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· WWTCD?
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Go with a corn snake, if you want something simple that stays relatively small. King snakes would also not be a bad choice. Both are pretty hardy. Even a milk snake would probably be easy for a beginner... Lots of different colours and variances to choose from.

Beginners have varying success with ball pythons. Plus they're the "cute" snake. And quite boring to observe. If you want a python, rather than a ball python, I would suggest going for a children's python. It got it's name from basically it being a popular snake for kids. Easy to take care of, stays small for a python, and still looks cool.

Be weary of buying anything that will get too big, like some of the boas. It might seem cool at first. But when you're having to feed a 7 or 8 foot long snake rabbits to keep it content you'll be singing a different story.

And any venomous snake is a moronic choice. I think it was originally meant as a joke...
 

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i would say go with a baby ball python because they are docile and dont get that large and also ask them if they can feed it for you before you buy it so that you know that it is eating and here is some info for you so you can learn alittle more about ball pythons.

Ball Pythons, Python regius (also know as Royal Python) are a relatively small and docile specie of snake, which are native to Western and West-Central Africa. If you have purchased a Ball Python from a pet store, chances are it was born in either Togo, Benin, or Ghana. They are called 'Ball Pythons' because, when frightened, they coil around their head and into a ball.

The average hatchling is about 16-18 inches long, and adults can pretty easily reach 36-48 inches. In captivity they can live up to about 50 years, but 20-30 years is probably more likely. Unfortunately due to the pressures of habitat fragmentation and destruction, as well as commercial collecting for the pet trade, skin trade, and the killing for food, Ball Pythons in the wild do not live as long. "It (Python regius) is considered a threatened species and permits are required for its legal export, living or dead.

Ball Pythons can be good 'beginner' snakes, if you follow a few caveats and know what you are buying. One thing that you should know, is that getting the snake setup in a secure cage will probably cost as much, if not more, than the snake itself. You will need a cage (typically an aquarium), a secure lid, at least one heat source (either a heat mat, or an aluminum type clip lamp), a thermometer, a water bowl, and at least one hide box. I would suggest you also get a lamp timer, an extra hide box or two, a hygrometer, a second heat source. You will also need to know where to get food for your snake (or be able to raise your own), and know of a qualified reptile veterinarian in your area.

One thing which commonly gets over looked is the level of humidity in the tank. Since Ball Pythons spend a lot of time underground in burrows or in termite nests, they are more sensitive to relative humidity than one might expect.I recommend the ambient humidity be at least 60%, and you may want to provide a hide box which has a higher percent (70-80%). Low humidity can cause incomplete shedding, dehydration, and sometimes a lack of appetite. To either add or remove humidity, you can provide bigger or smaller water bowls. You can restrict, but not stop, air flow from the tank. You can use porous substrates (i.e. mulch) that will hold some moisture and mist the cage every so often

If you do get your snake from a pet store, hatchlings (16-18 inches) usually adjust to captivity. Wild caught adults (36-48 inches) however, typically do not fare very well in captivity, due to a host of health problems.

Assuming you are providing a good environment for your snake and it's eating, it will also be expelling waste and shedding. How often your snake sheds and defecates is dependant upon how often it's eating and it's metabolism. A young snake that's growing may shed and/or defecate as often as every four to six weeks. Older snakes which aren't growing as much may only shed a few times a year. If you are worried that your snake is constipated, usually a luke warm/cool bath in an inch or two of water seems to loosen things up.

The processes of shedding, or sloughing, usually take about 7-10 days to complete. You'll first notice that your Ball Python's belly is getting a pink color. Once you notice this, it's best advised to not handle your snake. Shortly after noticing the belly getting pink, you should see the eyes begin to look foggy and the snake's colors begin to dull. After 5-6 days of this, things begin to clear up. A few days after the clearing, your snake will find something rough and rub against it. Ideally your snake should be able to shed in one full piece, which comes off inside out, like when you pull off your sock. If your snake doesn't happen to get it off in one piece, that's a sign that you are not providing exactly the right environment. It may be too dry in the tank, or your snake may be a little dehydrated. The two problem areas you should watch out for, if it didn't slough in a single piece, are around the eyes, and the tip of the tail. If the eye caps did not shed off, your snakes eye(s) will have a foggy silver look to them. To help the snake shed off those last few bits of skin, you can try soaking it in a luke warm/cool bath for a half hour or so. Then gently dabbing it with a warm damp cloth. Placing the snake in a damp cloth bag for awhile sometimes helps also. Some people have had luck dabbing the eye's with a cotton swab that's been moistened with baby oil. If you cannot get the eye cap(s) off, I wouldn't worry too much, and pay extra attention to the humidity level and the hydration of the snake through it's next shed cycle. Most likely the eye caps will come off with the following slough. If after two shed cycles, the eye caps are still intact, a trip to the vet may be called for

You may, or may not, have heard that Ball Pythons can be finicky eaters. This is somewhat true. Wild caught adults are generally by far the more frustrating feeders. Captive hatched and captive bred snakes seem to adjust better to captivity and are better about eating on a regular basis. The process of feeding occurs in a few steps. First the snake identifies prey by the scent, color, size, movement, and temperature. If the Ball Python feels that it's in a safe location and won't be molested during the eating process, it will bite and coil around the intended prey item. The coil is intended to kill the prey by suffocation. After the prey stops moving, the snake then usually finds the head and begins the process of swallowing. After the food is in it's stomach, the snake will want to find a small, dark, and warm location to lay around for four or five days and digest the food. In the wild, this warm and dark location is usually a rodent burrow, after the snake has eaten the inhabitants.

So how often should you offer food to your snake? Well that depends on a few factors, notably the age of the snake. Younger snakes (16-30 inches) that are still growing fast will need more food. Older snakes (30-48 inches) won't need to feed as often. I feed my young snakes once every 7-10 days. They are capable of eating small to average size mice as hatchlings. Adults can pretty easily eat a rat that measures five or six inches from nose to butt. I feed my adult males about every three weeks, and the adult (breeding) females eat about once every two weeks. Snakes eat whole animals and do not need vitamin supplements, although you may want to add a little calcium to a gravid (pregnant) female's diet to help in egg production. This feeding schedule assumes that the adults will be off feed for a few months during the winter/breeding season. You may find other information on Ball Pythons that suggest feeding more often, but I believe that most people over feed their snakes. Snakes in the wild never have the opportunity to become obese due to less food availability, and more activity hunting for it.

Should you be offering live or dead food? It generally depends on the individual snake, but I offer prekilled food items. Dead food can't fight back, and I can kill the rodent quicker (less pain for the animal) than a snake does. If the snake has gone awhile without food, is looking thin, and I've exhausted most other options, live food is something worth a try. The downside to offering live food is that the rodent will fight back and can harm your snake. Do NOT leave a live rodent in a cage with a snake unattended! If the rodent attacks your snake, it will scar it, and possibly deter the snake from eating. This photo shows some scarring which is typical of prey items bites/attacks. I have enough of a need for rodents, that I get them frozen by mail order. After a few hours of thawing under a heat lamp, most of my snakes readily eat. Most pet stores will prekill a rodent for you if you ask. If it's left up to you, there are a few simple and painless ways to get the job done. The easiest would be to place the rodent into a small paper bag and hit it against a hard stationary object. The rodent impacts with enough force to instantly kill it. The other option, is to hold the rodent by the tail. Using a ruler or similar object pin it to a table top at the base of the skull. With a quick pull of the tail up from the table, you break it's back and separate the spinal column, thus killing the rodent. In my opinion, either of these two methods are the best way to accomplish this uncomfortable task.

What type of prey item should you offer to your Ball Python? Ideally your snake will eat either lab mice or rats which are cheap and easy to get. I would strongly caution against feeding your snake wild mice or other animals. There is no way of telling what diseases, parasites, or poisons that a wild mouse is carrying. Gerbils and gerboas are a Ball Python's natural food item. If your snake doesn't happen to like rats or mice, a regular pet store gerbil is pretty tempting, albeit a little more expensive.
 

· WWTCD?
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One thing I just noticed in re-reading the original post is that it was mentioned that smaller is better. While ball pythons don't get that long they do get a decent amount of girth on them. Corn snakes and king snakes will stay a lot more slender.

Just something to think about.
 

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yes ball python are a heavy bodied snake compaired to kings and corns and i would say go with a ball because i had a king and when i held it i did not what to hold it to tight or anything because i thought i would break and it was kind of hard to get a good grip on her. as to where a ball it alot easier to hold and get a grip on and it also does not feel like they are going to break when you handling them but it is all up to you and what you like better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thanks for all the advice, and thanks redbellypacu for the great input, ive almost descided to get a corn or a ball, but then, what kind of equipment will i need? have a empty tank at 65 litres will it be enought to raise a small snake in? what more will i need?
 

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Vampor said:
thanks for all the advice, and thanks redbellypacu for the great input, ive almost descided to get a corn or a ball, but then, what kind of equipment will i need? have a empty tank at 65 litres will it be enought to raise a small snake in? what more will i need?
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what is the lxwxh of the tank

sweet lu said:
get a corn, my ball python just seems to be giving me problems with shedding
taking him tomorow to lps for some help with it
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if you have your ball in a fish tank you can use a towel and put it half way over your tank and that will raise the humidty to around 60-65. and there is also this product called SHED EASE i got it when i first got my ball because she had to retined shedes and this stuff worked great so i would use this.
Facilitates shedding and promotes healthy skin in reptiles. Contains rich emollients that lubricate old skin, allowing it to gently slough away. 16 oz. spray bottle.

Ideal for: All types of lizards and snakes including Iguanas, Geckos, Chameleons, Water Dragons, Tegus, Monitors, Skinks, Boas, Pythons, Corn Snakes, Milk Snakes, and King Snakes.

Directions: Add 2 teaspoons of Shed Ease to 8-ounces of lukewarm water. Soak reptile for 20 minutes to allow emollients to penetrate skin. Old skin should slip off easily. If any old skin remains, gently rub to coax it free. Do not atempt to pull dry skin off reptiles.
 

· WWTCD?
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redbellypacu said:
yes ball python are a heavy bodied snake compaired to kings and corns and i would say go with a ball because i had a king and when i held it i did not what to hold it to tight or anything because i thought i would break and it was kind of hard to get a good grip on her. as to where a ball it alot easier to hold and get a grip on and it also does not feel like they are going to break when you handling them but it is all up to you and what you like better.
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I guess it also depends on what size you get the animal at. I had an adult reverse okeetee corn snake and he was the calmest, best behaved snake I've ever had the pleasure of interacting with. Colubrids in general (corns, kings, milksnakes, etc) are quite flighty as babies though and one does have to be a bit more gentle with them than a larger bodied snake like a python or boa. My cornsnake however would easily wrap around my arm and hold on while I handled him for a while - I could even sit at the comp and type and he wouldn't slither off. I still lament about having to sell him before I moved to Europe. But so goes life, I suppose.
 

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that shed ease stuff, i saw it an questioned its working ability, and so far out of the 6 snake books i own iv tried all but take to the vet

would that shed ease stuff also get the shed off the eyes cause her one eye is covered still
 

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sweet lu said:
that shed ease stuff, i saw it an questioned its working ability, and so far out of the 6 snake books i own iv tried all but take to the vet

would that shed ease stuff also get the shed off the eyes cause her one eye is covered still
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Before you go to the vet and pay just to walk in the door like i did with mine i had to pay $60.00 to hear that she has a retained shed and wait a week to see if it comes off. i would use the shed ease it got my ball pythons retained sheds off and the eye caps also. the bottle says soak them for 20mins i would do it for 30-45 mins then it should all come off real eays with some help from you buy handling or rubbing. as for the retained eye caps you might have to soak her 3 times for them to come off if that does not work then i would say take it to the vet and make sure they know how to remove a retained eye cap if done wrong you can blind your snake it that eye.i used it twice and every since then i have had perfect sheds with her. and you can also use the shed ease every week to soak your snake in if the humidty is not right
 
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