Ball Python Info

JLeeM
  • #1
Hello.

My girlfriend and I have been talking about getting a pet snake at some point. She has had a corn snake in the past. Snakes are new to me. I've discussed corn snake care on here with people before. Well, as luck would have it, I have stumbled upon a deal and a half. I have found someone wanting to sell their whole 55 gallon tank setup, complete with stand and 2 month old ball python for $100.

First hurdle of course would be getting the cash together. They already wanted it gone because they're moving and can't take it with them. Second would be transporting it all. Third is where the reason for this thread comes in.

What exactly would I be getting myself into with this? Are they harder to care for than corn snakes?

PS- I have absolutely no problems with the whole having to feed it mice or rats thing. Everyone always brings that up. Also, yes I have held a friend's python before and I was okay with it.
 
2211Nighthawk
  • #2
He's gonna need a bigger tank then a 55. The last ball python I held was 4' long and as big around as a baseball. I don't know how fast they grow though the amount of food they get is a key factor. Post pictures though.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
He's gonna need a bigger tank then a 55. The last ball python I held was 4' long and as big around as a baseball. I don't know how fast they grow though the amount of food they get is a key factor. Post pictures though.
Well that's one thing I wondered about. Tank size in the future. A friend of ours has a pair in a 75, and they are beautiful creatures. I kind of thought a 55 would be fine for one. A 55 is kind of narrow though, and from what I've read they're more of a ground dweller than a climber. I can't really post pictures though being that I've only seen one picture of the snake and it's not mine. Even if I could work something out to buy it super easy, I don't plan to do so until I know that I could care for it.

Another thing I thought of is that if the 55 with the snake is actually water safe then I could use it for my 40 breeder build plan and have more stocking space. Then use my 40 breeder for the snake since it has more surface area. That might all be a disastrous idea though.
 
Nataku
  • #4
A 40 breeder is a fine sized cage for a single ball python. You are correct in that it has a larger foot print than the 55, which is more important for a ball because they aren't huge climbers.

My biggest concern here is that this is only a 2 month old ball python? Did the guy breed it himself? Doubtful if it is in a 55. That's a very young snake - is it eating consistently? I'd be rather concerned you're getting a neonate that hasn't even got six meals in him yet. Most decent snake breeders want to make sure that their snakes have at least had one good shed and 3 to 6 meals in them before selling them. Considering ball babies are usually feed ever 5 to 10 days..... I'm concerned about whether or not this snake is a reliable feeder.
Ask the person whether or not the snake is eating and if they have picture proof. It would suck to buy a snake who isn't eating and have it waste away and die on you.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
A 40 breeder is a fine sized cage for a single ball python. You are correct in that it has a larger foot print than the 55, which is more important for a ball because they aren't huge climbers.

My biggest concern here is that this is only a 2 month old ball python? Did the guy breed it himself? Doubtful if it is in a 55. That's a very young snake - is it eating consistently? I'd be rather concerned you're getting a neonate that hasn't even got six meals in him yet. Most decent snake breeders want to make sure that their snakes have at least had one good shed and 3 to 6 meals in them before selling them. Considering ball babies are usually feed ever 5 to 10 days..... I'm concerned about whether or not this snake is a reliable feeder.
Ask the person whether or not the snake is eating and if they have picture proof. It would suck to buy a snake who isn't eating and have it waste away and die on you.
I'm actually very glad you brought this up. As I said, I've only seen one picture. I don't know a lot about snakes, but it seems like they are more on the slow growing side. The picture I saw looks a lot bigger than what I would expect any 2 month old snake to be. I'm wondering if it's actually much older, and they've only HAD it for 2 months.

So...if I did proceed in trying to aquire it, what kind of picture evidence would I be looking for? Just a picture of the snake with a lump in it where it ate last? Even so, that would make me wonder if it's actually a picture of the snake they're trying to sell.

Any other advice? Are they pretty easy to care for in the end? Or should I start with a corn snake?
 
Nataku
  • #6
Perhaps they've only had it two months. If you could post the pic of the snake you've seen it could be helpful to determine if it is a neonate or not.

Ball pythons are indeed slower growing snakes. In general they are slower than colubrids, in movement, metabolism and growth. They are great pet rocks really. Good to sit with you when you want to watch a movie or browse the internet or whatever. They find a comfy spot to curl up and go to sleep.

As far as picture evidence you'd want to see the snake coiled on a rodent, or the rodent half way down its throat, or a nice lump in its side from a recent meal. Any or all of those would be useful in determining if its actively eating. If the pics have time stamps on them, even better.

You'll find that ball pythons have distinct markings. Observe closely and you can tell individual ball pythons apart.

Ultimately yes ball pythons are the perfect beginner snake. Don't get too big, don't move too fast, tend to be pretty consistent eaters once you get them going. Get a good heat mat for them (lots of places sell them, like amazon, ebay or most chain pet stores though you'll pay more there). Its so much better than a heat lamp.
Also, spend the 20 bucks to get yourself an infrared thermometer. They aren't that expensive and it makes measuring hot and cold spots so easy. You can use it on your fish tanks too. So much more accurate than those dumb little dial gauges and can be used on so many things. So worth the money.

Also, are you prepared for a thirty year commitment with this animal? Ball pythons live a long time. There are several recorded instances of individuals that are more than 40 years old.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Sons Norman

Think this is the link to it.
 
Nataku
  • #8
Not a two month old. Probably closer to a year, year and a half. Which is good, wouldn't have lived that long without eating. The snake seems to have good girth, so I will assume it is being fed and eating properly.

If you do get the snake, remove that plastic bowl with the hole cut out immediately. It has rough edges on that cut that the snake could catches its scales on and tear itself open with. I'm all for DIY decorations and hides, but if that is going to be done the edges need to be sanded or melted with a heat gun to round them out.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Not a two month old. Probably closer to a year, year and a half. Which is good, wouldn't have lived that long without eating. The snake seems to have good girth, so I will assume it is being fed and eating properly.

If you do get the snake, remove that plastic bowl with the hole cut out immediately. It has rough edges on that cut that the snake could catches its scales on and tear itself open with. I'm all for DIY decorations and hides, but if that is going to be done the edges need to be sanded or melted with a heat gun to round them out.
Yeah I don't really get why they did that myself.

I really want this little guy. Lol. Who knows maybe I can wait it out a but longer.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
How big does the separate feeding tank need to be? Could I just use a big tub?
 
Nataku
  • #11
You don't need a separate feeding tub unless you plan to keep them on whatever wood shavings those are.
Tip: the only wood shavings non toxic for snakes is aspen. Both cedar and pine are bad for them. But even aspen shavinggs can accidentally be ingested by the snake while eating the rat. Hence paper towels, newspaper or my personal favorite, puppy pads. Makes clean up super easy and they can't ingest anything on accident.

If you want a separate feeding tub you can use a sterilite tub. Anyting two feet long shoukd be fine.
And if they are on live get them onto F/K or F/T asap.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
You don't need a separate feeding tub unless you plan to keep them on whatever wood shavings those are.
Tip: the only wood shavings non toxic for snakes is aspen. Both cedar and pine are bad for them. But even aspen shavinggs can accidentally be ingested by the snake while eating the rat. Hence paper towels, newspaper or my personal favorite, puppy pads. Makes clean up super easy and they can't ingest anything on accident.

If you want a separate feeding tub you can use a sterilite tub. Anyting two feet long shoukd be fine.
And if they are on live get them onto F/K or F/T asap.
What does F/K and F/T mean?
 
Bruxes and Bubbles
  • #14
What does F/K and F/T mean?

F/T means Frozen/Thawed.

F/K I assume means 'First killed'. Live rats and mice can harm a snake, so they either have to be killed by you or by the place you get them from.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Also, have talked to the owner again. He still claims that the snake is only 2 months old, and not quite 2 feet long. Supposedly last ate two days ago. Does that look or sound right based off the picture?
 
Nataku
  • #16
F/T means Frozen thawed - a rat which has been euthanized and then frozen for storage. And then thawed out when its time to feed the snake.

F/K means fresh killed. A rat that has been euthanized right before being given to the snake. No freezing or storage.

Yes the pic looks like hes got a lump. I could believe that's a snake that ate two days ago.
Still not buying its a neonate but maybe its just one going through a growth spurt from being well fed. If he could provide a pic of the snake in his hands or next to a ruler it could provide better reference.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Can't believe this guy's. My girlfriend is the one that talked me into wanting to get a pet snake a couple years back. Now that I've found this deal, she says no. She doesn't want a ball python. Says it's too much for a beginner. Pretty much she just wants a corn snake. Thinking about passing a deal like this up hurts my soul. Lol.
 
Nataku
  • #18
Cold hard truth time. Don't read if you are easily upset.
The ball python is the epitome of 'the beginner snake' xD
But hey, sone people are jsut corn people. Is what it is.

To be completely honest. Its not a great deal. That's a common male ball python. The most common snake in the pet snake trade. Most folks in the reptile trade consider them to have no real resale value. They aren't a fancy morph (ball pythons come in literally hundreds of color and patterns morphs) and they aren't even female so they can't be used as a breeder to try and hatch out some co-dominant traited babies.
They're good beginner snakes but then a piebald ball python has the same care requirements as a normal. If you ever plan on getting more snakes and then want to thin the herd the one that always gets dumped is the common male ball. Its just not special enough. There are many folks who will take common male bps just to feed their ophiophagus snakes. The only value of that deal is getting a 55 and a lid. Do you consider that worth a hundred bucks?
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Cold hard truth time. Don't read if you are easily upset.
The ball python is the epitome of 'the beginner snake' xD
But hey, sone people are jsut corn people. Is what it is.

To be completely honest. Its not a great deal. That's a common male ball python. The most common snake in the pet snake trade. Most folks in the reptile trade consider them to have no real resale value. They aren't a fancy morph (ball pythons come in literally hundreds of color and patterns morphs) and they aren't even female so they can't be used as a breeder to try and hatch out some co-dominant traited babies.
They're good beginner snakes but then a piebald ball python has the same care requirements as a normal. If you ever plan on getting more snakes and then want to thin the herd the one that always gets dumped is the common male ball. Its just not special enough. There are many folks who will take common male bps just to feed their ophiophagus snakes. The only value of that deal is getting a 55 and a lid. Do you consider that worth a hundred bucks?
Well a ball python from PetSmart is like $50 so....... I see it differently. Plus all the equipment and a 55 gallon tank.
 
Nataku
  • #20
You should also never buy a ball python from petsmart. Buying from a local breeder or even online is a much better option. Chain store herps tend to frequently have mites and not be properly fed. And are pretty much garunteed to have an RI.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
You should also never buy a ball python from petsmart. Buying from a local breeder or even online is a much better option. Chain store herps tend to frequently have mites and not be properly fed. And are pretty much garunteed to have an RI.
Wouldn't a snake from a breeder be even more expensive? I know that's how fish go.
 
Bruxes and Bubbles
  • #22
Wouldn't a snake from a breeder be even more expensive? I know that's how fish go.

Nope. When I go to conventions I pay $10 for entry. Base morph ball pythons go for $10 if they really want to get rid of them (check for health - documentation of eating, etc) or maybe $30 at the most. And the people selling 99% of the time LOVE these animals and will talk with you for a long time about them.

Always look into the seller, but when it comes to the common reptiles (cresteds, leopards, balls, corns, and beardeds), they're 99% of the time cheaper at a convention.

And the rest of the stuff you'd never find at a Pet(insert chain name here).
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Nope. When I go to conventions I pay $10 for entry. Base morph ball pythons go for $10 if they really want to get rid of them (check for health - documentation of eating, etc) or maybe $30 at the most. And the people selling 99% of the time LOVE these animals and will talk with you for a long time about them.

Always look into the seller, but when it comes to the common reptiles (cresteds, leopards, balls, corns, and beardeds), they're 99% of the time cheaper at a convention.

And the rest of the stuff you'd never find at a Pet(insert chain name here).
How do you go about finding something like that? Especially in a small lowly populated area?
 
Adriifu
  • #24
My favorite fish is the ball python Is there a Snake Lore? That'd be cool.
 
Bruxes and Bubbles
  • #25
How do you go about finding something like that? Especially in a small lowly populated area?

Look up 'reptile convention in (insert closest town)'. If that doesn't pull up, see if there are any local breeders. Let the chains be last resort, and if you do them, know all the signs of illness.
 
GoldFiska
  • #26
Well a ball python from PetSmart is like $50 so....... I see it differently. Plus all the equipment and a 55 gallon tank.
Is she open to any other types of snakes? What about something like a Kenyan Sand Boa?
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Is she open to any other types of snakes? What about something like a Kenyan Sand Boa?
I don't know anything about that breed, and I doubt she does. I doubt she would be for it though.
 
GoldFiska
  • #28
I don't know anything about that breed, and I doubt she does. I doubt she would be for it though.

They're very easy snakes to care for and they can be housed in a 10 gallon. Have great temperaments too, and come in lots of morphs.

Definitely one of my favorites, along with Emerald Boas and Brazilian Rainbows.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
Look up 'reptile convention in (insert closest town)'. If that doesn't pull up, see if there are any local breeders. Let the chains be last resort, and if you do them, know all the signs of illness.
So I found one called Repticon in Nashville, about an hour and a half away from me. Have you been to or heard of that one?
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
They're very easy snakes to care for and they can be housed in a 10 gallon. Have great temperaments too, and come in lots of morphs.

Definitely one of my favorites, along with Emerald Boas and Brazilian Rainbows.
So I take it they stay small?
 
Bruxes and Bubbles
  • #31
I don't know anything about that breed, and I doubt she does. I doubt she would be for it though.

Easy care. Small snakes. Males are smaller than females - they need a heat mat and aspen for burrowing but that's it. (Other than the obvious water bowl). 10 gallon minimum for males - I'd say a 20 for females. Males usually only reach around 12-14 inches.
image.jpg
 
GoldFiska
  • #32
So I take it they stay small?

Yes, 2 feet or less.

KSBs love to play in sand, and it's adorable watching them burrow in it. My friend's boa tank was on her desk, and her KSB would stick its head out of the sand to watch her when she worked. Too cute.
 
Bruxes and Bubbles
  • #33
So I found one called Repticon in Nashville, about an hour and a half away from me. Have you been to or heard of that one?

Yep! That's supposed to be a good one! We go to the HERPS show.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #34
Yep! That's supposed to be a good one! We go to the HERPS show.
Maybe I can convince her to go to Repticon with me in February.
 
Bry
  • #35
I'm getting my first ball python on Thursday and just have some questions on the terrarium.
How much substrate should there be? I'm using eco earth (compressed) and I made a whole block, which is about two inches! Is that too much? Will he move it around if he wants to?
How long should I give him to adjust before handling him? I get super excited and would want to hold him all day, but I know that will stress him. I've read anywhere from a day to a whole month!!
How much weight should I put on the screen? I ordered the clips, which WOULD have been here a few days ago, but the order was "unable to be fulfilled". So I had to reorder and they won't be here until Saturday. So it would only be for two days.
Oh! He's a three year old male Pastel Super Stripe. Though he seems like a runt as he's about two foot, MAX two and a half. I'm starting with a 20 long. Two appropriate hides, big water bowl and of course a heat pad. I have it blacked out on three sides to help him feel safer.
I just want to make sure I'm doing the best I can. I plan on moving him to a ReptiTerra 24 18 12 in a month or so if need be.
 
Rtessy
  • #36
HI there! I'm not familiar with that substrate, but two inches is fine. You can use books on top of the lid, you'd be surprised what they can push off. As for holding, I was only able to wait a single day, lol, not sure if that was the best. It sounds like you have a great set up though. What do you plan to feed?
 
Bry
  • #37
Frozen thawed rats. That's what the breeder is feeding him. When I get him I'll ask what size. (I forgot)
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #38
So, are you planning on putting the snake into the terrarium without the lock clips on the lid yet? If so, I definitely agree with the suggestion from Rtessy. Put something on top. Snakes like to poke around at cage lids, and a ball python that size has a lot of muscle.
 
wodesorel
  • #39
I have two 11-year-old males that I adopted a couple years ago from someone who could no longer care for them. They do get pretty thick, and they are a very active snake at night. I would urge you to consider a larger tank, at least a 40 breeder. I have mine in separate 75 gallons and wish I had space for bigger as they use every inch once it gets dark and quiet at night. Ideally you want them to be able to at least entirely stretch out along a side, and males tend to max out at around 4 feet.

The coco fiber should be fine and give them the humidity boost they need, but watch that it isn't kept too moist. Mine came with belly rot from being on too-moist coco fiber bedding and not having any way off it to dry out. I went with a chip bedding for most of the cage that does well in high humidity, and then a moist hide with cheap moss for when they need a boost or want to shed. Keep in mind they are tropical and like a lot of heat and humidity!

They are also super strong. I had one get out even with the lid clips on, they were too far from the edge and he managed to pry the lid open just enough to get out, but ended up with his tail stuck because he lost leverage once he got so much free. You'll need a LOT of weight until the clips arrive!

Balls are a really nice snake species to keep though. Easy to handle, not likely to bite, and they only poop a couple times a month (if that) and it's big and solid and easy to clean. I wish all my idiots were that easy!
 
Bry
  • #40
How much weight? I'm an avid reader so I have no shortage of books to weigh it down. Would hardbacks of all the Harry Potter books work? More?
wodesorel I already put in the start that I already have plans to upgrade him. This is just all I have right now. He is not four foot. He is a max of two and a half. He's already bred so I know they slow down when they reach sexual maturity.
The humidity of my house is naturally about 45-50. After some playing and testing with the water bowl full it'll be about 60% in his tank.
I have ordered two sets of clips, so that there is a clip on each side of the tank.
 

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