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Expert Herps ...

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

  1. marley93

    marley93 Member

    Oh okay cool good advice merlin! Now I have heard various amount of things of feeding the snake outside the cage and how thats better so you have a lower risk of biting ...snake recognizing your hand as food but my question is I have heard arguments against that saying ball pythons are too shy of snakes to do that and that will effect their eating. What do you suggest? You obviously or I am assuming have had no issues with that?
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The belief that feeding outside the tank will prevent a bite is based on the situation where people get a snake and basically the only time that they open the cage is to feed. The snake keys on the cage opening as meaning food is coming. This can be prevented by regular handling

    Ball pythons can be picky feeders. That is another advantage of the bare floor while the snake is settling in. You can feed in the tank. After a few feedings and you and the snake have settled in then you can add substrate and feed outside of the tank.
  3. agama3000

    agama3000 Elite Member

    there both pretty good choices but i would go with the bearded dragon because they are easier to take care of and much funner
  4. skelegirl

    skelegirl Member

    Just wanted to add another praise for rescue. Right now in our herp society we have about a dozen BPs that need new homes.

    As far as switching to f/t, a good way to avoid that headache is making sure to get a snake that already eats f/t. Some snakes are easy to switch over, while others can be ridiculously stubborn.

    And yes, they do sometimes go off food. I've got one right now that's on day 313 of not eating. I've been monitoring his weight...he's definitely lost weight, but he was a total fatty when he went off his food. And he still looks and acts like a normal, healthy adult BP. So don't let it distress you if your BP decides to refuse a few meals. 313 days is certainly not common, but it's also not unheard of.

    As far as the enclosure, I think you would be much happier with a glass tank. Most people who keep their snakes in tubs do so because they have a lot of snakes, and it's a great way to save space. I used to keep mine in Vision cages, but they were just too big for the snakes @ the time, and took up way too much room. I currently have them all in large tubs that are about 36"x18"x8", until I can upgrade them to AP-style (PVC) cages. They are expensive as heck, but are fantastic for holding heat and humidity, and are lightweight and (mostly) escape-proof. The tubs are convenient, but I hate that I can't really see them...which is why I think you would get more satisfaction out of a glass tank. I agree w/ Merlin, though: make sure it has a tight-fitting, secure lid. These guys are definitely escape artists. :)
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Rescue is a great way to go.

    As for substrate - for the first few weeks, to watch for pests, monitor digestion, etc, you've already been recommended paper towels or newspaper. After that, you can use almost anything, though avoid at all costs pine and cedar - they may smell pretty, but are somewhat toxic to herps. I have house BP s on eco-earth (coconut husk, also marketed as Bed-a-beast) Another option is indoor/outdoor carpet or cage carpet.

    Another thing to consider is possibly building your own cage - it can save you a TON of money, and you can make it look EXACTLY how you want. There are a number of threads in the construction forum on cage building, technique, style, and even one I did on doing it on a budget. A trip to your hardware store, a little creativity, and you can make some darned nice cages. This would give you the best of having a visually appealing cage, while also constructing it specifically to be python proof, and maintain heat and humid the way you want them.
  6. herps4life

    herps4life Elite Member

    as far as switching to f/t. a good method to try, that i have had some success with. is feeding two small meals at a time. ie... two pinkies, instead of 1 fuzzie. i would give one live and let my mexican king eat it and as soon as he was finished swallowing and he had started moving around again i would offer the other one. but it would be prekilled of thawed. and his feeding response was still in overdrive and he would take them as well. it took a while for him to take the thawed first but eventually he gave in. in total it took about 5 monthes. two of witch he refused to eat at all. Small ball pythons can alsobe very picky eaters. this is usually due to stress. i would recommend that you give your new snake a week to ten days to get acclimated to its new surroundings. I know this seems like a long time and im sure some people may say thatit is not necessary to acclimate it that long. 10 days without handeling and or feeding, will not do any harm to the snake. and he will benefit from the rest. It is through my experience with ball pythons.( only about 2 years or so) that i say this. with my personal snakes i usually give them about 8-10 days to acclimate and their feeding response has been excelent compared to some of the snakes that i used to care for at a pet store. due to the frequent handling and moving around. they would hardly ever eat unless they were assisted. although i know there are just stubborn snakes that just refuse to eat for monthes. I would advise you to choose your snake carefully and try to find out how often the snake has been offered foor, and how often the snake has taken the food. what the size of the item being offered...

    Enjoy your new addition they are great snakes to work with and are very rewarding. for me at least.hope i didnt scare you, just thought you should be aware. i know a few people said somthing about picky eaters but acclimation is a very key element to husbandry and can often be overlooked
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Not true. Bearded dragons are a lot more work and expense to care for than a ball python!
  8. teach920

    teach920 Subscribed User Premium Member

    I second that completely.....while there is no doubt (in my mind at least) that Beardies are have more of a personality, and therefore can be considering "more fun"....when I read the "easier to care for", I couldn't help but stop and chuckle....(this might of course been because I just sat down after my morning ritual of chopping/grating squash, and mixing it with some greens for my own Beardies daily morning salad...and I have yet to head out to my Dubia colony to take care of those and pick out some I will be transferring to my feeder container for the Beardies Afternoon "live feeding"..) again, are they "more fun"..yes, they sure can be...but "easier".....well, I certainly wouldn't go that far by a LONG shot ;)

  9. marley93

    marley93 Member

    Wow! I am so impressed with this forum! I am a member on another reptile forum and I never have gotten such quick and helpful replies before. I am officially converting! hahah! Thank you guys so much for your awesome posts! I will be bookmarking my post for further reference when I actually get my BP.... hopefully soon! Thanks again everyone!!
  10. I realize this post is already a couple weeks old, but I just wanted to toss in a couple tips.

    I'd start with a 10 gallon tank if you get a baby. Definitely make sure to get a heat pad and a thermostat rather than a heat bulb of any type. Heat bulbs will dry out a tank and make humidity even harder to maintain. Don't cut corners by not getting the thermostat though! You can find some relatively inexpensive ones but they're not digital, so I'd also recommend getting a digital thermometer (with a probe) so you can get a visual reading on your temperature. Even better if you get a thermometer with a hygrometer built in. Walmart sells one called an Acurite that works just fine for snakes even though it's not advertised as such.

    I'd strongly recommend covering three sides of the tank with either a commercial tank background or some sort of paper so that only the front of the tank is clear. This will help your snake to feel more secure. Having hides are also very important - make sure that the hides will make your snake feel secure. Those half-log things most pet stores sell really aren't ideal because they're too open and roomy. Smaller is better - if the hide can hug the sides of the snake when he's balled up, it's perfect.

    I'd also vote for using newspaper or paper towel as a substrate to start with so you can monitor the urates and feces and to make feeding in the tank easy and stress free. Later if you switch to aspen or any other type of loose substrate, you can either feed outside of the enclosure (if the snake doesn't mind being moved... some don't like the stress and won't eat if they've been moved) or if you're feeding frozen/thawed or pre-killed, you can put down a paper plate or something on top of the bedding and let the snake eat on it.

    Definitely let your snake settle in when you first get it for about a week before trying to offer food. If your snake refuses, don't keep pestering him with more feeding attempts. It'll only stress him out more and make him not want to eat.

    Good luck and congrats on your decision. Ball pythons are really cool pets.
  11. Snakes Inc.

    Snakes Inc. Member

    So Marley what happed? Was it a ball python or a bearded dragon?
  12. jeepguy

    jeepguy Elite Member

    Are you going to be taking care of this animal the whole time? It sounds like you are leaving it at your parents house. Between the both of them if you are not going to be sole provider I would say wait. If you really want something I would say look more into colubrids. They eat much easier and are way less work than a dragon.
  13. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The original poster has not been back since Nov 2009
  14. Snakes Inc.

    Snakes Inc. Member

    Yeah I can see it was an old post so I was wondering what happened? :)

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