Thinking about getting a ball python when I get a job. Currently a Comp. Sci. college student taking ~15 credit hours per semester. I like snakes a lot and I'd definitely be happy to have a snake out while doing work and also just to handle it so it wouldn't be cramped up in the cage all day.
(Specifically ball python things, but I'm sure there's some crossovers between different kinds of snakes):
What should I be aware of before getting a snake?
How much do these guys cost as pets? Is electricity for the heat lamps a huge issue? Vet costs?
How long do frozen rodents store for and how many times a month do they eat?
Where should I look to buy a ball python? How old should it be? How do I know it is a reputable dealer?
General warnings or tips?
Ok OP, first of all this ain't your blog. But i love my Sausage so i'll share what i have done
Royal Pythons/ball pythons are the most chill motherfuckers on the planet, they will do nothing if you let them, they will hug you if you grab them, and are overall cute as fuck with little hats.
They are smooth as fuck, they eat every week or so, they don't really need that big a terrarium, and do great alone. Their shits are nasty and they often poop while swimming. Also bitches to clean up after
PetSMart sells them for ~$60 bucks, they don't need heat laps though a uv bulb might be necessary. Heat pads are a must. Vets are usually for impacted stomachs and broken bones. ~$300
Store for a good 3 months below freezing. about 3-4 times a month
For a basic ball, look for local breeders. Or if it seems shady, petsmart/petco seems mediocre, but ok. more than 3 weeks old for sure They have customers and a decent website
They don't bite often, they are very chill. LOCK YOUR FUCKING TERRARIUM escape artists. If they dont eat for 2 weeks it should be fine, but any more than three you should seek medical help.
they grow to about 4-5 feet long
>Where should I look to buy a ball python?
Check your local craigslist/newspaper/shelter, or contact your local herp society. Maybe go to a show before you buy to meet some breeders.
>How old should it be?
An adult would be easier.
>How do I know it is a reputable dealer?
Get to know how the snakes are doing at different places before purchasing one. Ask for feed schedules, issues with past sheds or going off food, stuff like that. Ask for advice on snake-specific forums, 4/an/ is too slow.
>General warnings or tips?
Find a good herp vet or exotic vet with snake experience before you need it.
Sorry I am new here D=
Don't know the ins and outs of posting
Thanks for the info; definitely helpful. How often should I change the stuff in the cage that I use for a ground cover?
My old elementary school teacher had some snakes and one of them got out in the school. Thought it was a goner. 2 years later it showed up nice and fat; had been feeding on mice in the walls of the school.
If you can avoid it, don't get a mesh top terrarium, they are literally the worst at holding humidity. Look for a front opening vivarium or if you have the money and might want to get more snakes later on, even a snake rack.
A normal ball python should not cost you over 40 dollars.
Keep humidity 50-60%
Feed them rats from the get go, switching from mice to rats as an adult can be a pain.
Cypress mulch is a good substrate because it holds humidity very well
Do you live in California by chance?
I forgot to mention, rat size should be about equal to the snakes girth at its largest point.
Keep the humidity up by misting as needed, the humidity generally is going to come from water evaporating off of the substrate.
Pothos, ivy, Miniature palms, Mint, wandering jew, Phalenopsis, spathiphyllum, bromilliads.
I used to have only bromilliads in my snake enclosures when I was a boy. Super neat water bowls, but you gotta design the tank around the snake. so they get a sort of plastic box with an air pump . I wish I had pictures, but I hated them because I am a woman, lolol.
Whatever grows will get trampled, shouldn't be sharp, and can't require too much light. All plants like bottom heat in my northern clime.
I'm not sure, there is suppose to be a heat gradient meaning one side should be warmer and one side colder about 90 on the hot side and 75-80 on the cool side.
With that in mind, I have a UTH and a heat lamp on one side, in order to put the bowl on that side, I would have to cover the UTH or I need to move the heat lamp to the bowl side and have an inconsistent heat gradient.
But yeah, it helps is what I've heard.
Adults are usually already used to handling and have set habits (like eating F/T rodents). Plus you wouldn't have to constantly upgrade their cages as they grow slower than juvies. It's a matter of preference really
Snakes over 2-4 years would be a good age range.
I got 2 boas a few years ago. Loved it at first when they were small babys and cute. They ate a mouse a 1-2 week. That 3-6$ a week to feed when babies and and generally young. Then they grew up. Had to start feeding them rats which are much more expensive, especially alive. Couldnt give them frozen ones. One was stubborn about eating them, and the other would strike and squeeze them until the organs would spill out of the dead rats butt. It was a mess and smelled. Ended up spending 15-20$ a week to keep them fed and happy. I loved them. But 20 a week adds up, so i sold them to a respectable collecter. Larger snakes are lovely and are decently low maintainence but can get costly. Keep that in mind.
Considering you dont have a job yet and are a college student id recomend a smaller snake, but if your admiration is that great then dont let me stop you. Whatever you choose to get, remember to handle the snake often. Snakes have a great sence of familiarity, but not so much with memory. If you leave them cooped in a cage with no interaction besides dropping food in they could become untame.
Good advice. Thanks.
Once I get a job I am going to look into it all more, but until then it's just me doing some research and figuring out if it's even viable.
I do plan on handling the snake every day. My friend was telling me about how they can get aggressive also if you feed them live rats/mice. How true is that?
do not handle your snake every day. you should only handle it for about a half hour every couple of days, or even every few. don't handle it until at least 24 hours after feeding.
i can't tell you about live feeding though.
B careful where u get ur mice i got mine from the same place i got my snake and they had mites that killed my snake :( also how do you like comp. Science?? Im very interested in going as well
I've never heard of them getting aggressive when fed live, but they can get injured easily from the animals biting/clawing in defense. At least stick the rodent in a bag and smack it against a counter beforehand.
Aw that's a shame... I plan on getting frozen mice instead of live ones.
Also CS is good. Really fun if you like problem-solving. Everyone who doesn't know any programming languages thinks you're literally a wizard. I only mentioned it so that people could get a sense of how much free time I would have haha.
I'm also considering getting a ball python, but I have a 5 month old puppy, and I'm worried about how they'd get along. I don't suspect that a ball python couldn't do much to a dog, but does anyone with both have any advice for keeping a dog from killing snakes?