Pet Snake Forum And Discussion Board

Pet Snake Forum And Discussion Board (
-   General (
-   -   New to this - lots of questions (

Geni08 08-25-2012 11:55 PM

New to this - lots of questions
Hello everyone,

I have recently purchased a ball python for my son - and is the case with most things new - I have a ton of questions I didn't think to ask before taking him home. I am hoping you all can help.

In reading through the posts here I see details help so I will try to be specific:
The python is about 3 months old (the store said). He is eating fine, thawed frozen. He is approximately 18" long. We have him in a 20 long terrarium with aspen substrate, hiding places for cool & hot sides, water dish big enough to soak. Two themometers & a hygrometer (reading between 50% & 60%), a heat pad under the tank and heat lamp over the top.

1. He seems to be more active the day before his feeding and almost agressive the day of the feeding. Is this normal?

2. We have had him about 2 weeks now and he has only gone to the bathroom once - should I be concerned (I've read mixed things online)?

3. The temps for the hot & cool sides: I understand the hot should be 90 - 95 and cool 80 - 85. But is that the air temp or surface temp?

4. Where should the tempurature probes be located - under the substrate or on the tank wall?

Sorry for such a long post but I want to make sure I am getting this right ASAP so as not to stress out the snake more than necessary. Thanks so much for any advice you can give!


lovesnuffles 08-26-2012 04:34 PM

Sounds like you're doing everything just perfectly.

1. Yes, some snakes tend to get aggressive during feeding times and calm back down after they've eaten. Completely normal.

2. He'll go to the bathroom about a week after he eats, so yes. ((Which is why you only feed them once a week. Only feed them as much as they defecate))

3. Air temps

4. They should be located where the snake is located during basking/cooling. Not under the substrate, as that'll give you an inaccurate reading.

DennyS 08-27-2012 03:56 PM

Hi Geni, Ok answers in order...
1. very normal! Please remember NOT to HANDLE ANY SNAKE THE DAY OF FEEDING AND 24 HRS AFTER. Owning a snake is "When will I get bit, NOT will I get bit. There are rules to owning ANY snake. Break a rule and you WILL GET BIT! Ball Pythons are great starter snakes. As a baby they will head butt you as a warning. Bites are not bad at all!!
2. He will normally go to the bathroom the day before feeding!
3. Surface temp..
4. Place temp probe inside the tank under the substrate! The snake is laying on or in the substrate over the heat. A belly burn will kill a snake in a heart beat!

Also I make a rule NEVER to handle a snake after DARK. That is when they hunt!
Snakes are normally sleeping during the day, if you wake them up they can be grumpy just like us.
When I feed my snakes I wear a pair of yellow dish washing glove to hide the heat signature of my hand...(limits my bites) and YES, I get bit about 5 times a year!
Rev. Denny

Geni08 08-27-2012 10:02 PM

Thanks very much for your quick answers, I really appreciate it. Conflicting though as far as the tempurature questions though. Any other thoughts on that topic - just wondering why the difference??

Thanks again so much!


lovesnuffles 08-28-2012 04:32 PM

Are you using lights or heating pads? I imagine lights? Which is why I say over the substrate, where the snake actually is. Under the substrate will insulate against the heat. But Denny has been doing this longer than I, so go with his answer if you are more comfortable :)

DennyS 08-29-2012 12:12 AM

And I was quoting for heat pads or flex watt (I use)! Belly should be kept warm for better digestion, heat lamp to maintain snakes warmth. You MUST be careful not to let it get too warm though!!

Geni08 08-29-2012 10:17 PM

I see. I have an under the tank heating pad on the warm side and a lamp over the tank on the cool side. The surface temps have been good - so I guess I will stick with it for now. The snake seems happy - moves around a lot and he doesn't seem to favor either side. I have seen him on both sides, in his hides or just roaming around.

I did make an appointment with a reptile vet for this coming weekend, since he still has not gone to the bathroom. So hopefully everything is ok on that issue.

Thanks very much for all your help!!


DennyS 08-29-2012 11:44 PM

You can check to see if he has a lump on his belly near the vent. If he does you can soak him in barely warm water (remember he is cold blooded so warm is scalding to him) then gently rub the belly toward the vent and the lump will (most of the time) push out. Note: make sure you hold him over the toilet or at least some paper towels! You are very welcome and thanks for joining! What state are you in??

Geni08 09-12-2012 01:30 AM

I am in Massachusetts. Still warm here, but I have lamps for when it gets colder.

I did take Liberty to a reptile vet and had him checked out. He did have some intestinal parasites and was treated for that. The vet said it was common. He has since gone to the bathroom.

But now he won't eat! It has been a week and a day since his last feeding. As I type this I am trying again. Today he actually took the mouse into his mouth and it seemed like he tried to get it down - for about 15 minutes. Then he let it go. I have left him in the dark for a while to see if that helps, but it is almost like he is having trouble swallowing. :confused:

Any thoughts??

Thanks again for all your help!!


lovesnuffles 09-12-2012 04:18 AM

Oh my x.x Massachusetts lol. Now I shall forever read every post you make in my boyfriend's voice :P He's from Boston. Constantly picking on him about his accent ((I'm in Louisiana)).

Don't worry about him not eating unless he's losing weight. A week and a day is nothing for a snake. It's pretty much just like you skipping breakfast and that's it. Wait a week to keep him on schedule and maybe try a smaller food item.

All times are GMT. The time now is 06:00 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.