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Thread: New BP owner

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    New BP owner

    This Christmas we are finally giving my daughter a snake (sheís been asking for years)
    I figure this is the year to do it since itís been such crap.
    we are getting her a baby (with the hopes that the younger the snake is the easier the switch from live to frozen/thawed will be and the easier it will be to get it used to being handled)

    i am not a snake person AT ALL they freak me out... but Iím obviously going into this knowing because
    shes a kid I might end up doing everything. So Iíve been sitting here all month doing my research so I can help her learn how to properly care for it and make sure I get it the right set up.

    I have made a plan with the breeder that I will provide the frozen mice/rats from now until Christmas and he will help get it used to eating the way i want it to 😅 (figure this will also help if we pick out a stubborn one that refuses we can make a switch to one that will accept frozen thawed)

    so my question now is what would you tell or want a 12 year to know? Whatís something you wish someone had told you before you got your 1st BP?

    and what are your thoughts on day/night led lights? We will be using. 20gallongn tank (3sides blacked out) and upgrading to a 40 down the road. Do the blue lights cause any problems? I know she would like to watch it during its active hours at night so Iím trying to find some sort of lighting that will not effect the snake at night but still allow us to see and enjoy him/her.



    hopefully that all makes some sense!

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    Re: New BP owner

    There are a lot of ball python quirks...most notably prolonged hunger strikes and food refusals. I would recommend a corn snake instead of a ball python for a first snake (especially for a small child) they are easier overall, more active, less easily stressed, good eaters, and require a much less complicated heating set up.

    As for lighting for ball pythons:
    I have tried colored bulbs and my ball pythons seem to avoid the light regardless of color. I use a small LED night light in my snake room at night (think moonlight brightness)-it does not bother them.

    As for what I would tell a 12 year old for taking care of a ball python: "I hope your parents are ready to pay any vet bills..."
    Last edited by Lord Sorril; 11-04-2020 at 12:58 PM.
    *.* TNTC

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    Re: New BP owner

    Haha we checked out corn snakes but I donít believe they are legal here.
    as far as vet bills 🤦🏼♀️ Yep that was a thought but hell the dogs already costing us might aswell add another!

    so one of those tank type led lights wouldnít be a good idea huh? Something a lot smaller just for night?
    we live in Puerto Rico so heating and humidity will be very easy to deal with even with the air conditioners on at night no room gets colder than 72, so under tank heating in the warm side will be easy to achieve.

    off to go hunt down a smaller led light im thinking the one I picked out might be a little much? http://NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Li...ing=UTF8&psc=1

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    Re: New BP owner

    Quote Originally Posted by Day View Post
    This Christmas we are finally giving my daughter a snake (she’s been asking for years)
    I figure this is the year to do it since it’s been such crap.
    we are getting her a baby (with the hopes that the younger the snake is the easier the switch from live to frozen/thawed will be and the easier it will be to get it used to being handled)

    i am not a snake person AT ALL they freak me out... but I’m obviously going into this knowing because
    shes a kid I might end up doing everything. So I’ve been sitting here all month doing my research so I can help her learn how to properly care for it and make sure I get it the right set up.

    I have made a plan with the breeder that I will provide the frozen mice/rats from now until Christmas and he will help get it used to eating the way i want it to �� (figure this will also help if we pick out a stubborn one that refuses we can make a switch to one that will accept frozen thawed)

    so my question now is what would you tell or want a 12 year to know? What’s something you wish someone had told you before you got your 1st BP?

    and what are your thoughts on day/night led lights? We will be using. 20gallongn tank (3sides blacked out) and upgrading to a 40 down the road. Do the blue lights cause any problems? I know she would like to watch it during its active hours at night so I’m trying to find some sort of lighting that will not effect the snake at night but still allow us to see and enjoy him/her.



    hopefully that all makes some sense!
    My first snake was a baby bp.

    I would ask your daughter WHY she wants a bp out of hundreds of other species of snakes to keep. Is it because of the popularity (ie YouTube videos)? Is it the docile personality? The morphs?

    Bp's can live up to 30 years or longer. Your daughter may outgrow her interest within the next 5 years, or leave it with you after she moves out. Do YOU want a snake for 30+ years?

    Yea it's been a crappy year (Sean Connery passed away this Halloween day, and 2 of my favorite supporting actors from Blacklist died earlier this year, and the list goes on - Not all Covid related). A Christmas gift of an animal, unless you the parent will commit to it's entire lifetime, to a child who is going to change interest like they change their clothes, is not recommended. The WHY will bring out the real reason behind the initial interest. I have 2 nieces about the same age. One wanted to keep fish since she was a toddler. When her wish came true, she lost interest in a matter of weeks, especially finding out how annoying it is to care for a fish. The other niece likes books. I had purchased her so many books throughout the years that she wanted, many who sits on her shelf, some unread. Kids want what they want until it is not 'fun' anymore to them.

    Bp are pet rocks. They sleep during the day when your daughter is active. She can't handle it everyday or at all until it eats consistently, so that may mean no touching for 2-3 weeks at a time.

    Back to the feeding issue, mine went a strike at the start. I was able to transition him to frozen thawed rats. He grew up. Stopped eating for 4-6 months in a year. That strike usually breaks when I give in and feed live rats. Some bp will eat nothing else but live rats, mouse, white rats, African soft furs, f/t, etc. Many will do fine on f/t and stays on it. But what will you do when yours is not one of them? I also thought mine was doing well for f/t for a few years until it decided to change his mind (I downsized his enclosure, provided more hides, no handling, etc). Just because it eats f/t at the breeder will NOT guarantee it will do it for you, especially the stress of traveling and being moved, can push it back to live and you will have to help him transition back to f/t.

    The stress of feeding your snake for first time snake owners can be unnerving. If you like animals like rats or mice, you may have trouble feeding a live one if you have to. Your first priority is to make sure the baby eats, not your discomfort or guilt. I personally hate it and couldn't get used to it, especially when it screams even for a few seconds. And I like pet rats (awesome first time pets too).

    If your daughter is super committed to caring for a snake, and you are on board as well, corn snakes are a great choice. There are tons of morphs to choose from, pricing is much more reasonable, eats f/t like a champ (Rarely do you get an oddball who won't), lifespan is about 15-20 years, easy to handle and active during the day. In fact, it was the corn snake that turned my book loving niece into a snake fan. She loved how much fun it was to watch her explore her cage while she did her homework, and she plan to get one someday. The bp? She lost interest because he wouldn't come out of his hide (it's natural and not his fault).

    I bought my corn snakes from VMSHerp (website is easy to use, tons of information for reading). South Mountain is great too.

    Other recommendations are kingsnakes, woman pythons, spotted pythons, dumerils boa (may be picky eaters, not as picky as bp), rosy boas, etc.
    Last edited by Cheesenugget; 11-04-2020 at 01:59 PM.

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    I personally disagree when I hear people say BPs aren't good first snakes. They're by far the most popular snake in the hobby, and for good reason.

    Yes, they can be finicky eaters, but that's why it's important to buy from a reputable breeder. If your breeder is making you pay for prey I'd start looking elsewhere and find a breeder that starts their animals on F/T prey. It'll save you a LOT of headaches. Check out morphmarket.com for tons of options.

    And, it sounds like you're off to a good start with preparation. Remember, the more we know about our pets the better we can care for them.

    Now back to BPs as first snakes.... IF you're prepared, and it sounds like you are, the food refusals can be a bit frustrating. But, if prepared, you'll know not to panic. ANY species can be difficult eaters, my only difficult eater is a species known to eat anything and everything reliably. My BPs, however, eat year round and I haven't had a single refusal in over a year.
    They're docile, slow moving, easy to handle and stay pretty small (especially males).

    I personally say buy the snake you want, don't buy something you don't want just cause it might be easier. Snakes, in general, are EXTREMELY easy pets to keep, especially in comparison to most other common pets.


    As for what to tell a 12 year old. Well, some are much more responsible and mature at 12 than others. But it's most important to stress that the animal is a living creature, not a toy. Snakes aren't great pets if you want something you can handle often or for long periods, so if you're looking for a cuddly companion it may be best to look elsewhere. And I would definitely have a rule in place that the snake only comes out with parental supervision.

    Oh, and to touch on the lighting question... I used the dark purple bulbs for years. It has no effect on the animal at all, is enough to see the animal, but not bright enough that's it's annoying at night.


    Oh....and to touch on the reply above... YES, plan on that being YOUR snake. I've seen COUNTLESS snakes on Craigslist and wherever looking for new homes because the kid lost interest,went off to school, etc...
    Last edited by Craiga 01453; 11-04-2020 at 02:02 PM.

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    Re: New BP owner

    So corn snakes I believe are not legal in Puerto Rico, reptile shippers wonít bring them into the country and I havenít found any breeders or petshops selling them (you may find one or 2 on classified sites but itís not something I would chance) we had decided on a BP as a family before finding that out though, simply because they are more slow moving. As with any animal I know it falls on the parent to end up with it being their pet if the child looses, which is another reason we settled on a ball python due to my preference too.

    the breeder never asked me to pay for food sorry if I didnít make that clear I offered to pay for the frozen food while he was holding it until the holidays for me, every breeder I have found locally only feeds live, this one was happy to work with me and get a snake established eating frozen before we take it home... (which IMO is a sign of a good breeder willing to go that extra mile)

    She wants one because they are a animal she doesnít have to handle something she can watch at night explore her explanation has been itís a more hands on pet then a fish but the same calming relaxed enjoyment of watching it in the evening. 🤷♀️ I feel like thatís a reasonable answer because they arenít like a dog where they need that attention.

    we are definitely not changing the type of snake we get despite the feeding issues lol This is the 1st time Iíve seen people say they wouldnít recommend BPs for first time snake owners everything Iíve read over the past few months says they are the best or 2nd best (next to corn snakes).

    im looking into different options for substrate we had a tortoise (who got stolen from his outdoor enclosure a few years ago) we used untreated soil in his enclosure, Iíve seen bio active soil as a option for ball pythons so Iíve started to slowly look into that

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    Ok, being in Puerto Rico may limit your options as far as breeders go. Thanks for clearing that up. And you're right, if he's willing to help get the snake transitioned to F/T it sounds like he's willing to go the extra mile. Have you already picked out the snake?

    I like that you're sticking to your guns and going with a BP. The others have your best interest at heart when suggesting another species, but ultimately it's your animal your choice. And I promise, if you're prepared, you won't stress too much if you get a refusal or two.

    It sounds to me like you're off to a great start. Keep doing all the homework you can, you can't be over prepared.

    The last thing I wanted to mention is that you should definitely have the enclosure set up, running, with temps dialed in and humidity on point before bringing the snake home. Make sure all heating equipment is running properly, thermostat(s) are functioning properly, etc... I know that may make a surprise difficult, but it'll save you, your daughter and your new pet a LOT of stress.

    Good luck! Feel free to ask all the questions you may have, we're happy to help. You can always PM me too, I'm happy to help.

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    Re: New BP owner

    Thank you! Of course I definitely appreciate everything from everyone here! Iím glad they are telling people other options that may be best in each situation!
    this isnít a surprise she knows, we had to have a discussion about what was excepted from her as far as care, cleaning and feeding goes. (She needs to get the mice/rats out of the freezer and thaw, her father and I will feed until she is comfortable doing it under supervision herself) we will be picking it up after Christmas so thatís great she has a few days to get everything set up and working!
    thank you for that I forgot that I read that somewhere!!

    we havenít picked the snake out yet is there anything I should be aware of when picking one out? It will be through photos due to covid. The breeder is in the states right now doing some trading I assume 🤷♀️ Bringing back some more babies.
    Iím trying to stay in the range of $50-$120 we saw a king pin morph for $100 from another breeder that she fell in love with the look of... but I didnít like the guy 🤣

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    Ok, sounds great!!! That'll work out well.

    As for what to look for, it's really up to what you and your daughter like. Morphs have no affect on temperament or anything like that, it's just a paint job.

    If you're looking to keep the snake on the smaller side go with a male, they stay a good bit smaller than females.

    There are a few morphs that some people avoid, the most common being spider. I've heard things all over the spectrum as far as how bad the wobble can be, but I don't have a spider so I can't really share my experience.

    A lot of the others are "supers" or "x" paired with "y" but morphs aren't my thing, so I dont want to steer you wrong with any misinformation. There are threads on here somewhere that cover them, plus I'm sure a Google search will help too.

    Other than that, just the general health stuff. You've already addressed the food issue, just make sure that the snake is eating reliably and has kept all meals down.

    There are sooooo many amazing looking BPs out there, but a $10,000 snake and a $50 snake will both have BP personalities and temperaments.

    Personally, I'm a sucker for "normal" or "wild type" animals, they're amazing just the way they are. But there's definitely something for everyone out there.

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