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Ball Of Snakes!

May 23, 2008
Ball Pythons have the scientific name Python Regius. These snakes are originally found in the Central as well as Western part of Africa. They are named for the defensive mechanism of rolling into a very tight ball and having their head located in the centre. They are known to have the longest life span.

Ball Pythons have the scientific name Python Regius. These snakes are originally found in the Central as well as Western part of Africa. They are named for the defensive mechanism of rolling into a very tight ball and having their head located in the centre. They are known to have the longest life span. They can usually stay alive in captivity for many years. They are also called Royal Python in some countries like Europe.

Ball pythons usually grow to about 3 until 5 feet in length. Their markings on their skin are usually large dark brown with light-brown spots and combined with other dark spots. Their belly part is usually white or pale grey in colour. Their body also contain anal spurs similar to all other pythons. And the single claws found on their vent are remains of their hind legs, which they have lost during the evolution of being a lizard, turned into snake way back millions of years ago.

To differentiate a male from a female python, the male python contains much longer spurs as compared to females. In addition, females have bigger heads as compared to males.

Regarding their food preference, ball pythons they can eat anything such as lizards, amphibians, birds, small mammals, as well as other snakes. Furthermore, once fed, they can go for a long time without food. Some ball pythons can sustain themselves with no food for more than a year until they are tempted to eat again.

When a young python is held in captivity, it can grow in length to about a foot within a year. This is for the first three periods of years. As for their sexual maturity, pythons attain it when they reach the age of three up to five years. To protect their young, once the female has hatched their eggs, they secure it by encircling them with their body until they are hatched. Females can lay four up to ten eggs per clutch. For the three-month waiting period of egg hatching, they will not eat nor leave their eggs.

For the housing requirement of your pet ball python, it is important to bear in mind that snakes are experts when it comes to finding means for escape. With this information, you should use an escape proof enclosure. A good size would be a 30-gallon escape-proof aquarium. This means that even if your python grows into adulthood, it will not get cramped up.

Another thing to consider is its temperature and humidity. During daytime, the temperature of your enclosure should be between 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit with its highest temperature ranging from 90 up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, the best temperature would be 75 up to 80 degree Fahrenheit.

In addition, ball pythons are used to warm temperature not like the hot and dry areas found in Africa. Most people commit the mistake of keeping them in a very humid environment. This is by putting damp moss or spraying mist in their enclosure during the course of the day. What leads to this kind of environment is that it usually affects their skin. Due to very humid conditions, they develop blisters, usually in their belly, which could then lead to infection because of bacteria. Such disease can then lead to more serious complications.

What your python really needs is a place that has a dry environment that contains within it an area that has higher humidity. To have this, one can set a bowl of water, which is large enough for the snake to submerge in. This way, your python will feel comfortable.

When it comes to the enclosure's heating and light source, a fluorescent bulb can be used to lessen the heat given by incandescent light bulbs. Furthermore, when providing heat, one should not make use of hot rocks because it can cause burn injuries to your pet. For basking areas, a red coloured basking light bulb and even ceramic emitters are appropriate. To aid in raising the temperature, you may consider using a tank heating pad. Take note, as a caretaker, you should always check the temperature of your pet ball python's enclosure tank by using a thermometer.

Newspapers are great to use as substrates, however, it may not look as pleasing. The advantage of using newspapers is that it makes your enclosure easy to maintain and clean. Moreover, it can help familiarize your new pet to their newfound enclosure. Wood shaving is also a good choice but you should not consider using cedar or pine because they can cause illness to your ball python.

An excellent type of wood shaving would be aspen shavings. Nevertheless, when caring for your pet with wood shavings as their substrate, it is important that during feeding, you should avoid the shaving being put in its mouth because this can lead to the choking of your pet.

In addition, ball pythons are very much carnivorous. For adult ball pythons, their amount of feeding can be 2 or 3 adult mice in a week. As for younger ball pythons, once a week is suffice yet you also need to consider the size of their prey. For hatchlings, a good meal would be fuzzies. As for older ones, hoppers will do. Another type of good food for younger snakes would be a frozen rodent that has been thawed.

Thus, this is a safe and easy way to provide food for your young pet. You can have a supply of these rodents in your freezer. With this, your pet will not be endangered of being bitten by living mice. A bowl of fresh water should always be at the side so that your ball python can drink during feeding time.

The problem with ball pythons is that they do not have regular eating patterns. This is most applicable for those snakes caught in the wild. If possible, try to purchase a ball python that has been already fed to alleviate this problem. However, if your pet does not immediately eat, one should not panic. It is famously know that ball pythons can go without food for months until more than a year. To entice your python to eat, try to feed it a variety of live animals. Yet, if problems persist, you should consult an expert.

In maintaining your ball python, fresh clean water should be given everyday. Clean your enclosure when shavings are used, especially newspaper. Periodically, the place must be disinfected. A good disinfectant solution is 5 percent bleach. Thoroughly rinse the area with water after disinfection. Moreover, proper hand washing should be done before and after you handle your snake and its enclosure accessories.

When your ball python has already settled in its new enclosure, a good way to get acquainted with it is by starting to gently pick it up and pet it. However, there will be instances that it will move away or even feel threatened. This is when by means of hissing and lashing its tail.

When this happens, don't panic. It is just one way of your snake to bluff on you. When you maintain being gentle and persistent to your ball python everyday, trust as well as confidence can be established between your pet and you.

Once it is comfortable in your presence, you can start taking it around the house. Thus, a word of caution, a snake is still a snake. Being an animal of wise escapades, it will find means of getting out of your hands in order to escape. Furthermore, never do sudden movements.

If ever your ball python starts to wrap its body around your neck or arms, just gently remove it by holding on to its tail and start unwrapping it. Another thing to remember is that snakes don't like being held just after eating. Just let it rest inside its enclosure after it's feeding.

In regards to your ball python's health condition, it is advised to have it routinely checked by your veterinarian so that he can check it for any unpleasant illnesses as well as to ensure that its good health is maintained.

A lot of parasites from pythons have the potential to be transmitted to other reptiles, as well as humans. Moreover, such parasites can also kill your pet. Most ball pythons can get common diseases such as retained eye spectacles as well as mites. During shedding time for snakes, it is best to assess if your snake has shed its skin properly, especially their spectacle. If their spectacles have the chance of being retained, give your pet a bath in warm water for 10 minutes. Then after giving it a bath, dab some mineral oil with the use of cotton swab on their eyes with retained spectacles. The retained spectacles, in 24 hours time, should come off. If not, seek the help of your veterinarian.

As for mites, they signify improper pet handling and maintenance. They look like red to brown coloured dots swarming on your snake. Although harmless to us humans, they cause danger to your pet. One should again seek the aid of your veterinarian.
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