Baby Ball Pythons, also known as Royal Pythons, are easy to buy in the U.S.. Most pet stores and local flea markets fulfill the impulse buying urge, but the internet is a favorable way the cautious buyer connects. Of course, a pet store is the best place to buy a Baby Ball that is in perfect health and parasite free. While there is reputable herp dealers on the internet, the buyer can not personally get a feel for the snakes temperament until it has arrived at the front door. The problem with sellers at fairs and flea markets is the snakes might or might not have been captive bred, fed or healthy.
The important thing to ask is if it has been eating. Baby Ball Pythons are notorious for feeding problems, some with the end result of death by starvation. Don’t be too surprised if your new Ball Python refuses food even if the seller swore the specimen was a good eater.
The most important thing a new pet snake owner should do is provide a cage with the basic needs met. A ten gallon aquarium tank is perfect and can be bought for less than ten dollars at Wal-mart. Line the bottom with newspaper or paper towels. A hide box is necessary, but can be nothing more than a small box with both an entrance and exit hole.
A shallow dish of water for drinking and soaking should be placed inside as well. A plastic lid or a clay saucer from a clay flower pot set is ideal, and can be bought for nearly nothing at yard sales or little over a dollar at Wal-mart’s Garden Center.
A screened tank lid and clamps can be bought at Petland or a local pet store. If they are not accessible to you, one can be made by cutting a correctly sized piece of paneling board or cardboard, then use weights on top of the tank edges to keep the snake in. Do not use tape! Baby Ball Pythons are slithering Houdini imposters that take advantage of any restraint fault. If the Python does escape, there is no immediate need to search the entire house. The chances are good of finding an escapee hiding somewhere in a fifteen foot diameter from the cage.
Very important is the temperature inside the cage. Ideally the range should be between 70-80 degrees in the night and 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Temporarily, using only a light above the cage will adjust the amount of heat that the snakes require, and will also provide a radiant environment. It is the snake’s environment that determines the digestive cycle as well as its general health and mental well being.
After a week or two of doing things the pioneer way, the pet owner should provide the rest of the cage accessories. The materials used largely depends on the budget of the snake owner. Petland pet stores has may wonderful esthetic pet products and cages. The Petland staff also has the experience and knowledge about designing a perfect micro-environment for your Python. But it doesn’t take a large amount of money to purchase or make the key items for a baby Ball Python.
The paper lining should be replaced with a reptile floor liner. This reusable rough material is easily cleaned with a water spray. Other items to be purchased as soon as possible is a sererate cage for feeding times,thermometer, a second hide box, and a forked branch or rough log for the snake to move around on. Many snake owners recommend two thermometers, one for each end of the cage. This is to insure that no part of the cage is too hot to be safe for the Baby Ball. The second hide out is more for the snakes mental well being than shelter. And the branch or log can be easily found in the woods or near a large tree.
An under the cage heating pad is the best way to keep cage temperature up. It is much safer than a heating rock to the Baby Ball Pythons since Pythons are easily burnt. The effectiveness of the heating mat can be compromised by a small amount of pine bedding directly between the glass and the reptile flooring.
If you have unluckily purchased a non eating Baby Ball Python, the pet owner will have to encourage eating of pinkie mice through various means, such as dipped in chicken broth or leaving it teasingly dangled. While some owners aren’t accepting of feeding live food, live mice will be more tempting to their instinctive nature.
Some owners have steel stomachs and can cut the mouse’s head off before feeding. The most extreme gourmet measure is of braining. This process requires the skull to be opened so that the brain can be spread over the entire body. This is gruesome to most people, but to a concerned pet snake owner it is a legit option. If the amount of time the baby doesn’t eat lengthens from several days into weeks, the snake might require a forced feeding from a vet.
When playing with your new pet, wash your hands and forearms before and after. This both washes away germs and hopefully any smell from food clinging to them, and again to remove any bacteria gained from the snake enclosure. Baby Ball Pythons are shy and curl into a ball with its head in the center. You can hold the Ball and the snake will eventually loosen up, or you can carefully unwind it. Baby Ball Pythons are great pets because of their gentleness.
A person must clean a snake cage carefully to prevent Salmonella contamination dangers. Persons with immune deficiency, the elderly and young children are not desirable cage caretakers due to health risks. The cleanser can be a bleach dilute of ten parts water to one part bleach, or alcohol based window cleaners. Do not use Phenol- based cleansers, like Pine-Sol or other pine cleaners. Be sure to rinse away all cleanser residue in cage or pet products.
Rubber gloves, eye goggles, rags, brushes and cleaner is important, but there is more to it. Food preparation areas should not be combined with reptile locations or reptile cage cleaning. If sinks or bathtubs are used during the cleaning, be sure to sanitize the area and the cleaning equipment with Clorox bleach water afterwards.
Second only to a proper cage, is the need for a veterinarian. A veterinarian that commonly works with reptiles can aptly care for parasite infestations, cuts and various other medical conditions. A reptile expert is a great source of comfort to a novice and nervous snake owner during feeding problems and shedding periods. A veterinarian can also tell you the gender of the snake by probing the specimen. At Animal Help.com, finding a vet in the local area is real easy and quick.