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Ball Pythons:

By Christina Obrecht, January 25, 2008 12:00 PM PST

Caring For Your Ball Python:

“Python regius”

General Information:

Making sure the Ball Python is the right pet for you. Among the red-tail boas, and corn snakes, ball pythons are another one of the most popular snakes to have as pets. This would be ONE of the best starter snakes if your child insists on having one. The ball python originates mainly from western Africa, although they also live among the whole continent. To put your mind at ease, ball pythons are normally docile snakes and rarely bite. However, any animal CAN bite.  Daily handling will reduce the chance of your python from biting and allow them to become more tolerable to socialisaztion/handling. They have large re-curved teeth, strong muscles and in severe bites, can inflict a bloody, painful bite, even though the bites are shallow. The younger your snake, the quicker it will be to get them used to handling. Ball pythons are cold-blooded snakes that will reach between 4-5 feet in length (depending on sex).  The largest of any python species was recorded as 32 feet long. There are roughly 16-20 different species of pythons around the world. Since this species of snake is quite common, the availability of top-quality specimens are very high.  If properly kept, they will be easy to handle and have a long, healthy lifespan; which can be between 25-30 years.


Of course ball pythons are nocturnal and carnivorous. If you are starting with a juvenile, their diet would consist of pinkies or even fuzzy mice once a week. Pinkies should be pre killed and frozen when you buy them, then of course thaw them out before you feed your baby python. Adults will eat various size rats.  If your python refuses to eat a meal after 2-3 weeks; check your temperatures, huidity, and overall husbandry.  This species can stress easily if these things are not on par.  They prefer to have plenty of hiding places to feel secure.  If they do not, this can stress them out to where they will not eat, as they do not feel secure.  Keep in mind, this species of snake can also go off feed for several months of the year during the cooler months from barometric pressure changes.  This is normal; do not panic.  If your snake has a healthy weight and all of your tempratures and other parametrs are good, there is no worry.  Other reasons of course for them not waning to eat would be medical issues.  The most common illnesses in ball pythons as well as other species of snakes are: Respiratory infections, mouth rot, scale rot, mites and other parasites.  


If purchasing a snake, make sure you have all the supplies set up and ready to go. This will reduce stress to the snake when you are transferring it, and allows you to make sure all your supplies are functioning. If you are starting with a juvenile, a 20 gallon tank is sufficient. Make sure you have a digital hydrometer to ensure proper humidity levels, digital thermometer to measure your ambient temperatures, (also ensure that you have a proper temperature gradient; hot-warm-cool), a temperature gun to measure the surface basking temperature, plenty of secure hiding places, a water bowl large enough they can soak in if they choose to,  and of course something for them to crawl around on for enrichment/stimulation.  The surface basking temperature should be between 92-95 degrees.  If you use an UTH (under tank heater), be sure to use a thermostat to ensure the temperature stays consistant, as some heat mats that are not regulated can get as high as over 100 degrees.

Corn Snakes:

Caring For Your Corn snake:

“Pantherophis guttata ”

General Information:

Making sure a corn snake is the right pet for you: To get started, allow me to say this: corn snakes compose over 75% of the 3,000 species of snakes in the world. They also are a type rat snake. They are currently found in North America, Europe, and Asia. Although they are strictly a North American snake. They naturally occur in fairly humid environments, so they can tolerate a wide range of humidity. The number of corn snake species are unknown. They remain a manageable size of 30-36 in. and the largest rarely attain 74 in. The longevity of a corn snake is 32-33 yrs. If cared for properly. They are quiet, secretive, sleek, and streamlined animals that are very docile and easy to take care of, even for the inexperienced. They demand little in captivity. These snakes deserve devotion and commitment from their keeper. Corn snakes kill their prey by constriction; cutting off their prey’s oxygen supply until it is dead. These are very beautiful, colorful snakes that will make a great pet. My advice to you, is if interested in purchasing one, buy one that is about 6 months old, that way you can watch your juvenile grow up. To answer any parents question: Yes this is the PERFECT pet snake to ever have, even for your children to have and safely handle. This is by far the finest serpent to own!


Corn snakes are superior rodent hunters. They survive by preying on warm-blooded animals. Captive corn snakes feed willingly and heartily on just about any warm-blooded animal such as - small mice, rats, chicks, chicken eggs, small rabbits, birds, and lizards. If you are starting out with a juvenile, feed frozen/thawed pinkies. As the snake grows, you can feed it anything listed above. But do not over feed your snake.


If starting out with a juvenile, a 10-20 gallon tank is sufficient for the time being. Make sure, no matter its size, it will have enough room to spread its body out. As an adult, consider a 75 gallon tank, to ensure room, hiding spaces, and a basking spot. If you have cramped quarters, you will stress the snake. Make sure to have one or more hiding spaces as well. If no hiding spaces are available, it will stress your snake as well. The Temperature at the basking spot should be between 82-84; while at the cool end, it should be only 72-75. Also, keep your humidity at 60-70%, because humidity and ventilation is another important factor for your snake. Humidity too high can lead to skin infections among other things. Low humidity can lead to dehydration and scale issues. Incandescent lighting is considered one of the best to have in your cage, as well as florescent bulbs. One more piece of advice; keep locks on your cages!





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