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Expert Herps ...

Discussion in 'Help *General*' started by marley93, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. marley93

    marley93 Member

    So I am trying to decide between the ball python or a bearded dragon. I have done a fair amount of research on both as well as ordering a few books but I can still not decide.
    So ball pythons are so cool looking and low maintenance with food and such only needing to be fed once a week and eventually one large meal a month or two smaller meals a month spaced out.

    From what I've read that is what I have learned correct me if I'm wrong. This could make it easy as I am in college and going home for a week for thanksgiving I won't be stressing as much if the snake has already been fed for that amount of time. Disadvantages are that I have heard how balls tend not to be as active (i know they are nocturnal I am speaking active in general) as bearded dragons.
    I also hear bearded dragons are so much fun too not that bps aren't fun. I want a pet that will be fun to interact with and handle a fair amount ( keeping in mind they are reptiles). Balls seem rather less expensive versus bearded dragons.

    The downside of Bds to me is the constant feeding esp if I got a baby...and after considering I may get a juv/adult if I go that path.
    What do you experts recommend? Con/Pros for BD vs Ball Pythons?

    It seems as if it breaks down less unkeep less personality (BP) vs more personality but more unkeep (BDs). I'm no expert so fire away.
  2. dannigd

    dannigd Elite Member

    You make great points on both of them. I have a bearded dragon, iguana, and snake. I would have to say the snake (kingsnake) is the easiest to take care of. You feed him once a week and handle him some and he is good to go. Snakes do have personalities I have learned. Bearded dragon are way more fun and keep in mind they are great travelers. I live in PA and Dragon went to NC with me in just the car. A person that has way more experience than me will come along though.

    Beardies are more work but worth it!
  3. Dragoneer

    Dragoneer Well-Known Member

    Hey there. I am no expert but you are pretty much correct on your studies. I have had a Ball for the last 3 years. I have enjoyed the heck out of him. Yes they are so very easy to care for. No, they won't put on a show like a Bearded would. But I love holding him and let him slither around me. Plus, when people come over they tend to gravitate towards him.

    Recently we added Beardies to our family. They are fun as well. Yes, they scurry aound are fun to watch. I do like playing with them as well. Love the texture of them. Yes, you will be busy feeding them and cleaning after them. I didn't realize what all would have been involved as far as feeding. I made trips every other day or so to get crickets. I didn't realize how fast they went through them. They eat a ton!!! So I finally ordered them 1000 at a time. Now you have to worry about housing those crickets. I have 2 Rubbermaid tubs that I keep in the garage. You need to make sure you are housing the crickets properly as well. And the containers will stink. So make sure you have somewhere to keep that stink unless you just want to buy several dozen at a time from a store, which does get expensive.
    I think in your situation, being in college, I would recommend a Ball.
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    This statement puzzles me. Are you under the impression that adults don't require "constant feeding"?
  5. skelegirl

    skelegirl Member

    Firstly, it's better to feed a snake smaller meals more often. 1 large prey item a month isn't as good for the snake as 3 or 4 smaller ones a month. Adult BPs can usually take a small adult rat every 7-10 days. Just an FYI. :)

    I have both BPs and Bearded dragons, and love them both for different reasons. BPs are very easy to keep and do not require as large of or as ornate enclosures as a bearded dragon. You can keep a BP in a decent sized tub with an undertank heater on a thermostat. A bearded dragon requires a large enclosure with a good-quality UVB bulb that needs to be replaced every 6 months to a year (depending on the brand), and at least one ceramic heat emitter on a thermostat. Cage furniture for a BP consists of a water bowl and 2 hides. Cage furniture for a bearded dragon consists of multiple basking spots of varying heights, as well as a water dish (debatable, but mine soak in theirs) and at least one hide.

    You will definitely see your bearded dragon more than a BP. A happy BP is one that isn't seen much. Bearded dragons are full of personality, whereas BPs don't really "express" themselves very well. Both can be fun "tv watching buddies", though.

    Food is another consideration. For a BP, you just thaw a rat from the freezer every 7-10 days. A bearded dragon will require bugs and salads every day. An easy way to save $$ on bugs is to start your own roach colony, but that's not for everyone.

    Oh yeah, a BP will poop and pee about once a week. A healthy bearded dragon will go every 1-3 days...and it's messier than a snake's.

    All in all, these are very different animals. For a college student, I would recommend a BP for the smaller space requirements, ease of care, and lack of escaped feeders. Hope this helps!
  6. marley93

    marley93 Member

    I'm sorry Merlin I misspoke. I was just commenting that baby BDs eat insane amounts of crickets and that is what I meant by constant feeding. I understand that the BDS as adults need a fair amount of crickets/greens but not as much as when they are babies. That's all I meant. Thanks everybody for the remarks ...keep em coming if you don't mind! I'm thinking I'm leaning towards the BP as skele girl put it perfectly as BPs would be better maybe for my college life seeing as they are low maintence with feeding and I wouldn't have to worry about crickets escaping...keeping the smell of crickets in my apartment or getting out and terrozing my roomates lol! The BDs personality from what I hear is just what keeps me hesitent. BP also seem so neat too and have personalites...ah i dont know! hahah I do like aspect of BPs slithering or forming around my arm or neck or whatever as opposed to a BD just sitting on my shoulder but who knows...hopefully a few more posts will help....right now though BP sound good.
  7. Dragoneer

    Dragoneer Well-Known Member

    You wont be disappointed with a Ball at all. Whenever you get a place of your own then get some Beardies. What I like about the Ball is that I don't feel so obligated to take it out all the time. The Beardies are always looking at me so I have to take them out and love on them. I guess I am a sucker for that:) On the plus side, watching a Ball eat is so much kewler than a Beardie. I like it when people come over and cringe when they see the snake. I like to feed when those people are over. They always say "I don't want to watch", but they always end up watching and some find it pretty cool.
  8. marley93

    marley93 Member

    Hahah I like what you say about feeding snakes. I like the idea that when I get my own place I'll get beardies so thank you for that good suggestion. Question for you though: do you feel as if you're snake enjoys being held because you mentioned how you feel that you don't feel as guilty if you handle it less than the Bds. I understand the BDs look at you making you feel more guilty for not handling I'm just curious about your Ball. Thanks!
  9. Dragoneer

    Dragoneer Well-Known Member

    Oh, I don't know. When I do pull him out he will occasionally stay put for a while but he usually wants to explore the couch cushions or under my shirt. I feel they would be content just being left alone. But there is no way I would let that happen. They need to be held so they are comfortable with human interaction. I just feel less guilty because he is in his hide a lot more than the BD's and plays most when the lights are out.
    BTW, I just fed him. He OWNED that rat!!!!!LOL:)
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Some ball pythons do seem to enjoy being held. We can open the cage top and our pair will come out and crawl onto our arms.
    And they are pretty content to just hang out with you. However they do not require it.
    It all boils down to what you want. Beardies are much more active and when out will wander around and explore.
  11. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    and many ball pythons develop this annoying habit of winter fasting. Many will simply stop eating during the winter months, and guessing when it will start back up is... fun. Our male dos it every year without fail. Our female will eat straight through (though she used to fast, she stopped doing it once she bred.), generally, once we know he's off his feed, we only offer if every 3-4 weeks.

    Some BP also have problems converting from live food to frozen/thawed. My male took 3 years of frustration. My female didn't seem to care what she was eating, as long as she was eating.

    They are all different, but those are some difficulties to consider.
  12. marley93

    marley93 Member

    Thanks Merlin I think what I'll do is get a ball python for starters because of my living situation and then later get a BD. You said it boils down to what I want....I think I want a BD for its activity and personality but can't manage it under my living conditions because of the feeding and I couldn't keep crickets in the apartment most likely without them getting out and as I said earlier "terrozing the roomates" hah! Ah yay I *think* I made up my mind and am excited to get the BP! I love snakes too. Hahah Dragoneer thats cool!

    Now....I hate asking so many questions so this will be my last ...or so I say haha! I heard you guys mention tubs do you guys think that tubs or better than glass containers? I'm leaning towards the glass containers just bc of the visual aspect. Is it safe for the snake if i get a good lock and does the humidity fog up the glass tank so that you can't see much. Thanks!

    P.S. You guys who havnt posted on here and come across this feel free to post on the first topic of this post if you want to (BD vs BP)
  13. marley93

    marley93 Member

    Hmm those are some good points...because I will be feeding thawed mice vs live mice. Do most breeders feed live so will there be a change or do some breeders feed thaw so its not a big change speaking appetites? Wow those are some big feeding issues...3 yrs!
  14. Dragoneer

    Dragoneer Well-Known Member

    Hey Marley. As far as Ball eating less in winter. I guess it depends on the snake? Mine hasn't done that. It eats all through the winter months. As far as frozen vs. live. I feed mine frozen/thawed. Twice I have given it live just for giggles. As soon as we dropped that rat in the first time it didn't take him 5 seconds to destroy it. I have video of it!! I need to find a way to post it. As far as housing, go with a glass enclosure. We use a 55 gallon aquarium that used to have fish. It works great. Just had to get a screen top and lock downs. And we use the hoods that came with the aquarium for the lights. Works and looks great. I don't have a fogging issue. Go to my profile and I have a pic on one of my albums.
  15. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I'm not sure why. I know some hatchlings start out on live, simply because hatchlings need to be feeding. I think the logic is start them eating, worry about conversion later.

    3 years was an exceptionally stubborn snake - and I did do some pretty desperate things to get him to finally take frozen. Most are not nearly so difficult.

    As far as bins Vs Tanks, it all comes down to visual preference. Bins hold heat and humidity like charm, where as glass tends to leak both constantly (owing mostly to screen lids). But either can be good if set up right. Pythons are clever escape artists, so be sure the enclosure you choose is quite safe. Once they find a way out, they won't forget.
  16. jimnash

    jimnash Member

    I am in college and I adore my two ball pythons. Granted I don't own any bearded dragons, but to me it seems that my two ball pythons have different personalities and they are awesome to let out to slither around (constantly supervised of course!) Regardless of which you choose I am sure you will not be disappointed!
  17. marley93

    marley93 Member

    Thanks everybody for the awesome responses! I'm gunna shoot another question at you guys don't mind...since I have decided I'm getting a ball python what do you guys think about rescuing? I reallly do want a baby ball because I want to watch it grow and handle it as a baby so it becomes friendly and whatnot. However, on the other side of things there are so many animals out there that are in bad enviroments or are looking for a new enviroment to escape from a bad one. However, I am a bit hesistent on a rescue seeing as this will not only be my first snake but first reptile. IN addition I want a friendly snake and do not want to get a rescue that is permantely mean. I say permantly because I know the rescue willl be scared for quite some time when coming into a new home out of a bad enviroment. Shoot away!
  18. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a rescue. There is no guarantees with a baby either. An older snake will already be showing its docileness or aggressiveness and most rescue shelters will already have had the snake vet checked for health.
  19. marley93

    marley93 Member

    Oh okay cool thanks merlin! and My final questionis.....substrate and I know it's been asked a million times and I even searched the forums but the search engine...well I'm not sure if I worked it right because i typed in best substrate for ball pythons and everything with ball pythons came up including my posts! lol im the worst tech person! so....I apologize in advance for posing a question you guys get I assume asked a lot. So for a baby ball python (If i get a baby instead of a rescue) I understand I introduce him to a 10 gallon at first. I'm going to get in the process of getting the cage ready as I want it to be perfect for the Bp. I've heard a variety of substrates from aspen to newspaper to cocunut fiber. What do you guys suggest. I want it to have more of a natural appeal for the ball python so that rules out newspaper or papertowels. I hear its good to have a substrate for the BP to burrow in but what substrate can you have since I hear having certain substrates can cause impaction. Thank you!
  20. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    When you first get the snake, keep it on newspaper. This allows you to monitor it for parasites and watch its droppings. After that I move them to aspen.
    I feed outside the cage so impaction is not a concern.

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