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Thread: What are some pros and cons of having a ball python?

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    Question What are some pros and cons of having a ball python?

    Thinking about getting my first snake.
    Not planning on getting it any time soon but I would like to know
    Things about them. I herd they are picky eaters that worries me kind of.
    And if an adult bit you would it hurt badly badly badly?
    Stupid question I just want to know.
    But im interested in a snake that is going to grow old with me & my geckos lol
    So let me know what you guys think.
    -- or is a corn snake a better choice I know they are easier to care for but my mind is set on a ball python.

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    Yay for more snake keepers!

    A ball python is an excellent first snake. A young ball can be a picky eater at first, so I would suggest an individual that is at least well started. The person you are getting it from should be able to tell you how many meals it has had before purchase. But if your ball stops eating, don't panic! They will sometimes 'fast' themselves for what, to us, seems like a long period of time. Just keep up with how often s/he prefers to eat. During breeding they will also go off of feed. If you acquire an adult or well started individual, feeding shouldn't be an issue. Most balls won't miss a meal. I highly suggest a f/t eater.

    Even an adult ball python's bite isn't anything to worry about much. Don't let the possibility turn you away. Ball pythons are called ball pythons because of their tendency to (ta-da!) curl into a ball when nervous or frightened. They would prefer defense to offense, but can still bite. If you can handle the bite of a cat or dog, I wouldn't worry. You will bleed some, but the majority of the discomfort will come from the initial strike. The force of the snake hitting your hand will startle you more than the bite itself will hurt. If the snake holds on and begins to constrict, remain calm and get to a bathtub. A small amount of cold water should do the trick in convincing the snake to let go. Otherwise, let him realize you're not food stuff and he'll let go on his own. I don't forsee you having to deal with this with a typical ball though. They're great pets as a general rule, and very calm. They typically take to handling very well.

    They're not very active, though individuals will vary both in activity level and temperament. I think you're good with getting a ball as your first snake, though corns make excellent first snakes as well (I'm just not a huge fan of them in general).

    There are lots of other species out there, though!

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    The only thing stopping me from getting a snake Is the bites && my girlfriend saying I have too many pets.
    But I'm moving so I will have more space.
    Should you pick up a snake when it's curled?
    Or at night when it's up and about?
    And I'm kind of scared like putting my hand in the tank he strikes my hand thinking I'm food.
    How many times would you find their poo?
    I just need someone to talk about snakes with.
    Not on some creepo type stuff lol

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    its a good first snake depending on what you want in a snake, if you want a snake thats active and you'll see moving around the enclosure all the time then its not the snake for you ..... Mine will go into their hides during the day and thats all you will see of them .....
    I got my two at five months old the previous owner had fed them on live only so I was a bit worried as I had heard all the stories of them being picky eaters etc.... I tried feeding frozen thawed a week after getting them and they both refused but the following week they both nailed the F/t mice within seconds and havnt had a problem in the last 4 feedings.... They let me pick them up regardless of where or how they are in the enclosure .They won't think youre food as long as you feed in a seperate tub (which the majority of people do) so they wont associate your hand with food .....
    I have found 2 big poops in over a month thats it so theyre definately way less work than geckos..... at the moment I get my frozen large mice from the local store and there are costing me 80 cents each so for two snakes its only costing me $1.60 a week to feed which is less than crickets for a lot of geckos .....
    All three of my daughters aged 11,7 and 4 handle mine theyre just not aggressive at all
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCTO View Post
    The only thing stopping me from getting a snake Is the bites && my girlfriend saying I have too many pets.
    Well there's no cure for either of those! lol


    Quote Originally Posted by OCTO View Post
    But I'm moving so I will have more space.
    Should you pick up a snake when it's curled?
    I have to say the only ball pythons that curled for me were always very young snakes. But you can pick them up balled or whenever- the keys to look for are:
    A)Is the snake in a striking position?
    B)Has the snake eaten in the past 24 hours?
    C)Is the snake in shed.

    A)Going after a snake when its up and letting you know its going to strike..well, you could easily get bit.
    B)You don't want to stress them out soon after eating.
    C)When they get ready to shed or are in the process, they can become more likely to be a bit bitey.


    Quote Originally Posted by OCTO View Post
    Or at night when it's up and about?
    Really any time is fine.


    Quote Originally Posted by OCTO View Post
    And I'm kind of scared like putting my hand in the tank he strikes my hand thinking I'm food.
    I was never really worried about that with my BPs. They were all fairly... ball pythonish- which ment just because I opened the tank lid they didn't come barreling out from where ever they were hiding to investigate. And they get used to routine. Its a myth that they must be fed in seperate container lest they associate your hand with feeding- because it makes just as much or more sense they would bite you when you picked them up in anticipation of eating.


    Quote Originally Posted by OCTO View Post
    How many times would you find their poo?
    As many times as you feed them. If you're feeding once per week, assuming its a healthy animal they'll also defecate at least once per week.

    Quote Originally Posted by OCTO View Post
    I just need someone to talk about snakes with.
    Not on some creepo type stuff lol
    Its funny- but think about how many would be creeped out having to talk about snakes?
    The name Stella fills me with dread.
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    No worries! I'd love to help with any questions that I can.

    I really wouldn't concern myself with the biting too much. Even snakes that are going to bite typically give visual cues (typically that head pulled back, strike pose). Even coiled up in a ball, you should be okay picking up the ball python. If you're hesitant about reaching into the tank, you could use a snake hook to get the snake up into an easier position to grab. Snakes do not usually like having their heads handled, you can do a little research on general handling of snakes if you're unsure. Handle the animal in intervals each day so that you and the animal become more comfortable with being handled. You will become more comfortable in time, and you will learn to pick up on visual cues... When the snake does and does not want to be handled.

    Snakes don't like being bothered in shed (sometimes it is difficult for them to see), and some snakes don't like being messed with after they eat. Making sure your hands are clean can perhaps alleviate any mistake for food. Use long hemostats to feed the rodents by dangling it by the tail (if you're using pre-killed or f/t). I don't think you'll have an issue with the snake mistaking you for food, though it does happen. Ball pythons can have a pretty big feeding response, don't be surprised at the intensity at which they make strike at the food just take precautions as to where the snake and you are both out of harm's way!

    Ball pythons won't really be 'up and about' much at all :-) very low-activity animals. Some will move around a little bit more than others, but as a general rule they're very ... still. They just don't do much

    Different snakes poop more or less frequently. After the 2nd or 3rd meal you should see poop if you didn't by the first.
    I can't stress how much you shouldn't be afraid!


    Edit: Everyone else provided you with great answers! This site is such a great resource, full of knowledgeable individuals!

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    I have to say, I was never bitten by any of my ball pythons- even the one odd ball girl who was out for my blood. My first boyfriend was nipped by an adult male when he was in shed (and he reached for the snake head on when he was getting ready to shed- so go figure). However it took a few minutes for him to realize he had been bitten. I believe his comment was "Where did these red dots on my finger come from?" And then he realized the snake had tagged him when he struck.
    The name Stella fills me with dread.
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    It really depends on the snake. Some individuals are more flighty or nervous, and some are extremely tame and wouldn't bite except under the most stressful situations. If you're worried about bites, then I'd recommend trying to find a snake from a reputable source that can help you pick out a calmer individual. However, they are still animals, so even the calmest bp can potentially bite.

    I find no issues with picking up my ball when he's curled. He does get hissy when he's close to shedding, and we always try to leave him alone when he's shedding or has fed. The rest of the time he's totally sweet and doesn't seem to mind being held. I don't really see any difference between handling him at night vs. during the day, but I try not to wake him up if I can help it.

    I've never had him strike my hand while reaching in the tank, and we do feed him in the enclosure with long tongs (still feeding live, but my bf has started stunning them before hand). I know some people do feed in a separate tub, so I think its all about personal preference. But again, i dislike moving him around once he's eaten, and he has never shown any cage aggression so for him I see no reason to switch at this point. He seems to be pretty good at telling the difference between our hands and rats. But again, i think it can vary from snake to snake.

    Generally you're going to find fecal matter every time an animal eats. So if you feed them once a week, you'll probably be finding one poop.
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    I like pythons because there big boned lol && by that I mean thick.
    But I'm really into them I just need to overcOme my fear of getting bit by one.
    Even when my cresty try's to bite I jump a little bit. But it's just the surprise attack scares me for a bit.
    Can you feed them fish? Or is it just mice?
    && when you feed rats do you have to beat it?
    I hear some people breaking the rats jaws and all that.
    Do you have to do that?

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    I'd say you should stick to rodents. If you feed rats/mice, you can buy pre-killed and frozen and just let them thaw and warm before feeding them. No killing of the mice/rats required. That's the way I prefer to do it.

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