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Questions On Set Up And Shed

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by Wesleyk, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. Wesleyk

    Wesleyk Member

    so I have a new ball python, he/she is a young normal. I saw him sitting in a tiny cage at pet smart and decided I wanted to rescue the little guy, so I bought him.
    He looked under weight, the first night I had him he ate a small adult mouse(frozen thawed) and a week later ate another and the next feeding I noticed he was about to shed, blue eyes and very dull so I attempted a feed and he refused, so I left it in his tank over night and he just stayed in his hide the whole time. And now 2 weeks later he is now just barely starting to shed some pieces, and looks very wrinkly, I soaked him twice dripping a little water on his face and could clearly see him drinking the drops, I am worried he is dehydrated.

    A little about the set up, he is in a 50 gallon tank with a custom built top, hot side has a UTH on a thermostat. The thermostat is set at 85 with the probe being in between the glass and heater. But I have two thermometer probes reading 91-95 about a 1/4 inch below the substrate.
    The cool side has a nighttime bulb above it, and that side reads 72-75 constantly.
    The water bowl in on the cool side and there is a branch he sometimes climbs up to get closer to the bulb.
    I have a digital hydrometer in the tank which never dropped below 60 but I'm starting to wonder if it's accurate. He was previously on aspen bedding but tonight I switched to echo earth. And after the change the gauge reads 99% humidity but I'm waiting for it to reach its steady point.

    I would love some opinions on what I could be doing wrong or right, as I have spent enough money as it is on this little guy, I will
    Spend whatever it costs to have a happy and healthy snake.

    Here are a few pictures of the enclosure. And the little guy before shed image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
     
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Hi there. 99% of the time shedding issues are the result of improper humidity, which usually results from issues with the setup. First thing I see from the pics is a screen top, which is probably 90% of your problem. They let all the heat and humidity escape, and it's impossible to keep things stable. Best thing to do is cover as much of the screen as possible with something non porous, any sort of plastic sheet will do, you can even use saran wrap or tinfoil. Try to avoid using towels or any such material, although I see this recommended a lot, they tend to be mildew factories if kept wet enough to do any good, and do nothing if left dry. Another option would be a couple moist hides, but having the proper cage humidity will be better overall. Cover the entire screen except where the light fixture must go through. You may need to peel some of the covering back after things stabilize a bit, depending on where the humidity ends up at, but that is a trial and error process. I would also recommend cluttering up the cage with more fake plants or whatever, the snake should be able to move about mostly unseen if it wants to. That might help with its reluctance to move around. More hides are never a bad option either. If you want to do this on the cheap, fake plants from a dollar store and recycled plastic food containers work great. I always rinse the plants with hot water before putting them in the cage.
    Last thing, I would consider getting a different humidity guage, just to double check the one you have. One of the cheap $12 Accurite units from Walmart would be fine, they aren't the greatest but tend to be a good value for the money.
     
  3. Wesleyk

    Wesleyk Member

    Half of the top is screen the other half is plexiglass, and I usually have foil over the screen as well, I'm going to get a better humidity gauge and see what is actually reading in there, and it seems a lot better with the echo earth compared to the aspen shavings.
    And I'm going to get more plants, I buy them from a hobby store and I make my own hides with foam and grout and hand paint them.
    But he has no issues exploring the tank, he definitely goes back and forth to the hot side and cool side.
    And now with the echo earth he is making burrows under everything and loves hanging out in the leaves.

    But I will definitely triple check the humidity and and hope his next shed goes flawlessly.
     
  4. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    My smaller carpet python just shed. I didn't notice her in blue, and the humidity was lower than usual, so about half of it was stuck on her. Worst was that the shed on her head and neck hadn't come off at all. I placed her in a muslin reptile bag that a recent shipment of feeder anoles arrived in (pillowcase works just as well, just bigger) with a dripping wet hand towel, tied the bag in a knot, and placed it into a small plastic tub overnight. Next morning the rest of the shed was off, and she was obviously feeling much better.
    My snakes in glass tanks that need higher humidity have a thick layer of cypress mulch for the substrate, and most of the top of the tank is covered with foam board. (Dollar store is the best source, just cut to size and peel off the paper.)
     
  5. ScoobyDoo

    ScoobyDoo New Member

    You can also try dried coconut husk which when rehydrated helps retain humidity. A larger pond for him to soak in will help shedding as well as supplying fresh water.
    I use both in my set up.
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