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Keeping pythons as pets is easier than most people think. The ball python is a good snake for a beginning snake owner. They can grow to a maximum size of 3 to 5 feet. Ball pythons aren’t as big as other constricting snakes that are kept as pets. They are very soft and they are easy to handle.
For the first time, snake owners can find why ball pythons are good pets and what you can expect when owning one.
Owning a ball python
Ball pythons, also known as royal pythons or pythons regius, belong to the same snake family as boas. All these snakes are contrictors. The so-called constrictor snakes wrap their body around their prey until the creature suffocates, and then swallows it completely.
How big are the ball pythons?
Ball pythons are very small and usually only reach 30 to 48 inches in adulthood. There will be ball pythons for purchase at pet stores that specialize in snakes, or they may help you find a breeder.
What to consider when choosing a snake
Choose a snake with a well-rounded, muscular body, clear clean eyes, and vent. One should choose one that doesn’t show signs of respiratory problems, like wheezing, bubbles around the nostrils.
Slowly grips your hand/arms while handling look for one that is alert and curious. They may be at first seem skittish and scared. But after handling it for a while should be quiet. It is not a bad idea to ask for a feeding demonstration to make sure the snake takes the food immediately. The skin should be somewhat rubbery feeling, shiny, and free to shed.
Bringing your new pet home
If you have already another reptile in your home, you need to isolate the new snake due to the risk of parasites and diseases. Isolation is best for three to six months in a separate room with separate equipment from other pets. In addition, an initial checkup with a veterinarian is appropriate, especially for internal and external parasites. Contracting salmonella bacteria is a very low risk as long as good hygiene is practiced.
Why buy from a breeder?
Ball pythons have a reputation for refusing food, but this is more common in wild-caught specimens. In addition, wild-caught snakes are extremely stressed from capture and transport. Often reach large parasitic loads, such as worms, pests, and ticks. Captive-snakes are slightly more expensive, but they are well worth the extra price. They will and tame down adjust quicker to their new home and will already be eating regularly.
Breeders will also offer ball pythons in all sorts of wonderful colors and shapes, which are called morphs. Most ball pythons sold at big chain pet stores are imported from Africa. Healthy, local, quality captive breed snakes can be found at a reptile expo or at an exotic animal store. If you already have experience with other types of snakes, you may also want to choose a ball python from an animal rescue.