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Ball Python Help

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by ferasaeva, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. ferasaeva

    ferasaeva Well-Known Member

    Hello there! I am a new snake owner and have had my ball python, Edgar (just over 3ft), for about a month now. I have him in a 40 or 50 gal. tank (not quite sure which) with lots of cover, a water bowl large enough for him to soak in, and a hide. He's shed once successfully and was eating well at first but hasn't for the past 3 weeks. I have asked a friend who has owned many snakes about it and he said to bump up the heat (currently 80 degrees) to 90 degrees in the warmest part of the tank with a heat pad along with the lamp I already have. I turned it on and sat on it happily and seemed to be in a better mood but when I took him out later that day his underside was slightly red so I immediately turned off the heat pad to avoid any burns. I was wondering how to solve this problem, and if theres any way to use the heating pad without burning him. Thank you!

    -A concerned pet parent
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    You need to get a thermostat to regulate that heating pad, or you are almost guaranteed to have issues, and may severely injure your snake. Depending on your budget, you can search amazon for "hydrofarm" and find an acceptable cheap one. A better option is one of the higher end thermostats made specifically for reptiles, such as the herpstats from spyder robotics. Now, you want the hotspot set to 90°, but it makes a huge difference how you measure this temperature. The most accurate way is with an infrared temp gun, usually available at any hardware store, or one of the small units made for reptile use. An alternative is to get a digital thermometer with a probe, and place the probe between the heatpad and the glass. If you can't manage a thermostat right now, and are a bit handy, a household dimmer switch can be wired up to plug the heat pad into, then you can adjust it to get the temperature right. Big disadvantage there is it won't adjust for variations in room temp, so if you set it when the room temp is 70, and it goes up to 75, so too will the temp of the heat pad likely go from 90 to 95.
  3. ferasaeva

    ferasaeva Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much! I'll get to that right away, hopefully this will solve his eating dilemma. Do you know how much they go for?
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Also the pinkness of the belly means it is getting ready for another shed.
  5. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    The hydrofarms go somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 bucks or close to 40 shipped I think. A herpstat starts at around 80 or 90, but they are a ton more reliable and have more saftey features built in. The herpstats can bebordered directly from spyder robotics, or you can look for someone who deals them near you, I think they have a link to their dealers on their website.
  6. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I use Zilla temperature controllers for my flexwatt heaters, and they have worked pretty good so far. They are about $35 on amazon. You can dial the temperature you need, and they come with a probe, but I frequently double check mine with the temp gun to make sure they are working right. So far, no problems.

    Your Ball Python may not have been eating for a few reasons.

    Mature ball pythons (I do not know the age of yours) frequently go off their feed during winter, and it can drive new keepers mad.

    Inadequate temps. Ball Pythons require a basking spot with a 90ºF temperature at all times in order to digest their food. If they do not have adequate means to do this, they simply won't eat.

    Pre-Shed. Even before the milky eyes, most snakes develop a blush to their belly (and in pale-bellied snakes such as ball pythons, it is readily visible). You should also notice that his colors seem a but subdued and less vibrant, and his scales look less reflective. Some snakes go off their feed prior to shedding.
  7. trappen

    trappen Elite Member

    Its might be good to mention that Ball Pythons are Belly baskers. Meaning they get most of their warmth from their belly side versus a heat lamp over head backing spot.
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Not true. As long as you are providing proper temperatures, the source of the heat is irrelevant.
  9. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    If your Ball Python is over 3 feet long he is bound to be over a year old, and will not need to be fed so often, as if he were a baby. If you have had him for a month and he has already eaten in the first week, you need not try to feed him again the next week or even the next, as long as he is healthy. At this time of year in any case, they often refuse food for extended periods. Attempt to feed a sub-adult (one year or more) snake every two or three weeks with an appropriate size fresh killed or frozen/thawed prey item. Sometimes during the winter months they will absolutely not eat and it is normal for them. If everything in your husbandry is as it should be (temps, humidity, setup) and your snake is not sick or has mites or internal parasites, then no need to worry.

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