Ball Python shedding tips
As we enter the winter season, you might start to experience incomplete or poor sheds from your ball python. As the weather gets colder, the humidity or amount of moisture in the air lowers and has less water vapor in it. Ball pythons should have 60-65% relative humidity in their enclosures to help with the shedding process in addition to providing a good degree of moisture in the air. Lower levels of humidity will often times cause incomplete or poor sheds in ball pythons. You should have a humidity gauge in your ball pythons’ cage so you’ll know what the relative humidity is at all times.
Why do Ball Pythons Shed?
Shedding or Ecdysis is a natural phenomenon that ball pythons undergo for a varied number of reasons. As ball pythons grow, they shed old skin that’s replaced by new skin. Younger snakes shed more times than older snakes because they’re growing at a faster pace. It’s not uncommon for your ball python to shed at least one time per month. They can also shed due to an injury or if their skin is extremely dirty. Shedding is healthy and natural and should come off your ball python in one piece. Ball pythons do not consume their shed as some reptiles do in order to take advantage of the added calcium. They simply shed their skin and crawl away from it leaving it to harden and blow away in the breeze.
Ball pythons usually defecate and urinate right after they complete the shedding process. As they start to enter the shedding phase, they will darken up and become dull looking. Their eyes will start to darken up and have a dark gray or blue color to them. It’s extremely challenging for them to see during this stage of the shedding cycle so they can become nervous or startled very easy. It’s best to leave them alone when they’re entering their shed cycle and make sure the relative humidity in the cage is conducive to a complete and proper shed. The shedding cycle can last anywhere from seven (7) to fourteen (14) days on average. Although some ball pythons will eat in shed, it’s not advisable to offer them food during this time.