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Ball Python Handling

Well, there are a few possibilities - first, are you feeding her the right-sized meal? The prey item should be as big around as the widest part of the snake's body. So, for a three foot ball python, probably a hopper rat. (Or, if she eats mice, 2 or 3 adult mice). However, measuring the length of a ball python isn't a very good way to gauge their overall size - it's pretty difficult to get one to stretch out for a measuring tape. Most folks simply weigh them, and getting a weight on the snake is a great way to track its growth, and to catch health issues before they become serious. A sudden dramatic loss of weight can indicate sickness. A three foot snake will probably weigh over 500 grams (or should), and should be on hoppers or small rats. At 3 feet, a male ball python is an adult, usually eating small rats, though some males grow up to 5 feet. Females tend to range from 4 to 5 feet, with a rare few up to 6 feet.

If the snake isn't getting enough food, then her attitude may simply be the result of hunger!

In 2 weeks, a ball python will still be fairly nervous. Does she have a proper environment? She should have 2 small single-entrance hide boxes (one on each end of the cage, just large enough for her to squeeze into), 90F basking temps (an undertank heat pad with a thermostat to control it), 80F air temperatures, and 60% humidity (challenging in a glass cage - cover most of the top with plastic wrap to achieve this). A very large cage will also make a ball python nervous and unhappy - they prefer small quarters. Check that all of these needs are met correctly - long-term stress will erode a snake's health. Nervous snakes will tend to be defensive, and ball pythons have poor vision. A hiding ball python is a happy ball python.

After checking all of the above, you should wait for 48 hours after your snake eats, before handling it. Nervous snakes may regurgitate their food, and regurgitation is dangerous for them, due to the strength of their stomach acid. So give the snake time to digest before handling it. Feed your snake once every 5 to 7 days until it is three years old, then feed every 7 days.

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