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Ball Pythons (continued)

(Python Regius)


Ball Python Snake

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With the increased popularity of reptiles as pets there is increased pressure on wild populations. In addition to the more than 60,000 Balls that are imported annually, Balls are killed for food and their skin is used for leather in their native land. For some reason, despite their low reproduction rate, wild Balls are the least expensive pythons on the market, generally wholesaling for under ten dollars. Imported Balls also harbor several different types of parasites which may go unnoticed by the novice snake owner. All around, it is better to buy a captive-born hatchling or an established, well-feeding juvenile, sub-adult or adult than an imported Ball of any age.

In captivity, young Balls will grow about a foot a year during the first three years. They will reach sexual maturity in three to five years. The longest living Ball python on record was over 48 years old when it died. Egg-layers, female Balls encircle their four to ten eggs, remaining with then from the time they are laid until they hatch. During this three month period, they will not leave the eggs and will not eat.

Selecting Your Ball Python

Choose an animal that has clear firm skin, rounded body shape, clean vent, clear eyes, and who actively flicks its tongue around when handled. All Balls are naturally shy about having their heads touched or handled by strangers; a normal reaction is for the Ball to pull its head and neck sharply away from such contact. When held, the snake should grip you gently but firmly when moving around. It should be alert to its surroundings. All young snakes are food for other, larger snakes, birds, lizards and mammalian predators so your hatchling may be a bit nervous at first but should settle down quickly.

Selecting an escape-proof enclosure

Select an enclosure especially designed for housing snakes, such as the glass tanks with the combination fixed screen/hinged glass top. All snakes are escape artists; Balls are especially powerful and cunning when it comes to breaking out. A good starter tank for a hatchling is a 10 gallon tank (approx. 20"L x 10"W [50 x 25 cm]). A young adult requires a 20 gallon tank, and full adult may require a 30 gallon tank (36" x 12"W [91 x 35 cm]).

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More Snake Information
Snake Species Directory
Snake Care Directory
Snake Anatomy and Skin
Snake Feeding and Accommodations
Snake Disease and Reproduction
Traveling With Your Snake
Snakes For Dummies

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