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  1. #1
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    Ball Python Touches Water. Is She Thirsty?

    I've had to be awake much later than usual this week, so I've observed more of my snake's nocturnal behavior. She used to sit partially on top of her cool side hide when hungry, but after eating a few times nearer the warm side, she seems to sit around or across her water bowl. When she's really expecting food, either because there's a rat thawing nearby or because I come nearby around feeding day, she moves further towards the warm side corner.

    Tonight around midnight I noticed she was out near the water bowl again, some 48 hours after eating. She seemed to notice me and want food. Later, I noticed that in addition to holding her head / neck above the water, she was occasionally dipping her neck in. This is the first time I've seen her do that, but I'm usually not awake at this hour.

    She has not attempted to put most of her body in the water, despite moving across the bowl occasionally. I'm therefore unsure whether the dipping has to do with hydration, or if it's just a natural consequence of moving her head around over the water bowl while looking for food. If not due to hydration, her proximity to the water bowl could be explained by its location at the front of the enclosure along the route towards the warm side.

    This was with humidity 56% at ground level according to the cool side hydrometer, and 52% on the warm side hygrometer. It's about time for me to bump those numbers back up towards 60% anyways, but I'm wondering if she might be getting less humidity than the ground-level hygrometer read. A hygrometer placed on top of a hide reads significantly lower than one just slightly lower at ground level. She of course spends most of her time at ground level in the hide, but could a hygrometer on its back on a piece of paper be reading something from the ground itself that isn't correlated to the air humidity in the hides? The enclosure is not very tall, but seems to have a crazy humidity gradient from the ground to the top if the hygrometers are to be believed.

    Here she was out early around 8pm 6 days after eating, waiting for food:



    And moving towards the warm side when she really started looking for a rat:




    Tonight, midnight 2 days after eating. She was sitting above water bowl, and inspected the wall when she noticed me.



    And returned to above water bowl, included some neck dipping:


    The room's light is normally off starting at 8pm each night, although the enclosure is dimly lit from the hallway on an unpredictable schedule. It was turned on shortly before each of these pictures was taken. Tonight I turned it on and was talking on a call around 1am, and she eventually retreated from the water bowl back into her hide.

    Temps are 78 cool side, 80 ambient, 88 warm side plastic. Heat pad and CHE, both on thermostats. I top up the humidity to the low 60s when it gets near 50% on those hygrometers. This decline takes several days. Does my snake sit on top of her water bowl because the humidity is low (possibly lower than my hygrometers read?), or just because she wants food and that's where she's taken it before?

    I'll try to test this by moving the water bowl to the side away from the front of the enclosure. I'm interested to hear other's experiences anyways, and whether I can rely on those ground level hygrometers.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Ball Python Touches Water. Is She Thirsty?

    Everything sounds fine to me. Your temp and humidity ranges are textbook. Good job. I wouldn't change a thing.
    1.0 Normal Children's Python (2022 - present)
    1.0 Normal Ball Python (2019 - 2021)

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    I think she just enjoys having something (like the water bowl) to "sit on". And skimming the water, she was just remembering what was there- if she was thirsty, she would drink. Snakes use their tongue to touch many things around them...the way we use our hands, to learn what's there. Their vision isn't so good- except for motion- but they get a lot of information from their tongue.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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