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  1. #1
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Ball Python FAQs

    1. What do WC, CH, and CB mean?

    2. Is my BP a boy or girl? How can you tell?

    3. Can I house two BPís together?

    4. How often do BPís shed?

    5. My BP shed in several pieces, but it all came off. Is that ok?

    6. How do I remove eyecaps that have remained after a shed?

    7. I noticed blood near the vent after a shed! Is this normal?

    8. How can I tell if my snake as an RI (Respiratory Infection)?

    9. There is a dent in my snakeís eye. What should I do?

    10. What do snake mites look like? How do I get rid of them?

    11. How long after feeding should I wait to handle?

    12. How do I tame an "aggressive" baby?

    13. My BP sits in its water bowl all the time. Is this normal?

    14. Are there any good BP books I can buy?

    15. What does BP poop and/or urine look like?

    16. I see white chalky stuff in her tank. What is it?

    17. My BP skipped a meal. Should I be worried?

    18. My BP has not eaten for a whole month! What should I do?

    ==========================================================

    1. What do WC, CH, and CB mean?

    WC - Wild Caught. These are snakes who were born and lived in the wild before being caught and imported for the pet trade.

    CH - Captive Hatched. These are snakes hatched from eggs either laid by a female impregnated in the wild, or eggs found in the wild.

    CB - Captive Bred. These are snakes whose parents bred in captivity, and who were hatched and raised in captivity also.

    2. Is my BP a boy or girl? How can you tell?

    The most accurate way to sex a ball python is to have a qualified reptile vet or experienced breeder probe it for you. "Popping" is also an accurate method if done correctly. Either of these methods can cause serious injury to the snake if done incorrectly. The size of the spurs and/or shape of the tail is not an accurate way to determine the sex.

    3. Can I house two BPís together?

    It is possible to do so, yes. But it is NOT a recommended practice. Snakes are not social creatures and it is stressful for them to live together. What may appear to be 'cuddling' is in fact the snakes competing for the best parts of the cage. Aside from the stress factor, snakes living in the same enclosure are free to share parasites and diseases with each other. This also makes it more difficult to figure out which one is sick if you notice abnormal stool, for instance.

    4. How often do BPís shed?

    The time between sheds generally varies anywhere from 3 weeks to 2.5 months. A variety of factors go into determining frequency, including the age of the snake, food intake and frequency, and its health. Obviously, a growing snake will shed more often than a mature one. Injuries, illness and/or severe stress can also cause "unscheduled" sheds.

    5. My BP shed in several pieces, but it all came off. Is this ok?

    Yes, thatís fine, so long as it all comes off.

    6. How do I remove eyecaps that have remained after a shed?

    The wisest course is to simply leave them alone. Some people advocate a bit of scotch tape or a Q-tip to remove them, but it is far too easy to damage the delicate eye. Most likely, the snake himself will rub them off within a few days of the shed. And if not, they will come off in the next shed. Eyecaps that have remained through multiple sheds should be attended by a vet.

    7. I noticed blood near the vent after a shed! Is this normal?

    This type of bleeding is not uncommon. Some snakes are "rough" on themselves during shed. Because the skin inside the vent is rather tender, sometimes tearing can occur during a shed. This is not anything to be concerned about unless the bleeding does not stop within a few hours. If the bleeding does not stop or seems severe, an immediate vet visit is warranted.

    8. How can I tell if my snake has an RI (Respiratory Infection)?

    A snake with a respiratory infection may exhibit any number of symptoms. Early on, you may notice wheezing, gurgling, or bubbly noises when it breathes. In more advanced cases you might also see mucous and bubbles coming out of the nose or building up in the mouth. Any suspicion of RI symptoms warrants a trip to the vet. Only a vet can determine for sure if your snake is sick, and untreated RI can kill.

    9. There is a dent in my snakeís eye. What should I do?

    Very likely your humidity is too low. Make sure your snake has fresh water at all times, and the humidity does not stray below 50%. Adding a humid hide may benefit your snake if you simply canít keep the average humidity level at or above 50%.

    10. What do snake mites look like? How do I get rid of them?

    Snake mites are small black or reddish dots that you may see crawling around your python's skin. Look especially around the eyes, the groove in the snake's skin, and around the vent area. The very best way to get rid of mites is with Provent-a-Mite which can be ordered online or bought at some reptile specialty shops. Discard all wood or exceptionally pourous cage decorations and use newspaper or paper towels as substrate until the mites are gone. Soaking your snake, or products like Reptile Relief will help get rid of the visible mites, but Provent-a-Mite will kill the eggs you canít see.


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  3. #2
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Re: Ball Python FAQs

    11. How long after feeding should I wait to handle?

    Generally 48 hours is adequate, but if your python has had an exceptionally large meal and still has a visible lump in it's belly after 48 hours, it may be prudent to wait a bit longer. Handling too soon can cause regurgitation, which in turn can cause damage to your snake's throat and is very stressful.

    12. How do I "tame" an aggressive baby?

    Many baby snakes are (understandably) afraid of humans and will try their best to scare you away. The best thing you can do is to gently, but consistently handle it for short periods of time until it begins to trust you more. Do not make sudden movements, and refrain from touching the python's head and neck as this is particularly sensitive and will scare them. Let them crawl over you unrestrained, if you are gripping them and restraining them, they may panic. After time and patience you should have a wonderful lap snake.

    13. My BP sits in its water bowl all the time. Is this normal?

    No. A ball python will usually have a specific reason for soaking. There may be problems with the temperatures in the enclosure, or it is trying to get off stuck shed, or it is trying to drown mites.

    13. Are there any good BP books I can buy?

    Yes, there are many. Searching on Amazon.com is likely to get some good results. One of the best books available is The Complete Ball Python by Kevin McCurley. It can be found here: http://www.newenglandreptile.com/book.html

    15. What does BP poop and/or urine look like?

    Snake poop looks likeÖ well, poop. It's brown, generally log shaped, and doesn't smell pleasant. Snake pee comes in two types. Urine, which looks like youíd expect, and urates. Urates are mostly solid, chalky white or yellowish excretions.

    16. I see white chalky stuff in her tank. What is it?

    This is urates. A normal excretion similar to urine.

    17. My BP skipped a meal, should I be worried?

    No. Ball pythons are quite notorious for going on feeding strikes, sometimes without any reason we can understand. The time to start worrying is if you start noticing significant weight loss.

    18. My BP has not eaten for a whole month! What should I do?

    As long as it seems to us, a month without eating is not a big deal for most snakes. Make sure that your husbandry is all correct (especially temperatures) and make sure your snake has enough tight dark hiding spots. Try offering mice instead of rats (or vice versa) and offer live if you normally feed frozen-thawed. Always wait a week between food offerings, and keep handling and outside stresses to a minimum. Feed at night, and if you are feeding frozen-thawed, leave the food item in the cage overnight with the snake. Leaving it in the doorway of the hide the snake is occupying can help.

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