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Thread: New BP

  1. #1
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    I have just purchased my first BP. I am new to snakes, so everything I'm doing is off of advice. I bought him (not sure of the sex) from a local pet store. The pet store tells me that he is captive breed, and about 6 months old. But they also told me that he would grow to 6 feet long and live about 10 years. I hope that not too many people are angry with how stupid I was when I purchased him. I've learned quite alot just from reading the forums and other web sites.

    For the enclosure, we purchased a 20 gallon tank with a 75 and 100 watt bulb ( we only use one bulb at a time), an under tank heating mat, thermometer( tank stays about 86 during the day, 75-78 at night), hide, and ceramic bowl for water.

    The first night we had him home, he shed his skin! He did it inside the hide, so it ended up in a tight wad. The second night we had him home he pooped. The pet store told us that when he pooped, it was time to feed him. And they said that he was feed on thursday, and his bowel movement was on the following monday.

    We have not fed him yet, as we would like him to get used to his enclosure first. He was handled quite alot on the day we bought him, and removed for the changing of the tank lining (astroturf) 2 days later. Yesterday (tuesday) he went to the vet, along with his poop, to get an evaluation. Turns up he had worms, and is being treated.

    We were thinking of feeding him next week, to give him sometime alone to get used to his enclosure, as he bit my wife when she went to remove him to clean the cage.

    Please help me with everything you can see that I'm doing wrong. I am very interested in the snake, but do not want to make any wrong decisions that may harm him or make him uncomfortable.

  2. #2
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    New BP

    Well, as I'm sure you are aware by now, pet stores generally suck at reptile husbandry. The best case-scenario would have been you researching the animal before getting it, but thats a mute point now isn't it?

    I suggest you do away with the light bulbs, as they are not the best method of heating for BPs. The best way to go about heating a cage is a human heat pad from Wal-Mart. Those supposed "reptile pads" can get very hot if not kept on a thermostat. You don't want the temps to go over 90 on the warm side or under 75 on the cool side. *Very important*.....go out and get yourself a good digital thermometer. Anything besides digital is crap.

    Also, you may find newspaper to be a much easier substrate to use than astroturf. Much easier to change out and cheaper. That turf stuff absorbs bacteria very well and its hard to really clean it efficiently. I also suggest using at LEAST 2 hides in the cage...one on the warm side and one on the cool side. This allows for thermoregulation.

    About the pooping.....BPs usually poop once a month....but you want to feed your snake more often than that, so the pet store is *surprise* wrong again, lol. Babies-Juvies do well on a every 7 day schedule and Adults every 10 days or so. Over feeding can be just as bad if not worse than underfeeding.

    Give your snake a chance to settle in and keep handling to a minimum until he/she becomes an established eater for you. Be sure to feed only dead prey, preferably frozen/thawed.

    Good luck with your new acquisition.

  3. #3
    BPnet Veteran Marla's Avatar
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    Guardian, many a ball python owner has been surprised to find that s/he has gotten bad husbandry advice from a pet store or friend, but you got lucky: you learned it early. And you are being responsible by reading up on proper husbandry and asking for advice from more experienced keepers. Despite David's abruptness (just his style, not personal), I don't think anyone here is going to be angry with you for trying to get it right.

    That said, David's right about ditching the light bulbs. They will dry out the air, are unnecessary for a nocturnal snake, present opportunities for burns, and aren't as good for thermoregulation as belly heat. Where you need to measure the temperature, though, is right on top of the substrate, whatever type you're using, on both the warm and cool sides -- not on the side of the tank with stick-ons. You can get a digital thermometer/hygrometer combo from WalMart or similar stores for about $15 (in section with outdoor thermometers) that will measure the temps on both sides and the humidity all at the same time. You want to aim for 90 warm side and 80 cool side temps, +/-2 degrees, and 50%-60% humidity.

    And good for you for deciding to give him some time to acclimate before trying to feed again. That's a good plan, and I'd try for at least a week, not counting cleaning cage, replacing water, etc., of leaving him alone. Does your little guy have a name yet?
    3.1.1 BP (Snyder, Hanover, Bo Peep, Sir NAITF, Eve), 1.2.3 Rhacodactylus ciliatus (Sandiego, Carmen, Scooby, Camo, BABIES ), 1.0 Chow (Buddha), 0.2 cats (Jezebel, PCBH "Nanners"), 0.3 humans
    xnview for resizing and coverting pics

    Support Ball-Pythons.net by shopping our store!

  4. #4
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    David covered things pretty thoroughly, but I'll add some:

    Some things the pet store got wrong...BP's rarely get to six feet. It's possible if it's a female, but even females rarely reach that length. Males are much shorter. Also...if kept well, they live much longer than 10 years....try more like 30-40!! It's a lifetime commitment!

    Good for you, that you care enough to seek out the proper information and take advice on how to best care for your animal. Too many people don't.

    If you're like many other first-time bp owners, I'm sure many more questions will pop up. Please feel free to ask them here. There's no such thing as a dumb question (except the one that isn't asked!) and we enjoy being able to help out.
    -- Judy

  5. #5
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    The BP was named by me 2 year old son. He shall be called "Button". (Please no remarks to his name)!

  6. #6
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    Welcome aboard - nothing wrong with button at all!

    "I don't FEEL tardy . . ."


  7. #7
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Awww...Button is a great name!
    -- Judy

  8. #8
    BPnet Veteran Marla's Avatar
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    Button is both cute and inventive! Maybe those of us who have trouble naming snakes should ask your son for help.
    3.1.1 BP (Snyder, Hanover, Bo Peep, Sir NAITF, Eve), 1.2.3 Rhacodactylus ciliatus (Sandiego, Carmen, Scooby, Camo, BABIES ), 1.0 Chow (Buddha), 0.2 cats (Jezebel, PCBH "Nanners"), 0.3 humans
    xnview for resizing and coverting pics

    Support Ball-Pythons.net by shopping our store!

  9. #9
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    Sorry if I was abrupt, lol.....like Marla said, its not personal. I'm very glad you are researching now. Its better than alot of people would've done. Keep up the good work!

  10. #10
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    I wonder if bp.net can get it's final caresheet (still a beta version) out to pet shops...

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