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What do snake mites look like? How do I get rid of them?
Snake mites are small black or reddish dots that you may see crawling around your python’s skin. Look especially around the eyes, the groove in the snake’s skin, and around the vent area. The very best way to get rid of mites is with Provent-a-Mite which can be ordered online or bought at some reptile specialty shops. Discard all wood or exceptionally pourous cage decorations and use newspaper or paper towels as substrate until the mites are gone. Soaking your snake, or products like Reptile Relief will help get rid of the visible mites, but Provent-a-Mite will kill the eggs you can’t see.
There is a dent in my snake’s eye. What should I do?
Very likely your humidity is too low. Make sure your snake has fresh water at all times, and the humidity does not stray below 50%. Adding a humid hide may benefit your snake if you simply can’t keep the average humidity level at or above 50%.
How can I tell if my snake has an RI (Respiratory Infection)?
A snake with a respiratory infection may exhibit any number of symptoms. Early on, you may notice wheezing, gurgling, or bubbly noises when it breathes. In more advanced cases you might also see mucous and bubbles coming out of the nose or building up in the mouth. Any suspicion of RI symptoms warrants a trip to the vet. Only a vet can determine for sure if your snake is sick, and untreated RI can kill.
I noticed blood near the vent after a shed! Is this normal?
This type of bleeding is not uncommon. Some snakes are “rough” on themselves during shed. Because the skin inside the vent is rather tender, sometimes tearing can occur during a shed. This is not anything to be concerned about unless the bleeding does not stop within a few hours. If the bleeding does not stop or seems severe, an immediate vet visit is warranted.
How do I remove eye caps that have remained after a shed?
The wisest course is to simply leave them alone. DO NOT USE TAPE! Some people advocate a bit of scotch tape or a Q-tip to remove them, but it is far too easy to damage the delicate eye. Most likely, the snake himself will rub them off within a few days of the shed. And if not, they will come off in the next shed. Eye caps that have remained through multiple sheds should be attended by a vet.
How often do BP’s shed?
The time between sheds generally varies anywhere from 3 weeks to 2.5 months. A variety of factors go into determining frequency, including the age of the snake, food intake and frequency, and its health. Obviously, a growing snake will shed more often than a mature one. Injuries, illness and/or severe stress can also cause “unscheduled” sheds.
Can I house two BP’s together?
It is possible to do so, yes. But it is NOT a recommended practice. Snakes are not social creatures and it is stressful for them to live together. What may appear to be ‘cuddling’ is in fact the snakes competing for the best parts of the cage. Aside from the stress factor, snakes living in the same enclosure are free to share parasites and diseases with each other. This also makes it more difficult to figure out which one is sick if you notice abnormal stool, for instance.
Is my BP a boy or girl? How can you tell?
The most accurate way to sex a ball python is to have a qualified reptile vet or experienced breeder probe it for you. “Popping” is also an accurate method if done correctly. Either of these methods can cause serious injury to the snake if done incorrectly. The size of the spurs and/or shape of the tail is not an accurate way to determine the sex.
What do WC, CH, and CB mean?
WC – Wild Caught. These are snakes who were born and lived in the wild before being caught and imported for the pet trade. CH – Captive Hatched. These are snakes hatched from eggs either laid by a female impregnated in the wild, or eggs found in the wild. CB – Captive Bred. These are snakes whose parents bred in captivity, and who were hatched and raised in captivity also.