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  1. #1
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    Can ball pythons be housed together?

    WOW so many posts are against housing two snakes together. I don't do that because I know its not natural and best practice to keep them separate, and there are real risks at feeding time too.
    But is it really that bad?
    I know people with a just a pair that do keep them together, feed them separately and have no problem.
    After all, we put two together during breeding time and if compatible they cooil together quite happily (outside of locking that is)
    An I missing something. I am quite new to ball pythons but have kept some other types of snake together before. although it was the exception to the rule.
    Last edited by Ascended; 06-08-2021 at 04:22 PM.

  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member jmcrook's Avatar
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    Can ball pythons be housed together?

    Not a good idea.

    Irregular stool: which animal is irregular? Difficult to determine. Could also impact the cage mate in the event of a parasitic or bacterial issue.

    Animal becomes sick: more likely to pass it on to the other animal(s).

    Competition for enclosure resources: heat, security, light, shade, etc shuck can lead to stress and illness.

    Incompatibility of cage mates: animals will stress one or the other or both of them which can lead to health complications.

    Obviously breeding is an exception to this, but even then the animals must be closely monitored for all of the above reasons. With few exceptions such as winter brumation groups like garter snakes among others snakes are not a social animal in the traditional sense of the term.

    Best that they live in their own quarters while in our care.


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    Last edited by jmcrook; 06-08-2021 at 05:17 PM.

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    Registered User Erie_herps's Avatar
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    I say no because there is no good reason to and it makes them harder to monitor and they show signs of dominance and it likely stresses the one that gets picked on out.

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  6. #4
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    Re: Can ball pythons be housed together?

    I'd give reasons but they're all listed lol. It's just a bad idea in general.

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  7. #5
    BPnet Lifer KMG's Avatar
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    I do not see the seriousness of it either Ascended. I don't do it but do believe it can be done in a way that can work. Many reptile exhibits do it without issue.

    As to what jmcrook listed and many will agree with could not the same be considered for dogs.....or any other animal normally kept together? More than once I have found something in the backyard and wondered who it came from. All the listed things could happen with other animals yet many are housed together as normal care. Horses, rabbits, cows, chickens, dogs, and cats are some of the animals I had in multiples living together over the years.

    If both snakes are healthy I just do not see the concern of one passing something to the other. Where did it get it? Where did it go or what did it get on its own that caused it? If the care is the same and provided by the same person all exposures should be the same. So why would one get sick and the other wouldn't?

    I can see the hides, heat, and shade being an issue but think it could be overcome. My dogs like certain spots on the couch or a chair or wherever. If one gets there first they have another option that is providing the same level of comfort. Much like you can offer multiple locations of each for the snakes to all get what they need. This is why I don't go down this road though as it would require much larger enclosure than most can provide. That would be my argument against it. You will need double the enclosure to do it right, IMO.

    So can it be done? I think so.

    Should it be done? Probably not by a basic hobbyist.

    But one that is advanced and willing to do what is really needed? Sure.
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    Re: Can ball pythons be housed together?

    Here's Bean And Bitey the day I picked them up. The pic is after I lifted the hide

    They were housed together and had a single hide to share (they are about 80g in the pic)

    They were highly stressed out. and it looks like one is dominate over the other.

    I separated them to take them home, been separated ever since and doing very well


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    Re: Can ball pythons be housed together?

    Quote Originally Posted by KMG View Post
    ...Many reptile exhibits do it without issue...
    Let me finish that sentence with "...that you're aware of." Years ago, I got into rosy boas when (as a volunteer) I offered to help with the 3 rosy boas kept together at the local nature museum. Only one seemed to have a problem: all 3 were adult females, & the enclosure was also too small- it was suitable at most for one snake. One was very underweight & I learned that she had barely eaten (or kept food down) for the past 2 years. The staff there wasn't "into" snakes even though they kept them "for educational purposes"- they thought it was normal when snakes regurgitated their meals- when actually they weren't warm enough to digest! (You can be sure I stayed "on them" until they upgraded the heat & other aspects of their accommodations.)

    Anyway, since I had abundant rodents & experience, I offered to see if I could get her eating again, as a way of ascertaining if she was actually sick (needing the vet) or just stressed (as I assumed). To make a long story short, the rosy boa I "fostered" for a few months did well & ate like a pig (!) for me, & even digested well. There was nothing wrong with her, but when I attempted to return her, they talked me into keeping her- they didn't need 3 rosy boas, & she'd likely be a problem to feed for them again anyway. So she became my snake- an elderly gal that had 11 more years with me that were full of surprises, but that's another (long) story.

    The point is that their exhibit was still too crowded & less than ideal, but the museum had their 2 robust adult rosy boas to display. Unfortunately, that only lasted another year before they both got very sick with some sort of bacterial infection, & with treatment that came too late, both snakes died. And then there were none. The point I'm making is that whether you can see it or not, stress kills snakes. It nullifies their immune system- maybe not today, but later, when you're not expecting it. My answer is don't co-hab snakes, other than short-term for breeding, & then, only with a lot more space.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: Can ball pythons be housed together?

    Quote Originally Posted by KMG View Post
    I do not see the seriousness of it either Ascended. I don't do it but do believe it can be done in a way that can work. Many reptile exhibits do it without issue.

    As to what jmcrook listed and many will agree with could not the same be considered for dogs.....or any other animal normally kept together? More than once I have found something in the backyard and wondered who it came from. All the listed things could happen with other animals yet many are housed together as normal care. Horses, rabbits, cows, chickens, dogs, and cats are some of the animals I had in multiples living together over the years.

    If both snakes are healthy I just do not see the concern of one passing something to the other. Where did it get it? Where did it go or what did it get on its own that caused it? If the care is the same and provided by the same person all exposures should be the same. So why would one get sick and the other wouldn't?

    I can see the hides, heat, and shade being an issue but think it could be overcome. My dogs like certain spots on the couch or a chair or wherever. If one gets there first they have another option that is providing the same level of comfort. Much like you can offer multiple locations of each for the snakes to all get what they need. This is why I don't go down this road though as it would require much larger enclosure than most can provide. That would be my argument against it. You will need double the enclosure to do it right, IMO.

    So can it be done? I think so.

    Should it be done? Probably not by a basic hobbyist.

    But one that is advanced and willing to do what is really needed? Sure.
    Ok the other problem with this is that snakes are not vocal about being sick or upset, you cannot compare dogs to snakes, they're not even remotely the same.

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  15. #9
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    Re: Can ball pythons be housed together?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gocntry View Post
    Here's Bean And Bitey the day I picked them up. The pic is after I lifted the hide

    They were housed together and had a single hide to share (they are about 80g in the pic)

    They were highly stressed out. and it looks like one is dominate over the other.

    I separated them to take them home, been separated ever since and doing very well
    One hide? I am not surprised they were stressed.
    I have kept two together before with other snakes. Sufficient room to get away from each other and sufficient space and thermal gradients so they can have optimum temperatures without having to be in the same hide and fight/stress for dominance. Space to get away from each other. (like in the wild)

    Like I said. I follow current best practice guidance for ball pythons and keep them separately. But our understanding and latest understanding continually changes, as does science. Science is just an approximation and is always evolving, changing and refining. Its never 'Truth' Just closer to truth with each evolution. We should therefore not be so fixed in our opinions. science fact was once that the sun when round the earth. Fact then but not current fact. All our understanding of 'truth' is fluid.
    Dogma is the enemy of advancement of knowledge.

    I am tempted to build a very complex viv to accommodate for all this and test it out with ball pythons. Ball pythons are not so different to other snakes.

    Controversial yes. but so was Galileo

    Accepted views should always be challenged even if we are wrong, otherwise there is no learning, growth or change.
    Last edited by Ascended; 06-08-2021 at 06:37 PM.

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  17. #10
    BPnet Lifer KMG's Avatar
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    Re: Can ball pythons be housed together?

    Quote Originally Posted by cuddlykhajiit View Post
    Ok the other problem with this is that snakes are not vocal about being sick or upset, you cannot compare dogs to snakes, they're not even remotely the same.

    Sent from my SM-N975W using Tapatalk
    Ok I forgot that my dogs can talk. My bad.

    A Bulldog I had was found one morning with a swollen leg. It was not like that the night before so I rushed her to the vet. Cancer. Tumor had cut off pathways overnight and her leg was swelling because the fluids could not get out. A bunch of test later they found the tumor was huge and she was not going to make it. So from good to bad with no signs hardly at all.

    My first Pitbull was perfectly fine one morning when I left for work. A few hours later my wife got home and tried to take him on a walk and he didn't want to go. I left work early and took him to the vet. Cancer. Tumor this time had ruptured and he was bleeding internally. Best case was $14K in care and the treatment and surgeries alone could kill him. So again from good to bad with no signs hardly at all. He was running around and acting as normal as could be before I left only to be down a few hours later with no obvious problem.

    You want to know how many times I went to get eggs and found a chicken dead? It was numerous. Fine one day and dead the next. Old age? Cancer? Something else? I don't know because it didn't tell me.

    I have had rabbits do the same way.

    In general animals do not always do a great job at showing illness or issues.

    So I will compare animals however I please from my experience with them.
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