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  1. #1
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    Advice? Moving and taking 43 adult Ball Pythons

    Hi all, hoping to get some advice on how to move my large collection of Ball Pythons. I have 35 adult and 8 sub-adult Ball Pythons I'm taking across 3 states to our new home. Thought about shipping them but that could be very expensive. I have a truck to put them in plastic Costco bins but they'd have to travel in a closed trailer or the bed of the truck, I'm worried about movement and too much heat its a 14hr drive. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Okay, so I've moved at least that far if not farther (depends on how big the states are ) & just in my medium size car, I had 15 snakes packed up*, also a dog & small colonies of rats, mice & hamsters...yes, I like to live dangerously, hahaha. But it really wasn't [dangerous] & everything went great because I planned well. That's what I'd recommend that you do as well- IF you can do what I did. I assume your trip will take several days, like mine did? Shipping (by air or ?) would be a nightmare for that many- at least IMO. We stopped & stayed in motels at night, where my dog was allowed & paid extra for, but with NO mention of snakes. (When you transport snakes the way I did, in ice chests, it just appears you're carrying food for your trip into the room at night. No one thought anything about it.)

    Do not put them in a closed trailer or truck bed- one is too closed in & the other way is likely to be too exposed. IF you can pack them up to fit in a large enough vehicle, even if you have to pay someone you know & trust to drive them, that's what I'd suggest, for better climate control. Believe it or not, all of my animals fit in my car, along with another human, for that trip when I moved halfway across country. And we all arrived safe & healthy after several days travel -by days only.

    Your trip is only 14 hours? When do you need to do this? If you drove at night, instead of by day, & not in really not months, you can likely get away with the truck bed as long as every animal is packed in "ice chests" for insulation (no ice, obviously) the way I did.

    *All my snakes were separately bagged in secure (!) pillow cases. Then grouped by size (you don't want heavier snakes to end up laying on top of small ones- they can die).

    *Use well-insulated ice chests or thick styrofoam boxes (like they ship meat/perishable foods in). Ice chests are a good investment in case of power failures too.

    *Don't over-crowd each ice chest- keep in mind the size of the snakes- & you don't want them on top of each other, even though they're bagged. I think the most I ever had in one chest was 3 or 4, but they were smaller snakes- I'm more of a colubrid-keeper.

    *Don't feed them for at least 2+ weeks prior to travel, so they're not defecating along the way...trust me.

    *The ice chests- if styrofoam, can have one or a couple pin-holes for air exchange, & actual ice chests, you can put a small wad of tape in the opening so it doesn't close super tight. As long as the snakes aren't over-crowded, they'll have enough air. You could even stop halfway for a break & briefly open each one to make sure. On my trip, we drove all day, & when we stopped each night all the animals were hauled into the room, where I did check on the snakes & offer them a drink of water, which some accepted. Surprisingly enough, they were splendid travelers- relaxed & a bit sleepy- not all stressed out as you might imagine. -Goes without saying that if you have ophiophagus types (snake-eaters, like king snakes) they NEVER share a container with other kinds! Speaking of stress...

    You didn't say when this trip needs to happen, but you can modify "ice chests" for temperature- a bottle or 2 of very warm water will really warm them- I've done this for a 4 day power outage from an ice storm. Similarly, if you expect a very warm trip, a bottle of cold water (wrapped) would help also. Just don't over-do it- You're lucky it's only 14 hours, you probably don't need either option IF these are quality ice chests- well insulated. Why not test them ahead of time?

    *Keep in mind that travel doesn't always go smoothly without a breakdown or traffic tie up, so plan for the worst case (taking longer), not for the best, when it comes to temperatures.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  4. #3
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    Re: Advice? Moving and taking 43 adult Ball Pythons

    Thank you for your reply, kinda what I was hoping for but if 3-4 in a cooler is all, I'm in trouble.. I have 43, I'd need 10 in a cooler x's 4 coolers. I am traveling within the next 3-4 weeks from Utah to Oregon so temps wont be too bad. But many are 2500+ grams each so putting many in a cooler could be too much.

    We have some really picky eaters, for instance, one of my Lightning Pied females is 4yrs old and only 640g, she goes off eating for 4-6mos at a time, eats for a few weeks then stops again. Needless to say we've never been able to breed her. So we are hoping the humidity and sea level may help our picky ones.

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    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Well, I have no idea what the temps could reach inside a closed trailer, or how much air they'd get -it would depend on how full the trailer is? I guess it would be similar to air shipping though- I'm just not sure what to tell you on that. But at least if your trip really is about 15 hours, that makes it safer, assuming your 'ice chests' are quality (well insulated).

    At least your trip is much shorter than mine was, & it won't be super hot or cold in 3-4 weeks.

    I know that years back, a member on another forum accidentally killed their favorite snake (a boa, as I recall, or large python) because they had it ONLY in a pillow case, riding under their drivers seat on an inadequately-insulated truck floor, where it overheated & died by the time he drove 3 or 4 hours. I recommend for any & all vehicle trips that your snakes always be in 'ice chests- styro-coolers' for the duration- as much for overheating as for being chilled. The insulation protects them from sun beating in thru the windows & all that- sometimes when you sit in the front seat, the A/C feels fine, but in the back seat, passengers (human or pets) are too warm. For pets in containers, heat can build up. So there's just many variables.

    I think you can do this safely with good planning- keep in mind the temps at the time you're taking this trip. If you need 10 coolers, you need 10 coolers- oh well. Just make sure they fit- measure & plan.

    How many fit in a cooler depends on the size of the coolers too, obviously. I have all sizes- they come in handy. Sometimes you can find the thick styro boxes in thrift stores too.

    I hope the new climate helps out with your snakes, but honestly I doubt it will matter much, since our snakes are indoors & their climate is mostly up to us. Some BPs sure can be frustrating.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-13-2024 at 04:25 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Instead of a closed trailer can you rent a conversion van or even an SUV for a day? Put each snake into a bag and then into a tub, stack the tubs in the van, keep the vehicle interior at a comfortable temperature while you drive. If your snakes are in a rack system now you could even use the rack tubs, just put the lids on (assuming you kept the lids). If not you could a 32-qt tub for each of the big snakes; a shipping box wouldn't be that much larger.

    How many drivers do you have? Fourteen hours is doable in one day if you have multiple drivers.

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