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Old 02-21-17, 02:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Interested in becoming a snake owner

Hey dear snake-enthusiast,

Despite my girlfriend's vehement resistance I've decided that I want to be a proud owner of a beautiful snake. I looked into all kinds of snakes - especially the ones recommended for beginners - and was very intrigued by the Ball Python (despite it not being the very best choice as an amateur's first snake). But before I start getting everything together and charge head over heel into this whole thing I wanted to ask a few things to put my newbie-mind at ease.

Questions concerning the enclosure:
- 1.5m/0.6m/0.8m (L/W/H); Is that too big or too small for a normal sized Ball Python? (I've read that snakes can get uncomfortable in enclosures that are too large for them.)
- If I decide to get a youngling, maybe a yearling, is the enclosure too encompassing for the tiny python? Or can I keep her in that enclosure for all of her life?
- Can I keep a ball python in the same room as my tv? I rarely use it (maybe once a week for movie night when my girlfriend comes over but that's about it) and when I'm on my computer I almost always use a headset. (I've read that you shouldn't flood the snakes environment with too many vibrations, i.E. tv, music, stereo, etc.)

Questions concerning the handling of the snake:
- I'm mostly at university during the day and get home in the evening during which hours I might want to interact with my snake. I think it's a good fit since Ball Pythons are said to be night/dusk-active. What do you think?
- How often can I take my snake out of her enclosure? To be frank, I would love to have her around/on me while I'm reading a book, playing a videogame (with headset) or just relax on my bed.

Questions concerning nourishment:
- Where do you, dear reader, keep the food for your own beautiful snake? In the freezer with all the "human-food" or do you have a separate freezer? Or do you just bury that stuff in the snow in your backyard?

If you've made it this far, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for sticking with me and hearing me out. If you think you have the time and are willing to, please leave me a response with your answers to one, some or maybe all the questions I brought up.

Dearest regards,
Koumansa
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Old 03-02-17, 04:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

Welcome Koemansa,

I think your thread got a bit overlooked, it happens sometime. That is a very nice sized enclosure, but quite large for a young ballpython. You could try stuffing it full with a lot of shelter, but it might be easier to start with either a larger ballpython or a smaller enclosure for it. (Or perhaps divide it for a while)

Handling is not something I do, or I advise, but everyone is different in that aspect. My snakes only come out for cleaning time or check-ups, if you really want to handle your snake I would not advise to do it hours on end, they require a certain temperature for a reason and need to be able to thermoregulate. I do not think you would be comfortable heating up the area your sitting in to keep your snake comfortable for longer periods of time, also it could be stressful. Not saying you can not handle them, just saying taking the same snake out every night just to sit with it for hours on end isn't in the animals best interest. (People who love to handle snakes, often end up getting multiple animals so they can switch them out haha) Also new animals should be handled until they have fed without refusal for 3 / 4 times in a row, and should not be handled for a few days after their meal.

I keep my snakefood in a separate freezer, but I don't think you would have to. I have multiple bags of rabbits/rats and mice that would leave no room for my own food haha. For one ballpython I would just keep it in a sealed container in the 'normal' freezer.
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Old 03-02-17, 06:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

My first snake was a ball python so don't let that scare you. If you're ready for the idiosyncrasies of some BPs then you're good. In terms of small snakes in big cages in depends on the individual. I've heard of females that will only eat when kept in a rack tub twice their size when coiled up. While mine will roam a 4x2x1' cage. If you find that yours is stressed you could section off part of the cage until it grows.

I have half a freezer with snake food and my own. Everything is in ziploc bags. I'm still alive and haven't grown fur
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Old 03-02-17, 06:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

Snakes really are some of the easiest pets you can keep. But, situations will all differ. If your BP refuses to eat, you may have to cut back on, or stop the handling altogether. Not eating is a common problem with BP's. I've only owned a few through the years, but I don't think I've ever had one refuse a meal. I also don't handle my snakes much. The two might be connected.

Anyway, welcome. Snakes are amazing animals... and addictive.
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Old 03-02-17, 06:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

Snakes do not get uncomfortable in big spaces, but open spaces. You could make the enclosure as big as you want, the key is providing adequate cover. You could go ahead and put the baby in its adult enclosure, the cons to that are that the snake could be hard to find, you would need to offer a lot of enclosure to limit visibility as much as possible, and bigger enclosures are easier for babies to escape from.

I kept my bp in a 4'x2.5'x3.5' (1.2m x .76m x 1.07m) enclosure since he was a hatchling without problems (this was before the move that sparked all his feeding problems), and then he was in a 6'x2'x3' (1.8m x .6m x .9m) for awhile, and now he's in a 4'x2'x2' (1.2m x .6m x .6m). He would have been in the 6' enclosure for longer, but at the time I only had room for one and now my retic is in one.

The TV should be fine as long as you're not constantly blasting the sound. Cushioning the snake's enclosure will also help to reduce any vibrations. Something like a soft blanket under it would help a bit. Won't stop all vibrations but might reduce.

I generally advise having a snake out a max of 2-3 times a week for 15-30 minutes at a time. If you keep your house cold, you will either have to refrain from handling them at all during the colder months or find a way to make at least one room warm enough, I really would not take them out at all below 75F (23.9C).

As far as my own bp, he is one of the sensitive ones. I finally had to completely stop handling him altogether to ensure he eats for me reliably. He's a strictly hands-off snake, and after having constant year-round feeding problems for at least 3 years, he's been eating solidly for about 1.5 years now. So just keep in mind bps can be extremely shy, and be ready to limit or eliminate handling if your individual proves to be one of the ones that don't tolerate handling.

I used to keep my feeders in the main freezer, but between all the fridge failures we've been having and with the newest fridge having a miniscule freezer, I ended up getting a chest freezer. It's the smallest my father had and even with 13 snakes it isn't even a quarter full, so we keep our food in there, too, since hardly anything fits in the main freezer.
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Old 03-02-17, 09:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

Well, i don't know much about any snake, but I do think your girlfriend might actually come to like one. I thought I'd never in a million years like one. But here i am, with a corn snake. He's gorgeous and he (i think) likes being handled. We keep it to a minimum though because we don't want to stress him. If you get a good captive bred baby and let him/her grow with you and get to know you, he/she won't be such a scary thing. For you or your girlfriend. I was squeamish about snakes, but now, he's my favorite pet.
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Old 03-02-17, 10:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

Sounds like my Corn I received yesterday--first she hides in the plant like an arboreal snake; then, when I replaced her large "tree hutch" with a smaller one, thinking she'd be more secure, she goes and hides in this hollow ceramic tree branch looking furniture I put in her cage last night. Haven't seen her since!

Hopefully she'll come out to feed tomorrow when I tempt her with a meal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsnakegirl785 View Post
Snakes do not get uncomfortable in big spaces, but open spaces. You could make the enclosure as big as you want, the key is providing adequate cover. You could go ahead and put the baby in its adult enclosure, the cons to that are that the snake could be hard to find, you would need to offer a lot of enclosure to limit visibility as much as possible, and bigger enclosures are easier for babies to escape from.
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Old 03-02-17, 12:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

Since you're not supposed to hold them 24 to 48 hours after eating {and I go the full 48} That leaves 5 days a week you can hold them... And then you don't want to hold it when it's getting ready to poop... So now you're down to 3 days a week you can hold them, unless your really good at reading the butt and you want to gamble... I usually get in good holding time when I go to clean the cage, which is about once a week with my guys... It took 5 snakes to fulfil my needs, but then I am retired with nothing else to do; I could take on more but my wife is standing on the brakes ... I hold my snakes day or night, but I have read that it's better to hold them during the day since that's their sleep time veres their hunting time...

The only thing I might add is that you might want to cove the cage with a blanket or something to block out light when the TV is on...

Your girlfriend might get into it... My wife surprised me! She likes them too but she will steal my holding time from me...
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Last edited by sattva; 03-02-17 at 12:55 PM..
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Old 03-02-17, 10:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by sattva View Post
Since you're not supposed to hold them 24 to 48 hours after eating {and I go the full 48} That leaves 5 days a week you can hold them... And then you don't want to hold it when it's getting ready to poop... So now you're down to 3 days a week you can hold them, unless your really good at reading the butt and you want to gamble... I usually get in good holding time when I go to clean the cage, which is about once a week with my guys... It took 5 snakes to fulfil my needs, but then I am retired with nothing else to do; I could take on more but my wife is standing on the brakes ... I hold my snakes day or night, but I have read that it's better to hold them during the day since that's their sleep time veres their hunting time...

The only thing I might add is that you might want to cove the cage with a blanket or something to block out light when the TV is on...

Your girlfriend might get into it... My wife surprised me! She likes them too but she will steal my holding time from me...
Maybe I'm just lucky, but I don't time my handling to revolve around poop times whatsoever and I haven't been pooped on in like 6+ years (garter musk doesn't count). Even my retic with her butt fully loaded has yet to poop on me. The closest I've come in the past 6 years was the few times I've had snakes poop outside in the yard while I was "handling" them; I wasn't touching them but they weren't in their enclosure.
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Old 03-03-17, 02:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

First of all, thank you all so much for the many informations! They are enormously helpful.
From what I've read I just have to ask: How do you know when your snake is getting ready to poop?

For those who are interested I've got an update on the enclosure: I've ordered a 150x80x100 wooden enclosure (got a spectacular deal on it so I couldn't resist) in which I will place a separation wall to not stress the new bp with an overwhelming amount of open space. But I was planning on keeping it about 30cm high so that if my bp decides he needs more space or wants to explore a bit he can still overcome that hurdle and enjoy the more spaceous part of his enclosure. I also thought that if I see him hanging around on that side of the wall a lot then that might be an indicator for me to get rid of the wall (or carve a gate into it) and put "furniture" throughout the whole enclosure. What do you guys think? Does the wall need to be closing off the whole terrarium or can I profit from having a protective but "open" wall.
As for the lighting/heating: I bought a Bright Sun UV Jungle 70 Watt as was recommended by a lot of websites as well as the clerk at the store as my main light and heat source. I'm planning on combining it with a Temp/Light Control Module which should sufficiently regulate the hot area of my enclosure. Then - as a secondary heat source - I also got a ceramic heater just to give the temperature nudges in the right direction. At the moment I'm not really considering getting an additional light source since I'm mostly counting on the Bright Sun but if I realize that temps rise too high so that I need to turn it off during the day I might look into getting one. Of course I'm also planning on putting some high ground onto the hot side so that my bp has that one basking spot with high temperatures. (Also, the lamps are inside the enclosure but I got cages for them so the snake won't get to them under any circumstances).
Does anybody see anything wrong with my setup?
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Old 03-03-17, 03:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

Sounds pretty neat. If I were a snake, I'd love it! If you notice your snake stays away from one spot or stays in one spot too long, you'll kind of be able to play around with your set up. As long as there's not too much or too little heat you can sort of sense what they like or don't. And about pooping, I've only had my little corn and only for a little while, but he likes to go right in his water. Like, as soon as we get a fresh bowl in there, that's where he's headed. Lately, since the mites, he's been going in his warm baths. It's different for every snake, though. You just kinda have to learn it's habbits. Now, I've heard that a lot go within the day after they eat....but, like I've said, I've only had the one.
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Old 03-03-17, 03:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

Maybe I should clarify the pooping thing... My Fred poops in his water... Moe eats and a week later he poos... It's my baby ball pythons I can't tell on... Their girth is pretty thick right out to their butt and I've been pooped on twice in the last month... Just my luck I guess... It could be their age I guess... Now George hasn't pooped in almost two months... I'm a little worried about him, but he seems to be doing ok...
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Old 03-03-17, 03:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

I've never been pooped on but my BO has peed on me twice. Little jerk, usually when drapped on my lap.
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Old 03-03-17, 05:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Interested in becoming a snake owner

Do they make Depends for snakes?

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I've never been pooped on but my BO has peed on me twice. Little jerk, usually when drapped on my lap.
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