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  1. #1
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    Ball Python Uses Small Hide. Is She Stupid?

    My ball python seems to have recently outgrown her preferred hides, but continues to use both of them instead of the larger hides about 2 inches away from each. The larger hides have always been there and she typically enters one of them after handling, but she eventually moves back to a smaller hide.

    Should I take away the small hides at some point to make her use the bigger ones? It's not evident from the picture, but the hide is significantly lifted from the ground. The cool side small hide is slightly bigger on the inside and she usually still fits without lifting it, so I think she might start avoiding the warm side altogether if I don't mess with the hides.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xXAqkRg4LUgmwIgjm-oEzFU3iwn1tb3O/view?usp=sharing


  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    I'm a proponent of offering a range of hides (sizes; materials; locations; moisture levels) and letting the snake choose which they prefer. The more options I give, the closer the snake will get to satisfying their preference. Also, I'll learn something about the snake based on what it prefers (which is how scientific research leads to knowledge about animal preferences, too). It may be interesting to swap the positions of those two hides to see if the snake changes its preferred spot; it may be that they're taking that hide for its position or temperature.

    It isn't unusual for a snake to prefer a very tight hide, and I wouldn't take away anything unless it's causing or likely to cause harm.

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    Re: Ball Python Uses Small Hide. Is She Stupid?

    I agree with Malum. If you post pics of the entire enclosure, I may have suggestions as to how you can set it up better.
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  6. #4
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    I have the typical plastic hides, one hot side, one cool side. I also have three large hollow cork rounds my snake can/does use. They are longer than the boxes, but much narrower, and he uses all of his hides, but prefers one cork hide in particular that surprises me because I'd say he's full grown now, but slips into easily and spends most of his time there. From what Ive experienced reading on here, its mainly about snakes being able to feel secure in a spot that. is their favorite.

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    Snakes want to feel safe, & the familiar hide feels safer than a new one, even if new is a better fit.

    BTW, is there an interior height difference between the old smaller hides & the new, larger ones? Yours would not be the first snakes to crave "back pressure" & wear their old hides (that are "too small" by our standards) like a turtle shell.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  10. #6
    BPnet Veteran Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    Re: Ball Python Uses Small Hide. Is She Stupid?

    Quote Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
    I also have three large hollow cork rounds my snake can/does use. They are longer than the boxes, but much narrower, and he uses all of his hides, but prefers one cork hide in particular that surprises me because I'd say he's full grown now, but slips into easily and spends most of his time there.
    I find that many of my snakes use cork rounds out of all proportion to how comfortable they look like they'd feel in there. Part of this is certainly that it is a "natural" material (which herps seem to strongly prefer in general) but I wonder if the dimensions are somehow preferable too. Really useful things, those cork rounds.

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  12. #7
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    Re: Ball Python Uses Small Hide. Is She Stupid?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malum Argenteum View Post
    I find that many of my snakes use cork rounds out of all proportion to how comfortable they look like they'd feel in there. Part of this is certainly that it is a "natural" material (which herps seem to strongly prefer in general) but I wonder if the dimensions are somehow preferable too. Really useful things, those cork rounds.
    Maybe it's the fact that the surfaces aren't smooth like the typical plastic hides are? I'm still using many hides* I got a very long time ago- molded with semi-naturalistic texture to be more rock-like, but they're still fairly smooth inside when compared to natural materials. (*Not positive, but I think they came from Neodesha?)
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-04-2024 at 11:18 AM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  14. #8
    BPnet Veteran Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    Yeah, the texture is likely a big part of it. I sure hope that the fact that I bend over backwards to hunt up epic cork pieces plays into the snakes' usage too -- they might be showing appreciation for my efforts.

    I have and use plastic hides from both Neodesha and Reptile Basics, and know what you're taking about but have not noticed any preference for the former. The Neodeshas are higher than the RBs, though, so that might weigh against their preferability.

    Paper towel rolls are often a big hit for smaller snakes, and cardboard packing tubes (like those that florescent lamps get shipped in) for larger snakes. These are better for species that we keep on the dryer side, though, since they degrade once they get damp.

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    Re: Ball Python Uses Small Hide. Is She Stupid?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malum Argenteum View Post
    ...

    I have and use plastic hides from both Neodesha and Reptile Basics, and know what you're taking about but have not noticed any preference for the former. The Neodeshas are higher than the RBs, though, so that might weigh against their preferability.

    Paper towel rolls are often a big hit for smaller snakes, and cardboard packing tubes (like those that florescent lamps get shipped in) for larger snakes. These are better for species that we keep on the dryer side, though, since they degrade once they get damp.
    I've never tested them side by side to see if my snakes show any preference- I mostly use what fits the snake best. You're right that the Neodeshas are a little taller- but not much. The sides also angle more- I think it evens out.

    Paper towel rolls are loved by small snakes- esp. hatchlings. I use my share of modified clean cardboard boxes (since I have a great source of them) to enrich their homes, even making them bi-level, etc. But I'm not keeping BPs- they might be more stressed by such changes.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  18. #10
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    A little mean to call them stupid. I think you should just read up more about BPs to understand why they do what they do.
    BPs generally prefer smaller hides because they like the safer feeling of being able to squish in there without room to sneak up on them. Not every snake will... But a majority of them can be this way. Most likely a throwback to how they evolved living around termite mounds to hunt rodents.


    I would try adding some moss or crumpled paper to the bigger hides. That way they feel more snug and enveloping.
    I agree with what was mentioned above as well. You can try changing the placement to see if it's a location or a object preference.

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