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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran FollowTheSun's Avatar
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    Gravid snake or just being weird?

    Snake is a confirmed female, about 6 years old. Bought from a small time breeder 4 years ago who said this snake was 2 at the time. I can't remember if he said she had never been bred, or if she was unsuccessful at it. I would imagine she'd be biting any male who came close to her.

    She is extremely bitey, hisses on occasion, picky with food, and will fast in the winter for 3-5 months. In spite of our best efforts to make sure her large, comfortable enclosure has proper temps and humidity, her substrate is of the best quality, her food is thawed and heated to perfection, and she feels safe with our slow, careful efforts to make friends with her, she remains the grumpiest, meanest snake BP I have ever come across. So, now we just take care of her needs and leave her alone except to clean her enclosure or offer food.

    This summer she has been extra hungry, showing hunger cues every 5-7 days instead of her usual every 2ish weeks. Even at 2 weeks she will sometimes refuse food normally, but not this year!
    In addition this week she has been observed in an inverted position in her cool hide (when I removed it to check on her), wrapped around her water dish, and is always in the cool hide, even after eating.
    But . . she is still eating well. She last shed 3.5 weeks ago.
    We notice she's getting thicker at her "waist" but this could just be due to her increased appetite.

    I removed her to the bathtub to clean her enclosure today of an extra large poop and got some pics while we were at it. During our photo session she struck at me three times.

    What do you think?





    Last edited by FollowTheSun; 09-16-2022 at 08:13 PM.
    2 BP's, one ratsnake, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 small caged birds, 7 chickens, and a toddler in a pear tree

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  3. #2
    BPnet Veteran nikkubus's Avatar
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    My best guess is that she is building (growing follicles in order to be ready to breed), but checking temps just to be safe is a good idea. I would do is get a tempgun different from what you usually use to check your temps in case this sudden behavior change is from increased temperature raising metabolism. She looks pretty thick throughout, rather than just where she would have eggs or follicles, which is about 1/3 from tail rather than right in the middle. Right before going to the bathroom, it can sometimes look like there is extra weight in that section too, so even then it's not 100% sign of anything.

    If she were gravid, she would likely be heat seeking, cool seeking is more while building and during ovulation. Has she been cool seeking more before this week or is that new?
    7.22 BP 1.4 corn 1.1 SD retic 0.1 hognose

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  5. #3
    BPnet Veteran FollowTheSun's Avatar
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    Re: Gravid snake or just being weird?

    Quote Originally Posted by nikkubus View Post
    My best guess is that she is building (growing follicles in order to be ready to breed), but checking temps just to be safe is a good idea. I would do is get a tempgun different from what you usually use to check your temps in case this sudden behavior change is from increased temperature raising metabolism. She looks pretty thick throughout, rather than just where she would have eggs or follicles, which is about 1/3 from tail rather than right in the middle. Right before going to the bathroom, it can sometimes look like there is extra weight in that section too, so even then it's not 100% sign of anything.

    If she were gravid, she would likely be heat seeking, cool seeking is more while building and during ovulation. Has she been cool seeking more before this week or is that new?

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply! To give more background about temps-- this snake was owned by my child who just left for college. The snake is now in my care, and I moved her enclosure from my child's bedroom to a new location in the house. The bedroom was the warmest room in the house, and the snake is now in the coolest room in the house. The bedroom was kept at between 84 and 74 degrees, depending on time of day and if the extra window a/c unit was turned on. The snake's ambient temperature inside the enclosure was about the same as the room temp. The enclosure is large and the heating pad was on a temp control and was checked for accuracy when set up, but admittedly my child was busy with her last semester of high school and didn't pay much attention to the snake. The heat mat is set to 92 degrees. The water and cool hide are on one side, the heat mat and warm hide are on the other side.

    The snake and her enclosure was moved from her room to a cooler room about 4 weeks ago. The cooler room is 74-77 degrees pretty constantly. I had a chance to observe her more closely since her move than I have observed her in the past 2-3 years. The increased appetite has been happening all summer, but the inverted position in the cool hide and wrapping around the water dish are things I've observed within the past 1.5 weeks or so, since her move to the new room. She is also getting thicker this summer than I've ever seen her. (maybe she's just getting fat!)

    Maybe being in a warm room stimulated her to make follicles? Since she hasn't mated, what will happen to the follicles-- if that's what is going on? Will they just absorb back into her body, or will she make and lay slugs?

    Any thoughts on why she's such a bitey snake when most BP's are very docile? Seriously, we used to put her on a coat rack modified with some thick branches to hang out. My other snakes love it. She will sit there and if anyone walks by she'll try to tag them!

    My male is sooooo calm and chill! As is my ratsnake.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 09-17-2022 at 09:23 AM. Reason: fixed typo for clarity
    2 BP's, one ratsnake, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 small caged birds, 7 chickens, and a toddler in a pear tree

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  7. #4
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    They can all have different personalities. Some are just more defensive than others. Ovulation can definitely make it worse.

    One of my girls is always feisty and defensive. She would definitely tag anything that tries to come near her. She's been that way since she I got her at 1 year old. She stays in a tub because otherwise she bops her nose on the glass at anything. She's the only one that I cannot trust with strangers. Even my housemates will only handle her when I'm next to them.

    Another was feisty for the first couple of weeks. So she got some extra hides and a tub setup. No more snapping at shadows. She's just huffy when you pick up her hide.

    My oldest male is great with any type of housing as is my 2nd oldest girl. But my male definitely has his frustrating fasting periods.

    It's just a matter of knowing the personality and adapting. Sometimes that adaptations is a change in environment. Some BPs will definitely do better in tubs than an open enclosure. I can handle my oldest gal without getting tagged. It's just a matter of knowing her postures and such. When she starts getting too anxious, back into the tub we go.
    Last edited by Armiyana; 09-17-2022 at 01:20 AM.

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  9. #5
    BPnet Veteran nikkubus's Avatar
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    Given the particular temperature pattern she has been subjected to, with ambient temps likely being effected slightly, she probably is building + just gaining a little extra fat because the seasonal cues are telling her "it's almost breeding season, put on some fat reserves and prepare for breeding".

    Most likely she will just reabsorb the follicles without laying slugs. I've never personally had a ball python that wasn't bred lay any slugs, but it is something I have heard of happening in rare case. If by some miracle she has managed to retain sperm from before you got her or has a parthogenesis event, you could get some fertile eggs, but that's highly unlikely. I don't think I've heard of a single instance of a BP retaining sperm for 4 years, occasionally 2 years.

    If she has been eating really heavy all summer long, I'd give her a bit longer and if she doesn't go into fasting by herself, you may need to cut back on her feeding schedule or prey size just a bit so she doesn't get too fat.
    7.22 BP 1.4 corn 1.1 SD retic 0.1 hognose

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  11. #6
    BPnet Veteran FollowTheSun's Avatar
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    Re: Gravid snake or just being weird?

    Thank you again for your advice! Hopefully once she gets used to her new room and scenery she'll regulate better. Hormones can be a beast!
    2 BP's, one ratsnake, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 small caged birds, 7 chickens, and a toddler in a pear tree

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