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  1. #1
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    Additional Questions For an Amateur

    Recently sold my fish aquarium and decided to venture into the snake world.

    Currently looking at purchasing a normal ball python (prefer the color over the more expensive different colored ones) have done my research and read a lot of articles on their behaviour and care. Just had a few additional questions for you experts.

    1) Looking at buying a Python that is still a juvenile, there are a few owners selling theirs for good prices. Would there be a particular Age you wouldn't recommend buying, or an Age you'd stay under.

    2) Tank size, my aquarium was in the living room, was a 150 Gallon tank, took up a lot of room but really made the room shine. Regarding tank size for a snake, I see they don't require much space, but I'd prefer a bigger tank to make up for the space. However is this something you guys would recommend or is there an ideal size.

    3) Cleaning, I see you should be cleaning at least once a week, but what about spot cleaning every couple days or picking up the feces. Or do they not really make a mess and a week is good enough?

    4) Substrate, which one have you guys found works best, other than newspaper? Are they active climbers, are branches recommend?

    5) Lightning and heating. Heating pads vs heat bulb? And if you use a heat bulb, does that count as your red light at night and you just use your house light during the day?

    6) Last question, handling, how often do you guys do it and for how long. Can you do it multiple times during the day?

    Sorry for all the questions but I've been following this forum and you guys definitely know more than the pet shop people and I just want to make sure I'm doing a good job.

    Side question, decided to go with a Ball Python because I read they are probably the best starter snake, if I did Boa instead, would you recommend it or no?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Registered User dylan815's Avatar
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    1. I think that you should be fine buying any age, but i do feel that you will like one that you got a a baby more than one that you got as an adult or juvinile.
    2. for one ball python something like a 40 gallon breeder or a 41Q rubbermaid tub would be perfect.
    3. Depends on the snake. Usually i can get by with spot cleaning every 3 or 4 days, then changing bedding entirely as needed. every two weeks or so.
    4. they sometimes will climb as babies, but are not considered aboreal. I like to use coconut fiber, or papertowel works fine too. both help keep up the humidity.
    5. I'm 100% for heat pad over bulb. Never use a "nighttime bulb" with a ball python or most lizards, they can still see the light and this can cause them stress. snakes do not require any special lighting except for simply 12 hours or so of light and 12 hours or so of dark. You should 100% go with a UTH (under tank heater) connected to a thermostat for your heat supply. THe thermostat is a 100% necessity, you have to have one otherwise you will eventually burn your snake to death with a malfunctining heat pad. DON"T RISK IT EVER! There are many affordable ones out there and most recomend one from "spyder robotics.
    6. I handle almost every day, this lets me keep a good relationship with all my animals and keeps them used to me. As with any new reptile it is best to leave them be for 1-2 weeks before starting to handle in short sessions.


    Extra credit: Ball pythons are great starter snakes because of their size and temperment. A boa is a much much larger animal, some reaching 9 feet occassionally. i would start with a ball python and see how you liek it before looking into a boa or another larger snake. I have kept both and ball pythons are nice because of the size, but boas are super inquisitive and fun to handle, plus they get larger


    Good luck with your adventure, make sure to ask lots of questions, we don't bite!
    1.0 Normal BP
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    1.0 High lines Red Tail Boa

  3. #3
    Registered User Caali's Avatar
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    Re: Additional Questions For an Amateur

    Welcome to the forum and the world of snakes

    1. You can choose any age but baby ball pythons are a bit more difficult. They're not always the most established eaters and it can be a drag to change from mice to rats. I personally would always suggest to get a semi-adult or adult since it's easier for beginners. If you want to get a hatchling, then make sure it has eaten at least 5 times on it's own and has shed a few times as well. If you want to feed F/T, then get a snake that already eats F/T.

    2. I can't estimate what a 150 gallon tank looks like but I can tell you the rule we use here in Europe (for ball pythons). The tank should be:
    2.1. For the length of the terrarium 1x the snake's length
    2.2. For the height of the terrarium 0,75x the snake's length
    2.3. For the width of the terrarium 1x the snake's length

    3. I don't clean everything every week. I'd be out of substrate really quick then. Normally I spot clean when it's needed. I clean the water ball once a week and change the water every 2 to 3 days. I fully clean my terrarium once a month.

    4. The substrate I use is cypress mulch. Young ball pythons are often climbers but it depends on the snake. There are adult ball pythons who like climbing as well. You'll what your snake prefers once you have had it for some time.

    5. I use a CHE since I found that my ball python seems to dislike the heat pad. It was regulated by a 75$ thermostat which is known to be quite good so I doubt that it was because the heat pad was too hot. I have another LED light bulb which doesn't get warm as well as a dim night light. The CHE is also attached to a thermostat and it's also caged in. It is working the whole day.

    6. I don't handle my snake since I feel like it would be for my pleasure not for his. If you do want to handle him, don't do it daily and not more than once a day. Once or twice a week would be okay in my opinion. Ball pythons get stressed very easily. Handling them too often can cause them to become defensive. They could also refuse to eat or hide all the time. Another thing is that you should not handle your snake after it ate. Leave it alone for at least two days.

    7. Yes, I would recommend a ball python as a starter snake. But just like with ANY animal you need to do lots of research just like you are doing right now. I personally really like this book (from all the ones I've read): https://www.amazon.com/Python-regius...n+regius+kevin

    I hope this was helpful.
    Last edited by Caali; 01-13-2018 at 07:37 AM.
    Male Ball Python (Bumblebee het 100% Clown) - Friedrich
    Female Cat (unknown heritage, was an orphaned kitten) - Shirley

  4. #4
    Registered User Caali's Avatar
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    Re: Additional Questions For an Amateur

    Quote Originally Posted by Caali View Post
    2. I can't estimate what a 150 gallon tank looks like but I can tell you the rule we use here in Europe (for ball pythons). The tank should be:
    2.1. For the length of the terrarium 1x the snake's length
    2.2. For the height of the terrarium 0,75x the snake's length
    2.3. For the width of the terrarium 1x the snake's length

    I'm sorry I meant: For the width of the terrarium 0,5x the snake's length
    Male Ball Python (Bumblebee het 100% Clown) - Friedrich
    Female Cat (unknown heritage, was an orphaned kitten) - Shirley

  5. #5
    Registered User craigafrechette's Avatar
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    1) Any age is fine, just be sure the snake is already a well established eater. If you plan to feed frozen/thawed, make sure the snake is already accepting F/T.

    2) 150 gallons is HUGE, even for an adult. If you're going glass, I wouldn't start any bigger than 20 gallons and even that is big for a first time keeper. Snakes rely very heavily on security, so the smaller the better, within reason.

    3) I spot clean as needed. As soon as I see poop, pee or urates I spot clean that area. I do a thorough cleaning every few months, depending on the species. With BPs I do a full clean every 3 months or so.

    4) As for substrate, I use a mix of eco-earth and repti-bark and have had no problems with it. I adjust the ratio seasonally to help with humidity control.
    Some BPs climb more than others, especially as juveniles. But they tend to stay pretty terrestrial as adults. I do provide climbing branches, but often end up ditching them because they aren't used.

    5) A Heat mat (UTH) is there solely to provide a hot spot. It is not there for ambient temps.
    I have had success with the dark purple bulbs for years. They throw just enough light but not enough that it is bright at night. BPs don't require a light cycle.

    VERY IMPORTANT: ALL heat sources should be regulated by a thermostat! VERY IMPORTANT as unregulated UTHs can spike to dangerous temps burning or even killing your snake. Bulbs can also spike creating dangerous temps which can cause health problems and even death.


    6) Handling varies animal to animal. Some tolerate handling better than others. I highly suggest keeping handling to an absolute bare minimum until your snake has eaten 3 consecutive meals without refusal. Once the snake is acclimated and eating properly you can start with handling sessions. Start short and sweet, maybe 15 minutes 2-3 times per week. From there, let the snake determine how often and for how long.

    Good luck!! Happy to help with any further questions as well.
    Last edited by craigafrechette; 01-13-2018 at 08:44 AM.
    ...life is beautiful...

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  7. #6
    BPnet Veteran Godzilla78's Avatar
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    Re: Additional Questions For an Amateur

    For a beginner I would recommend buying an older snake. They can live 30 years, so if you buy a 3 year old adult, you are really not missing much. The adults will be much easier to feed and are usually much friendlier to handle and less likely to strike.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #7
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    Re: Additional Questions For an Amateur

    Extremely helpful guys, I appreciate all the information. Definitely changing some things now.

    Another question, do you guys ever just let your snake out of the cage to roam the house or you wouldn't recommend it?

    Also if bitten by the snake, just a quick bite, anything to worry about, simple wash and disinfecting cream and bandage? Or is there a better way?

    Thanks again!

  9. #8
    Registered User larryd23's Avatar
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    Re: Additional Questions For an Amateur

    Since you are leaning toward a larger enclosure I would recommend getting a female. On average, they are considerably larger than males.

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  11. #9
    in evinco persecutus dr del's Avatar
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    Re: Additional Questions For an Amateur

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamsnacks View Post
    Extremely helpful guys, I appreciate all the information. Definitely changing some things now.

    Another question, do you guys ever just let your snake out of the cage to roam the house or you wouldn't recommend it?

    Also if bitten by the snake, just a quick bite, anything to worry about, simple wash and disinfecting cream and bandage? Or is there a better way?

    Thanks again!
    No, I always supervise the snake if it is out of it's enclosure for two reasons - the environmental conditions are not correct for the species in most homes and the tendency of snakes to find the most awkward and irritating places to stuff themselves in. And that is before we consider the risk of them escaping down toilets, under doors etc.

    The bites are largely inconsequential so washing the wound is all that is required. The only thing to keep an eye on is if a tooth gets stuck in the wound and needs to be removed.
    Derek

    7 adult Royals (2.5), 1.0 COS Pastel, 1.0 Enchi, 1.1 Lesser platty Royal python, 1.1 Black pastel Royal python, 0.1 Blue eyed leucistic ( Super lesser), 0.1 Piebald Royal python, 1.0 Sinaloan milk snake 1.0 crested gecko and 1 bad case of ETS. no wife, no surprise.

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  13. #10
    Registered User dylan815's Avatar
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    no free roam haha, nothing like trying to get a snake our of your walls or out from under the fridge.
    1.0 Normal BP
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