 during shedding. Put moss in both sides and use orchid substrate. I cover one side of the mesh lid to keep humidity up
  • Michele Elise - 2012-05-24
    We generally keep our snakes in the drawer systems. We spray ours down and the drawers keep the moisture in much better. Occasionally for one reason or another we have housed our snakes in fish tanks with a wire top or those cool cube things but if there is a mesh or screen top we go to home depot and get a small piece of plexi or acrylic and cover at least some portion of the top. BUT WE DON'T PUT IT NEAR LIGHTS as it can melt. But that is a cheap and easy way to help hold in the moisture and though not airtight by any means it does a great job upping the humidity.
    I think something else was wrong though. As far as the snake world goes Balls are pretty forgiving of mistakes and variances. Your humidity wasn't off by that much and in his wild environment in Africa you would see wet seasons and dry seasons. a bad shed can also be an indicator of parasites. I would instead, not focus on the failure here (we all have them from time to time) and you are being responsible asking the Q. Focus on the future success and if for instance you will be purchasing from the same source I would perhaps have a fecal done and see if there are parasites that need treatment
Almotasm Bellah aburukba - 2012-04-30
Hi I am about to purchase a python regius or ball python or royal python as you call it and I want to know can you feed them rabbits small rabbits and I am Libyan so what wattage heater pad is good for weather ranges in winter it's almost gonna snow and maybe in next winter it will again and in spring/fall it's 20 to 34 Celsius and in summer may reach 47 Celsius! Please help me I was planing to buy it for three years maybe help please!

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-05-01
    These snakes do well in 80-85 degree F. Rabbitts may be a bit big and can injure the snake. Wattage will depend on tank.
  • Michele Elise - 2012-05-24
    The thought occurs to me that it sounds like you're living in Libya and although I'm sure rats and mice do exist there, it sounds you perhaps have a limited source as far as food goes. (I would say don't feed your python their normal diet which is a small rodent particular to their region. I've heard that if you take this route they will be unwilling to eat anything else. I want to say its a spiny mouse, but that could be incorrect) If this is the case, I will try to translate my thoughts here, which aren't great. I have three balls, but I purchased them at 6-8 months of age. We fed ours 'teenager' sized rats in other words about 1/2 way to adulthood. Baby balls should be on mice babies and later rat babies, but if you only have rabbits available to you, I would say newborn rabbit babies is what you want to go for, and a great lot will have to do with the breed of rabbit. The food should be just slightly larger than the thickest part of your snake (just slightly!) or the same size is fine as well. Too large a food item could actually hurt your snake. I've heard some say that a snakes ribs could break with too big a food item. So judge by how big your snake is around the middle and after that your choice rabbit, mouse, or rat, if your choices are limited and good luck. I just want to say one more thing in the case that my social and cultural norms are not yours. i have no idea how old you are as far as I know you are a teenaged young man or woman whose parents won't allow a snake in the house. If its going to snow a heating pad will not heat your enclosure enough that the enclosure can remain out of doors. if you write more to us about your specific situation I think our answers could be better and your English is excellent, though you may well be American or British. Rabbits are hardly ever fed to Ball Pythons in the U.S. if at all. They are fed mice and rats of varying sizes here. Rats work out quite well for most of the life of your ball python except for the very beginning. Rabbits would be expensive to feed where I live, a consideration worth thinking about. Another thing I think about here ... is this a wild caught snake? And if so what about parasites? Do you have access to veterinary care? I imagine a wild caught snake may have quite a few parasites. I tried time and again to raise a rare rice paddy snake from the orient. They were so filled with parasites that by the time they got through quarantine they were really gone already. After my third Sunbeam died and only one had lived and they had all had vet care, and even though I was certain that i could breed them, I decided that it was irresponsible to continue to try to import them. If you have bought a wild caught I urge you to get it treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Ball pythons respond well generally to such treatments, though you will need to locate a vet with snake experience (that is treatment designed for a dog or cat given to your snake will likely end with death)If I can be of further assistance I am at Good luck Almotasm! I hope this helped.
  • Michele Elise - 2012-05-24
    Sorry I just really want to help if I can. There is no good answer on that heat wattage issue. You will need a thermometer to test and a thermostat of some sort that will shut off the heat when it is at the right temp for your snake. You can find these products on line easily. I buy some 'zoo med' products that have worked out fine. Remember too if the wattage isn't enough you can add a second source of heat! Your goal is to provide your python with about mid 80's in Fahrenheit, (about 29 C). Focus on your goal! I have had tropical snakes that I left a heating pad on all the time and added a thermostatically controlled heat lamp as well, in order to reach my desired temperature. Always test, test, test, with your thermometer. And test everyday even after you've worked out the problems. You never know when a heat source will quit on you for one reason or another. and stay focused on your goal! I think its great that you are working so hard to give your snake a good habitat! Good luck!
Eli - 2012-01-08
Well I got a 3-4year old Ball Python and he/she has not eaten in almost 5-6 months.. why could this be? Someone please help me? I'm scared and I just want Bob to start eating again. Makes me sad.. I'm able to hold him/her all the time but I put a rat in the cage he/she wants nothing to do with it so any ideas tips? Would be great! Email me if possible or leave reply thanks Eli

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  • dez - 2012-01-16
    Put the mouse in chicken broth because ball pythons are picky eaters especially if you change their food from live to dead.
  • Lucylemonpip - 2012-01-18
    I always feed my Royal in his vivarium, but before feeding him, turn off his viv bulb a few mins beforehand. Once his mouse is fully defrosted, I pop it into some very warm water for a few minutes, so that it warms up, but is not hot enough to harm my snake when he eats it. By turning off the viv light and warming up the mouse, I feel that my Royal's heat pits can easily detect the prey item, and that he doesn't get confused by the warmth of my hand or the heat from his viv bulb. Since feeding him this way, I've never had a problem with my Royal eating. Also, I make sure that he is hungry and only feed him every 2 weeks.
  • james meyers - 2012-05-23
    If your snake hasn't eaten somtimes they will be stubborn and not want to eat. They also hidernate from eating at certain points. They do this because they either may be ready to shed or they just don't want the animal you are trying to feed him or her
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-05-23
    I would bring it to the vets office. There are so many things that could be causing it not to eat. Environment, choice of food, parasites, shedding issues, etc....
dot - 2012-04-30
i have a three year old ball python. I fear he has mouth rot. Can anyone help me with a cure to this. He is one of our kids and we don't want to lose him. please help us.

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-05-01
    Mouth rot is normally secondary to another condition. A vet visit is really best. Antibiotics will most likely need to be injected. Mouth rinse will help ease it as well. I would leave most of it up to a vet.
Anonymous - 2012-03-07
Those spikes two or so inches from the tail are not a penis they are just spurs. They are remnants of what used to be legs a long time ago. In fact some only have one and some have none but it doesn't mean its a boy or girl. The vet is best to find that out. I've heard tho that some female bp have much larger bulkier heads than males but I dont know how true that is. The problem is the best way and surest way to tell but doing this yourself could be harmful to your snakey so take him or her in.

Mary-Jo - 2010-07-24
I have a 1 year old BP Bailey is her name she was given to me and I love her she is a great addition to our family, she is very friendly as every time we are in the room she tries to climb up the cage to see what we are doing and so on, My question is why does she poop so much? She eats 1 live mouse every 7 days I have had her for 3 weeks and she has already pooped several times I was wondering if this was normal, sometimes the poo is white and other times it is brown and I am not sure if this is what she is supposed to be doing as I am a new owner and want to make sure that I do everything right so that she has a nice and comfy very healthy life. Thanks for all your help,

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  • Paul Jr. - 2010-08-30
    I believe white is atually the snake urine, and the brown is the feces. I wouldn't say it is harmful to the snake because my Ball Python does that 2. I've had her for almost 5 years and she's been as healthy as can be, so I wouldn't say it is harmful.
  • Lindsey - 2010-09-26
    The white "poop" you're seeing is pee, ball pythons somehow adapted to make their pee hard idk how but that's probably what you're seeing.