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Old 04-02-18, 09:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Petco Ball Python

I purchased my first baby ball python from petco and shortly realized it was most likely a mistake. I wasnít too knowledgeable on ball pythons but I was so eager to finally get my first snake. I purchased him underweight. Which at the time I didnít know. He stays in a 10 gal tank, with a nightlight reptile bulb, and a heating pad. He has a water dish, aspen bedding, a rock to hid in, and a small decoration. I spray his cage a few times a day to keep it humid. Heís fed twice a week on fuzzies because I got him so small. It seems like heís only losing weight and iím worried. Iím not sure why he wonít gain weight. His shed is stuck and his skin is therefore wrinkled. Iím super worried about whatís wrong.
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Old 04-03-18, 07:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Petco Ball Python

Ball pythons like the dark so I'd get rid of the light. Get another hide so they have two, one on cold side, one on the other. You can get sphagnum moss to keep the humidity up or make a humid hide out of a tupper ware container. That will help with the stuck shed and the wrinkled skin. As for him losing weight, try upping his prey size. The prey should be the size of the biggest part of the snakes body, maybe a little bigger than that part of the body. If he's eating two fuzzies at a time then he should be able to go up a prey size. Feeding should be about once a week or 5-7 days.
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Old 04-03-18, 07:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Petco Ball Python

Ok, first of all, take a breath and relax. For the stuck shed you can put him in a small container with 1/2" of warmish water. Make sure it's not too deep and make sure you poke holes in the top for air. Let him soak for about 30 minutes and then let him slither between your wet hands. You can do this once a day for several days. This can help with a stuck shed.

As for the weight, how do you know he was underweight when you bought him? Do you have a small scale on which you can weigh him? That's the only way to know for sure whether he's losing weight. You'll want an electronic scale that weighs in grams like this one. Weigh him before you feed him, but after he's pooped and keep track on a calendar or in a journal. How long have you had him? Something to keep in mind is that snakes grow slowly because their metabolisms are slow. They don't gain weight and grow like warm blooded animals. If your journaling shows that he is losing weight and/or his poops are watery he should go to an exotic vet that treats reptiles.

As for the enclosure, is the heat mat connected to a thermostat? If it is not, please unplug it until you can get one. These mats can easily reach temperatures in excess of 100 degrees and can burn your snake. A thermostat like this one is available on Amazon for less than $20. I would also suggest providing a second hide spot on the cool side of the enclosure.

Do you have a hygrometer to tell you what the humidity is? Aspen bedding isn't quite as effective at holding humidity as something like cypress mulch. I would also suggest taking some plastic or tinfoil and covering most of the screen top of your tank to help hold the humidity in.

What is the usual temperature of your house? Heat mats only provide a hot spot so if the ambient room temperature of your house is too low that can also cause stress for a snake.
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Old 04-03-18, 08:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Petco Ball Python

I'd suggest a humid hide before a water bath. Water baths stress snakes out necessarily, where as humid hides are a useful tool to just leave in the tank always.
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Old 04-04-18, 07:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Petco Ball Python

Quote:
Originally Posted by phenyx View Post
Ok, first of all, take a breath and relax. For the stuck shed you can put him in a small container with 1/2" of warmish water. Make sure it's not too deep and make sure you poke holes in the top for air. Let him soak for about 30 minutes and then let him slither between your wet hands. You can do this once a day for several days. This can help with a stuck shed.

As for the weight, how do you know he was underweight when you bought him? Do you have a small scale on which you can weigh him? That's the only way to know for sure whether he's losing weight. You'll want an electronic scale that weighs in grams like this one. Weigh him before you feed him, but after he's pooped and keep track on a calendar or in a journal. How long have you had him? Something to keep in mind is that snakes grow slowly because their metabolisms are slow. They don't gain weight and grow like warm blooded animals. If your journaling shows that he is losing weight and/or his poops are watery he should go to an exotic vet that treats reptiles.

As for the enclosure, is the heat mat connected to a thermostat? If it is not, please unplug it until you can get one. These mats can easily reach temperatures in excess of 100 degrees and can burn your snake. A thermostat like this one is available on Amazon for less than $20. I would also suggest providing a second hide spot on the cool side of the enclosure.

Do you have a hygrometer to tell you what the humidity is? Aspen bedding isn't quite as effective at holding humidity as something like cypress mulch. I would also suggest taking some plastic or tinfoil and covering most of the screen top of your tank to help hold the humidity in.

What is the usual temperature of your house? Heat mats only provide a hot spot so if the ambient room temperature of your house is too low that can also cause stress for a snake.
This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^. Everything phenyx says here is on point. You absolutely need to make these tweaks to your enclosure b4 your ball python will really thrive. I purchased a pastel ball python from Petco back in 2014 and she is doing very well and is about to lay her second clutch of eggs for me. So once your husbandry is on point you will see your ball python benefit. Would I buy a animal from Petco ever again? Absolutely not!
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