How to handle a pet ball python?

One of the most exciting and entertaining aspects of owning a ball python is holding one. Their instinct is to wrap around whatever they come into contact with (they’re constrictors, after all) which makes for a really fun handling experience. Those who have the pleasure of getting to hold a ball python will find themselves pleasantly squeezed as the snake wraps around arms, shoulders, and any other body part they get access to. If you own a ball python of your own, no doubt you are raring to experience this for yourself. Here are a few key things to keep in mind in order to handle your ball python like a pro.

Frequency & Duration

Ball pythons are one of the most popular pet snakes in the industry, equally beloved by both experienced snake-keepers and beginners. One of the primary reasons is how friendly they are, much more so than your average pet snake. Even so, snakes are inherently solitary creatures and have their limits when it comes to human interaction.

It’s recommended to handle your pet snake a minimum of once or twice a week but no more than once a day. Overhandling your ball python will quickly find you with a grumpy pet on your hands so keep your initial interactions around the fifteen-minute mark. Once you and your snake are more familiar with one another, you’ll be able to up the time using the snake’s body language to determine when they’ve had enough.

Picking Up A Ball Python

The proper method for picking up a ball python is the same as picking up any other kind of snake. Always use two hands to properly support the animal. Gently slide one hand under the center of the snake (the body) and use the other to support its head. Never grab it singularly from either end, the head or the tail, which could cause severe spine injury.

Once the snake is in your hands, let it rest on you while continuing to be supported (it’s easiest to do this while sitting down). When your ball python is ready to explore, they will treat your limbs like branches of a tree and use their powerful contracting muscles to hold them steady. Don’t be alarmed by the sensation of their squeezing, it won’t hurt you. Just be mindful that they don’t get around your neck where they could potentially pose a hazard, unintentionally, of course.

Before picking up the snake, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands to ensure your hands don’t smell like food (so that your snake doesn’t mistakenly consider it to be food). Also, it’s very important to pay attention to its body language. If the snake seems agitated, it’s probably not a good time to try and handle it. Instead, look for signs that the snake is calm and relaxed.

Now You’re Ready for Ball Python Ownership

With these pro-tips under your belt, you’re well on your way to becoming a ball python handling expert and building a meaningful bond with your new pet. If you don’t already have one of your own, you can find ball pythons for sale virtually anywhere that reptiles are sold but will find the best selection at specialty online reptile shops.

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