Care and Information About Raising Ball Pythons

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RAISING BALL PYTHONS

1.Selecting a suitable living environment for your ball python

2.Selecting a healthy ball python

3.Feeding habbits and what to feed your ball python

4.Health problems and how to treat them

5.Breeding Ball Pythons

 

1. Selecting a Suitable Living Environment for your Ball Python

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Congratulations on purchasing your ball python, one of the most distributed reptiles in the U.S. . Unfortinetely people often purchase these animals without knowing all the facts. So here they are, the basics and essentials in what you need to know to raise your ball python.

Ball pythons are natorious escape artists, so the first thing you should consider is to buy an all-glass enclosure with a sliding or multiple sliding screen tops, commercial fiber glass terriums, or a custom build enclosure. Cages built for smaller animals will usually result with the escape of the ball python. If your enclosure has a hinged door instead of a sliding lid make sure it has a locking mechanism to keep the python from lifting the lid and escaping.

a.Size of Enclosure

The smallest enclosure for accomidating your ball python has a floor surface area at least that of a ten gallon aquarium. I recomend using a larger aquarium to house your python, and use a ten gallon aquarium if you are raising more than one snake and need to seperate them for feeding or illnesses.

For larger adult snakes the aquarium should have a floor surface area of a twenty gallon aquarium. I recomend using a thirty gallon to seventy two gallon aquarium, depending on the number of pythons you currently keep.

*Do not put your ball python in an enclosure with a different type of snake, the result could result in the death of one of the two snakes.

b.Ground Mediums

Your newly purchased ball python should be kept in the most bacteria/germ free environment as possible. To do this I recommend using newspapers to layer the bottom of your terrium till your ball python has been eating for a couple weeks.

Once your python has acclimated to the terrium you may change the ground medium to that of bark chips or a terrium floor, such as plastic carpeting which can be found in almost all stores.

*Do Not Use Pine or Cedar Shavings, They Contain Poisonous Chemicals That Could Make Your Python Sick

c.Temperature Setting

Ball pythons require fairly high temperatures to remain healthy in a captive environment. The temperatue during the day should be kept around 78 to 87 F . During the night the terrium should be kept at 73 to 77F. To keep the heat conrolled you will need to choose a heat source for your python. Heat lamps are a smart choice but recquire an additional heating source for the python to absorb directly rather than through the air temperatue. For this I recommend a heat pad kept under the terrium. Your heat pad should have at least two temperature settings but I recommend three heat settings. To save money you can purchase a pillow warmer with three heat settings.

*Do Not Use Heat Rocks-They Can Burn Your Snakes Belly

*With Heat Lamps Be Careful To Keep Humidity Low

d.Lighting

Ball Pythons, unlike other reptiles, require little lighting. I recommend, to be on the safe side, buying a full spectrum light that can be kept on top of the terrium. The light should only be kept on twelve hours of the day.

*To Avoid Needing Lighting Keep The Snakes Food Source Outside, So That The Snake can Receive The Vitamins It Needs Directly From Its food

e.Shelter

Ball Pythons require shelter, smaller hiding places, to guarantee their success. You can use several types of shelter just so long as they give a near complete second enclosure that the snake may come and leave on its own.

2. Selecting a Healty Ball Python

--------------------------------------------------------Examine your ball python's body carefully

To select a healty ball python you should check its enclosure, a clean enclosure usually means a healty ball python. You should examine the ball python's body for any bruised or open soars, do not buy these snakes for they may result in becoming problem snakes. After checking over its body, ask the caretaker of the snake as to what its eating habbits are and what it usually eats being mice, girbles, or rats. Also ask the care taker as to what sex the python might be. If the care taker does not know you can probe the snake by place the metallic end of a thermometer up its anal slit, located near the end of the snake, toward the end of the snake. If the thermometer only goes up about two scales it is a female, if it goes up several scales it is a male.

3.Feeding Habbits and What to Feed Your Ball Python

Newly purchased ball pythons generally do not immediately began to eat. Some have been known to go as long as long as 22 months without eating. Even though your snake may not eat for as long as 22 months I recommend taking it to the vet if it refuses to eat for more than two months. After your snake begans to eat it will usually eat one to two mice in a two week period.

In choosing what to feed your ball python, you should consult the snakes caretaker. If the caretaker tells you it will eat mice, girbles, and rats I recommend you feed it mice which are easy to keep if your snake refuses to eat and also easy to raise. If your snake eats girbles or rats you may choose to stay with this food source but it may become quite expensive. I recommend that at every other feeding you should place a mouse in with your snake instead of the rat or girble until the snake begans to eat the mice. After it starts eating the mice repeat the process for a few more feedings, then you may switch over completely to mice as a feeding source. For younger snakes, babies, I recommend feeding them pinkies as a food source.

If your snake refuses to the point of it being unhealthy you may consider force feeding. This process requires two people to accomplish. You may force feed your snake by either by grinding the mouse into a liquid and inserting it down the snakes throte through a tube or coat a pinky in egg yoke and messaging it down your snakes throat.

*Force Feeding Can Leave Your Snake Traumatised, It Should Only Be Used As a Last Resort and With Your Vet's Approval

4.Health Problems and How to Treat

a.External Parasites

Imported ball pythons seem to always come with some sort of parasite on or under their scales. To remove these you can rub the infested area with rubbing alcohol and about fifteen minutes later remove the parasites with tweezers.

For mites the process is different. First you need to locate the problem which can be done by locating small black spots on your snake, these are the mites waste. Another way is to examine your hands after handling your snake. You can see the mites crawling on your hand. To kill the mites you can use a 5%Sevin dust to kill the mites. An easier way is to have your vet inject your snake with a dewormer shot that also prevents mites.

b.Internal Parasites

Internal parasites are a very common problem when dealing with captive ball pythons. To determine if your snake has any take it to the vet. Once determined you can use these treatments to help your snake recover its health.

For tapeworms you can use Yomesan, Niclosamide, orally at a dosage of 150mg/kg . You will repeat the process in two weeks.

For roundworms you can use Thibenzole, Thiabendazole, orally at a dosage of 50-100 mg/kg. You will repeat the process in two weeks.

For Protozoans you can use FLagyl, metronidazole, orally at a dosage of 100mg/kg. You will repeat the process in two weeks.

*After Repeating The Process Once Take Your Snake Back To The Vet To Be Checked Out

*If The Vet Offers To Care For Your Snake Let The Vet Due So, It Is Better To Let Someone Who Knows What They Are Doing To Treat Your Snake

c.Skin Disorders

Ball pythons acquire many skin disorders, just as do other reptiles. The best time to look for these disorders is to watch your snakes shedding habbits. If your snake has a problem shedding than more than likely it has a skin disorder. Such problems would be patches of skin still attached to your snake after it has already finished shedding.

Other types of disorders would be blister disease, which is signaled by white bumps forming on the snake, and moth rot, which is

indicated by the swelling of the snakes jaw and the abnormal petrusion of its lower jaw scales. If infected with these take your snake to the vet immediately.

A Ball Python With Mouth rot

5.Breeding Ball Pythons

Ball python and eggs ---------------------------Baby Ball Python

Breeding a ball python takes several steps. The first of these steps is to set up the pre-breeding condition. The male and female ball python should be kept seperate during all steps of breeding except during the actual breeding process. The climate should be kept controled for the snakes often will mimic the climate. To start the new climate for the breeding you should shut off any heat and lights for fourteen hours of the day beginning in the first part of November. The lights and heat are to be left on during the day.

In the early parts of December place the female with the male once a week for a period of two days, do this around the same time every week, MAINTAIN THE SCHEDULE. You should keep doing this through the middle part of Febuary. After this resume the normal temperatue and lighting you used before starting the breeding process. Do not be suprised if your female refuses food during her pregnancy. The eggs will be laid around March or April. After wards the female will wrap around the eggs as shown above in the picture. You should remove the eggs and place them in an incubation chamber of some kind soon after being laid.

*It Is Important That The Female And Male Stay Seperate During The Whole Breeding Process, Even Through The Laying Of The Eggs

Making an Incubation Chamber

The standard incubation chamber is a container half filled with moistened vermiculite. The container is to be covered and kept at 85-92F. It is useful to use a heat measuring device of some kind. Some people find it easy to use poultry incubation chambers. The problem with this is getting your hands on one. I suggests in stead to use an aquarium filled with shallow water with a heat CONTROLLED water safe device placed in the water. The eggs in the container of vermiculite are then suspended over the water. A non-conductant lid is placed over the aquarium to prevent heat loss.

Hatching Time

Usually instead of emerging from the eggs at once the baby ball pythons will slit enough of the egg so that their head can fit out. Sometimes they may stay like this for up to twenty four hours. Do not rush or help the baby out. During this time the baby is absorbing the rest of the yolk and adjusting to breathing fresh air. As soon as the baby ball pythons are out of their shells move them to a clean and moderately humid terrerium to avoid external parasites in their moist incubator. After this you should place a small container of water in the terrerium and start feeding pinky mice to them within the next two to three weeks.

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