Vote for BP.Net for the 2013 Forum of the Year! Click here for more info.

» Site Navigation

» Home
 > FAQ













» Today's Birthdays

ironpython (53)
supamyk (37)
mrSocks (22)
owl307 (16)

» Stats

Members: 43,404
Threads: 196,786
Posts: 2,064,750
Top Poster: JLC (31,046)
Welcome to our newest member, CNewsom

» August 2014

S M T W T F S
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-21-2007
    Location
    St.Helens, Oregon
    Posts
    73
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    My ball python is hissing at me!

    Hi everybody my name is Joe and I just got my first ball python 3 days ago (well 2 balls at the same time). I didn't mean to get 2 but thats just how it ended up. Any ways the one I picked out is now hissing at me every time I go to pick it up and the other one is calm and relaxed. I try to handle them at least 30 min. a day. They are both baby's and about 18" long give or take. The cage is kept at about 80-85 degrees during the day and about 75-80 at night with the humidity at around 60-70%. The have a big water dish and a good hide spot. The calm gentle one likes to hide under the water dish and the hissing one likes to hide in the coconut hut. Anyway my question is why is my ball hissing at me and is it going to bite me? Also do I continue to try and handle it why it is hissing or do I back off and give him/her room? Any comment's would be great. Thank you and have a wonderful day!

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran NickP's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-15-2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    391
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Images: 7

    Re: My ball python is hissing at me!

    Well, first of all, before I start keep in mind that a snake will hiss if he is not comfortable with his environment and is stressed out. From your post I can see that you keep both of them in the same tank, which is a bad idea. Get another one or if the tank is big enough (20g long or bigger), for now you can split it in half and separate the snakes.

    Second, you should take a closer look at the BP care sheets. First thing you need is a temperature gradient. On one end [cooler end] the temps need to be 80-84 and on the other [warmer end] they need to be 90-94. This will create a gradient and the snakes can thermoregulate accordingly. To do this you need to get one or two under tank heaters for the warmer side and a heating lamp (mine has a red 60 watt light bulb enough to keep the cooler end at 83 degrees) on the cooler side. You also need to either buy TWO thermostats, or just one along with a dimmer: set the thermostat on the warmer end at 94, then dim down the lamp so that the cooler side is 10 degrees lower.

    Next, your humidity is too high. It needs to be 50-60% and during shed you should bump that to 60-75%. Keep that in mind. Having the humidity over 60% can encourage bacterial growth.

    Finally, you need to have two identical hides on both ends so that the snake can pick the temperature it wants/needs for the moment.

    ONCE you have all that set up put the snakes in and leave them alone for an entire week! This part is very important. The snakes need to get used to their new homes. The first 3-5 days they will roam their tanks, looking for ways to escape and just getting to know everything. Once they settle in, they will retreat to one of the hides. Don't worry if they don't use the hides the first week or so. Mine camped out next to it the entire week before starting to use it. Also, you should enjoy that first week because that is the only time you will be seeing your BPs out of their hides hehe.

    Once the week is up, feed both of them, then let them be for 48 hours to digest. Finally start handling both every day for 10 minutes and slowly work it up from there. Don't overhandle and try to keep the sessions short. One bad handling session will take you two steps back.

    I am speaking out of experience. My bp used to hiss at me and wouldn't even let me get near him, but once the week was up and he ate and digested, he stopped hissing and slowly got comfortable with me.

    Oh yeah, if the BP keeps hissing just scoop him up from behind even if he is hissing. Once on your hands he will most likely calm down. Hissing is a sign of "leave me alone," not "I'm gonne bite you."

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by NickP; 12-21-2007 at 03:01 AM.
    1.0 Normal (Buddy)

  3. #3
    Registered User aeio540's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-29-2007
    Location
    Ft. Worth Texas
    Posts
    118
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: My ball python is hissing at me!

    It could be several things as to why he hisses:

    1. He is a baby, babies tend to hiss and be nippy. Eventually they calm down.

    2. Both in the same cage, I know they do this at pet stores because of space but is generally frowned upon. Stress on the animal and having to choose a hide spot that isn't occupied.

    3. Bump up the temperatures a bit. Hot side should be around ~90 degrees. Mine is usually 92 degrees on the hot side and 80-85 on cool. I don't do the temp drop at night. Atleast not a drastic drop, the cool side drops but only to about 78 degrees but the hot side stays ~92 degrees day and night. So far no complaints.
    1.0.0 Ball Python Fingers
    0.1.0 BCI Motoko

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-21-2007
    Location
    St.Helens, Oregon
    Posts
    73
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: My ball python is hissing at me!

    Thanks so much for all the info. It's really hard to tell what is real good info and real bad info on the web. When I went to the pet store to buy the ball I bought just one but they sold me a used tank at 10% off. It was already set up. When I got home and lifted the water dish holy S@#$ there was another snake. Same size but another snake. So I ended up with two. As far as the temp goes I am trying my best but there is so little detailed info on how to arrange lighting structures I wasn't sure how to do it. I do have a heat pad on one side and a normal swival lamp on the other side with a 100W bulb. I guess to much watts huh? Wasn't sure on what watt to buys.The lamp is over the top of the water bowl for the humidity. Thats what the site I read said to do. Thanks for the comment. I will try to seperate them as soon as possible. On one site though it said it was ok to house more than one together and that they would be fine.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-21-2007
    Location
    St.Helens, Oregon
    Posts
    73
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: My ball python is hissing at me!

    The morning after I got them they were curled up together under the water bowl. They were interlocked together. I hope this is a good sign...but they were not trying to hurt each other at least I don't think they were. There were no signs of abuse.LOL

  6. #6
    BPnet Veteran NickP's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-15-2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    391
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Images: 7

    Re: My ball python is hissing at me!

    Whoa. How much was your tank? I guess Christmas came early for you huh? hehe. Post a pic of your tank and that magical water bowl plz hah

    and no they won't hurt each other; they'll just cause unnecessary stress. Also I'm not too sure on this, but if they are male/female then they might try to breed too early. But someone with more experience and knowledge should chip in and correct me on that one if I'm wrong.
    1.0 Normal (Buddy)

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-21-2007
    Location
    St.Helens, Oregon
    Posts
    73
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: My ball python is hissing at me!

    Yah is was quite the suprise. I payed $129 for everything. It is only a 10 gallon but I only bought it for the discount...I just got a 20 gallon for free tonight though. My parent just upgraded to a 55 gallon for their water dragon so I got there 20 gallon. I know a 10 gallon is small but I knew I would have it for long. I wasn't sure how long the snake had been in there so I fed it yesterday a mouse and it ate it right away. They both eat fine so that was a plus for me. I am guessing that the one that came in the tank is calm because it is already familar with the tank. I just can't believe that the pet store never took the snake out and forgot it was even in there.

  8. #8
    BPnet Veteran NightLad's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-25-2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    766
    Thanks
    40
    Thanked 53 Times in 36 Posts
    Images: 11

    Re: My ball python is hissing at me!

    Hi there Jophis, and welcome to the forums!

    You've received some great advice, and you will find a lot more to be had at this site. This is a fantastic resource with a very knowledgeable community. Many people own more than one BP, and there are several professional breeders who interact with other professionals and novices alike on the forms.

    If you've just arrived here you may not be aware, but there is an excellent Ball Python Care Sheet available. I found it immensely helpful.

    I agree that keeping two BPs in one 10g may not be the best thing. For example, you mentioned that they were curled up together under one of the impromptu hide spots. This behavior is not really common. As humans our instinct is to filter what we see through our own experiences to understand them. So, we see two snakes curled together and we naturally assume they are getting along and cuddling. In reality, the snakes are silently vying for what they consider to be the "best" hide spot. The fact that the new snake invaded the hide where the other had already established itself is probably very stressful for him/her. It would be like having a stranger suddenly move into your bedroom and demand to share your bed!

    Again, it is for reasons like this (which is just one prime example) that it is not recommended to house multiple Ball Pythons together. More reasons include the chance of spreading illness, or, especially in your case where you don't know the gender of this 'surprise snake', eventually unwanted mating when they get older.

    Temperature
    You will no doubt find most of your questions answered in the Ball Python Care Sheet, but I do have a few points that might help.

    As it has been stated, the hot side should be around 90-95F, while the cool side should stay around 80F, give or take a couple degrees. These numbers indicate ground temperature – not ambient (overall) air temperature. The ambient air temperature should be around 80F.

    When using a heating pad it is very important to have it plugged in to either a rheostat or a thermostat. Both of these devices are designed to regulate the power available to the heating pad so it will not get too hot. An unregulated heating pad can top-out at 115F – far too hot for your snake!

    Rheostat: A rheostat is like a ‘dimmer’ that you can plug the UTH (under tank heater) into and then manually dial back the power current available to the unit. By using a digital thermometer you can check the ground temperatures of the ‘hot side’ until you reach your desired level. Keep in mind that it can take 2 hours for a UTH to reach its maximum heat output, so be patient. These units are not very expensive.

    Thermostat: A thermostat, or more specifically, a proportional thermostat, is a device that you also plug your UTH into to control the output temperature. However, these units can be programmed via a simple digital display to self-regulate the temperature at the desired level. They come with a remote temperature probe that you set on ground level on the hot side and the unit takes care of the rest. Good brands are Helix and HerpStat. I use this HerpStat unit from SpyderRobotics. Different models can moderate multiple UTH in different enclosures, too. These units are more costly.

    Whatever UTH regulating device you choose, I also recommend using a surge protected and grounded power bar. I never plug my electronics directly into wall sockets. In the case of a UTH, one power-surge can drastically raise temperatures while burring out the unit and potentially killing your snake. I like Belkin power-bars and highly recommend them.

    A final note about UTH units that stick to the bottom of tanks; do not reuse them. The manufacturer warns against this on the packaging for a reason, and not just to sell more units. It is because the bending and twisting while removing the unit can damage circuits and wires which can contribute to malfunctions, ‘super hot’ spots and ‘dead spots’ on the pad.

    Humidity
    As hammerhead mentioned, 50-60% is considered proper, with 60-70% during sheds. Keeping the water bowl over the UTH can help raise the humidity, but if you are not able to maintain 50-60% try misting the walls of the enclosure twice a day - once in the morning and again before you go to bed.

    Overhead Lights:
    Being nocturnal Ball Pythons don’t need special lights that mimic the sun. However, if your ambient air temperature isn’t what it should be, than an overhead heat light can be helpful; 40wats for a 10g tank, 60w for a 20g.

    Personally I found that the basking lamps really killed my humidity, so I opted for a Ceramic Heat Emitter (same wats per gal apply). They don’t emit light, just heat, and they don’t affect the humidity.

    Terrarium size:
    A 10g terrarium is fine for one baby BP. In a year or so (depending how fast it grows) you may upgrade to a 20g or 30g. I’ve started mine out in a 20g and will upgrade to a 30g for his adult size. If you divide your 20g in two with a terrarium divider, your snakes will be happier.

    Hissing & Biting:
    As hammerhead pointed out, hissing is a sign of ‘back off.’ It is important to leave your BP totally alone for the first week. It’s good to know that they are both feeding, but now is a time to let them chill out and get used to their new environment.

    When a snake is going to bite it will usually ‘rear up’ first, so watch for that action. If your BP ever does bite you, try to not panic. Try to fight the urge to pull your hand away, because this can damage their teeth and harm the snake. Their bites, from what I’ve read (to date I’ve yet to be bit), are not painful so much as ‘surprising.’ They have no venom and no fangs – so just bare that in mind.

    There are two types of bites; tags and latches. You can find lots of information about those types by searching the forums, but in a nut-shell:

    Tags: This is similar to a dogs ‘nip.’ The animal puts no effort into the strike to cause harm, and usually only ‘touches’ you with the teeth before pulling away. I’d say it is equivalent to a human’s hand-slap. It is the last line of, “Get away from me NOW”

    Latches: A latch is uncommon for Ball Pythons and usually only occurs due to being suddenly startled (defense reaction) or as a mistaken feeding attempt usually caused by an owner forgetting to wash their hands after handling feeders and then putting their hand in the cage. The snake smells food, sees a warm moving thing, and strikes.

    If a latch happens it can be tricky to get the snake off. Usually they don’t last too long, so waiting it out is not uncommon to start with. However, if the snake shows no sign of relenting then you can try dripping some cold water on its head with your fingers. They hate that. More drastic measures include opening a bottle of rubbing alcohol and holding the top close to their head. They find the smell unbearable. Usually those two things will get them to release.

    Again, search the forums for more information. More information is always a good thing!

    On a final note, it is true that most babies can be ‘nippy.’ They are not doing it to be vicious, just because they are scared. Human babies cry, snake babies bite. It’s just their nature.

    Handling:
    After the first week of leaving them alone (starting when you set up their divided/individual enclosures) you can start handling for 5-10 min every so often. Maybe not even every day, but every other day for a week. After that you can increase the time slowly, up to maybe a half hour. As the snake gets older and grows to know you and your scent it will be relaxed and, for some, even happy to be handled.

    I also pick my BP up by approaching him from behind so he can't see my hand directly. This is considered less threatening. If I am lifting up his hide to pick him up, I first lightly tap on the top so he knows I'm there. Before I lift him up I also gently pet his back with the back of my fingers. Slow gentle movements are a must when handling BPs, especially as babies. Don't touch their head or the first 4-5" of their neck, either. They hate that.

    Patients is a virtue with Ball Pythons!

    Remember that security is a major issue for Ball Pythons. They need to feel safe and comfortable in their environment, and this means providing them with 2 hides: one on the cool side and one on the hot. Because they are nocturnal you will probably rarely/never see them during the day, but when comfortable they will start venturing out in the evenings.

    >>> I am guessing that the one that came in the tank is calm because it is already familiar with the tank. I just can't believe that the pet store never took the snake out and forgot it was even in there.

    I’d say you are right about the ‘surprise’ snake. I’m personally shocked at the negligence of the pet store for ‘overlooking’ an animal in a cage/setup they sold. Wow. I can only hope it was not left without fresh water and food for too long before you got him/her.

    Due to this fact, you may seriously consider taking them to a vet in a couple of months for a checkup. Get a fecal test done on them to make sure they are not carrying parasites and they are overall healthy. A list of good herp vets can he found by clicking here.

    Please post pictures of your new BPs in the BP Pictures Forum!

    I hope this has been helpful.
    Last edited by NightLad; 12-21-2007 at 05:33 AM. Reason: Typo hunting.

  9. #9
    BPnet Veteran NightLad's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-25-2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    766
    Thanks
    40
    Thanked 53 Times in 36 Posts
    Images: 11

    Re: My ball python is hissing at me!

    Please note that my above post is only meant to share my personal opinions and ‘discoveries’ about the various points of Ball Python husbandry in regard to your specific questions and concerns. It is not meant to replace or supplement the official Ball Python Care Sheet already provided at this site.

  10. #10
    BPnet Senior Member Skiploder's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-03-2007
    Location
    Under a pile of wood.
    Posts
    3,259
    Thanks
    100
    Thanked 3,008 Times in 1,063 Posts
    Images: 8

    Re: My ball python is hissing at me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jophis82 View Post
    The morning after I got them they were curled up together under the water bowl. They were interlocked together. I hope this is a good sign...but they were not trying to hurt each other at least I don't think they were. There were no signs of abuse.LOL
    The interlocking does not mean they are snuggling - it's a sign that they are trying to share the same choice spot in the enclosure.

    Your snake is hissing at you because it's stressed.

    (1) Leave it alone for a week, minimum. Make sure it has plenty of cover, hide spots, etc. You're keeping it in a glass tank - right? I'd recommend blacking out the sides and the back (long term) and the front (short term). Place the enclosure in a spot that gets a minimum of traffic.

    (2) Mind the proper husbandry guidelines.

    (3) Separate the snakes.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.1