View Full Version : A Little Worried...Ball Python Question

01-15-2008, 06:23 AM
Hi Guys....

I've had my ball python for...god...5 years now? And I've never had any issues with her whatsoever. Recently, thanks to insomnia and my boyfriend working the night shift at Fed-Ex, I've been up until the wee hours of the morning. (Note the time of this post) Delilah's enclosure is directly behind me, and sometimes I can hear her either...sneezing...or wheezing...but it's far and few between and doesn't happen every night. Tonight, however, it's been every half hour or so. She was just recently fed (yesterday, in fact), looks to be a little cloudy in the eyes for an impending shed, and has plenty of space to move about. The temps might be a little low in her enclosure. Tomorrow is cleaning day, too, so I'm wondering if that may be the reason? (Her enclosure isn't dirty, but it's been about 2 weeks since it's been thoroughly cleaned.) There's also been no change in her demeanor, or noticeable lethargy of any kind.

So, question...anyone ever experience this with their snakes? Could it be an upper respiratory infection of some kind? I have a new undertank heater on order from Dr FosterSmith, so if it's temperature related, that should be fixed any day now. Should I bring her to the vet?

01-15-2008, 09:47 AM
Sounds like a respiratory infection, which could be directly related to the cool temperature, also if there is dust in the bedding. What bedding are you using? You might want to go ahead and take her on to the vet to get medicine, but upping the temps and changing the substrate could be all that's needed. Do you have a heat lamp you can put over her for a few days until your new heat pad comes in to supplement more heat? Good luck!

01-15-2008, 01:40 PM
while in shed sometimes they make a whistling noise--this is the loose skin inside their nose flapping and whistling as they breathe.

what exactly are your temperatures and can you describe the setup? do you see any mucus or bubbles in her mouth (if so, get her to a vet asap)?

when you hear this noise, is she pressing her nose against the enclosure or lid? i have one adult female that will press her nose into the top corner of her tub when i come in the room so that it pinches either her nostrils or her windpipe (not really a windpipe, but the tube-like structure on the bottom of the mouth that functions like a windpipe) closed just enough that when she exhales it makes a loud whistling/wheezing sound. scared the crap out of me the first few times she did it, but after a clean bill of health from the vet i figured out it was just her trying to get my attention. :roll:

01-15-2008, 03:14 PM
i reciently took my ball python to the vet for the same reason. temps have been lower, and this weird *loud* sigh. sometimes it's less loud then others. i thought oh #$%&, upper respitory issue. then i thought maybe stress from holding? after the check up and clean bill of health, my vet who is a long time ball python owner, told me that what i describe is normal, each individual to their own. some do it lots, others less.
an upper respitory infection usually can be heard with every breath.
this is medical advise given to me. i always say when in doubt, to the vet.

01-15-2008, 10:01 PM
Thanks for the responses guys. I really appreciate it!

I'm thinking it's what Emily said...that it's her pressing her nose against the enclosure and trying to get my attention, maybe? lol It seems everytime she's done this, she's been balled up in one corner of her tank with her face pressed into the wall.

I'm still going to keep a close eye on her, and see if there's any signs of a respiratory infection. There's no mucus or bubbles. She's in a 55 long with plenty to climb, and I'm using bed-a-beast for her currently. I also have an extra heat lamp set up for her until I can get that heating pad in, and I've had the space heater in this room while I've been in here, which is...umm...I dunno...all day? lol

Thanks again guys, I'll keep you updated!

01-17-2008, 12:14 AM
I would definately up the temps, if it isn't just her pressed against the glass you could end up with full blown RI, if you catch it soon enough you can usually take care of it.

01-17-2008, 03:48 PM
Check the temp, check the temp, CHECK THE TEMP!!!!

You should ALWAYS know the exact temperature range of all areas of your snake cage. This is one of the most important parts of reptile husbandry!!!!

I suggest you invest in a couple indoor/outdoor thermometers and/or a temp gun!

01-18-2008, 08:40 PM
Check the temp, check the temp, CHECK THE TEMP!!!!

I couldn't agree more. One should always know the specific temps with reptiles and their enclosures. Last I checked you can get $20 temps guns from Pro-Exotics. I use a Ray-tek infrared gun that works great for me. I would say 90% of trips to the vet can be avoided by close attention to simple husbandry practices (ex. temps, humidity, and proper caging set-up). If anyone here has had to give Batryl shots to their snakes for respatory problems they can sympathize with me!:cry:

On the other hand, I have had some noisy breathers especially my Bloods and dwarf retics (Jamps & Kayaudi) and they are perfectly fine.