Handling Ball Python

In recent years, ball pythons have become one of the most popular snake pets because they are small medium-sized snakes that are easy to handle. They are known to have a docile attitude which makes them excellent pets.

During the handling of ball pythons, they become fearful, even aggressive at times, so you should know the correct way to handle them so they do not become aggressive.

It is very important for pet owners, especially for new pet owners, to know how they can handle their newly purchased ball python properly and for that reason, we provide this article in which all about ball python handling is covered in detail so you should read it thoroughly before handling the snake.

Correct Steps to Handle a Ball Python

It can be quite dangerous for you if you accidentally handle your ball python in the wrong way, in which case it may cause you injury, in which case knowing the correct way to handle your ball python is very important for you to follow. In order to handle your ball python safely, you must follow the instructions below carefully.

Allow yourself to be scented by a ball python

If you plan to handle your newly acquired ball python, it will be important to scent yourself to them before you start handling it. This is critical because when you first get a ball python in your home, they are unfamiliar to you, so that moment they see you as a predator and bite you, they will think you are a predator. Therefore, you have to scent yourself with them to prevent harm.

To achieve this, you can go to their tank and give them their scent so that you don't hurt yourself. In this period, you should not handle your ball python at all. Repeat this process for 2 to 3 minutes daily so your ball python will be able to recognize your smell.

To handle them, find a suitable location

If the ball pythons are familiar with your smell then you can start preparing to handle them. To handle them first you should prepare to find the right location that is suitable for you to handle them.

Following are the requirements you need for your ideal location:-

  • It is best to have the location indoors, so they do not have the opportunity to escape.
  • The ball is sensitive to disturbance, so you should choose a place with low noise levels. In this way, they will become comfortable around you, which in turn will allow them to enjoy interacting with you.
  • I recommend choosing a soft surface/floor where you handle them. This can help them when they are accidentally dropped since they won't be hurt too much when they are dropped in a soft place.

Keep your hands clean by washing them thoroughly

Once you have determined the location of your ball python, you will then begin to handle your ball python. The first thing you need to do before handling your ball python is to clean your hands with soap or hand sanitizer, as it will remove potentially harmful bacteria and viruses from your hand, preventing them from transferring to your ball python.

You should approach their tanks slowly and remain in sight whenever you are picking them

Having washed your hands now it's time finally to pick your ball python up. Make sure you approach it slowly and always stay just ahead of the snake's line of sight when approaching it. Your ball python should be aware that you are opening its enclosure so you will not give them sudden movement.

From the side and middle of the body, pick them up After approaching them slowly near the tank and the next step is to pick them up

Always pick them gently from one side and then from the midbody or you can place your fingers underneath them to support them while you pick them up with two hands. One hand should be behind the head, the other behind the rest of the body. You should not reach out too quickly during this process. This will keep you calm and comfortable and help you avoid being bitten.

It is recommended that you do not pick up your ball python from its tail as this can lead to severe spinal damage in the snake.

Be sure to hold them tight and have fun with them

As soon as you get a good grasp of them when you pick them up from their tank, then you will be able to hold them and play with them and enjoy your time with them in the place that you have selected. Always ensure that you don't move too rapidly in front of your ball python in order not to scare them, and always hold them properly so that they feel secure.

The movement with them will be much more relaxing and enjoyable for you. When handling them, keep yourself calm and avoid the tendency to move rapidly.

Place them safely back in their enclosure after handling

As soon as they have played and enjoyed handling them it is time to safely put them back in their cage by gently and calmly placing them on the substrate floor of their habitat once they have completed these activities.

Finally, rewash your hands thoroughly

As soon as you have returned them to their habitat, you should again clean your hand thoroughly with soap and water. Doing this will keep you from getting infected by the salmonella that snakes carry, as well as prevent you from being infected by other bacteria.

When should I avoid handling my ball python?

If you are going to handle your ball python regularly, you should know there will be times when you should leave it alone, as your ball python does not communicate with you by talking, rather below are some signs that you should understand, so you shouldn't handle the ball python during these times.

There are a few situations in which you should not handle your ball python, which is as follows.

When bringing them to their new home

If you are bringing a ball python into your home for the first time, do not handle it as it may cause stress on them if you handle them because they are new in their environment. As they need time to adjust to their new surroundings, they will become threatened by you if you handle them too quickly. You might also get bitten if you handle them too quickly.

I recommend leaving your ball python alone for a few days after bringing it home. Then, after they settle, you can handle them.

During the period of shedding

If your ball python is in the process of shedding then you should keep them out of your hands during this time because they spend a lot of time alone in the hides. You should only give them water and meals during this time and leave them alone on their own.

As shedding is stressful for them if you handle them during this time, they become doubly stressed, so you shouldn't handle them until after shedding has ended.

When they have just been fed, do not handle them

If a ball python eats a meal and you handle it frequently, it may cause stress for them. They might vomit up their meals as they cannot digest their food properly, and they may also get discomfort or damage to their insides.

You must wait for 3 to 4 days after feeding your ball pythons before you handle them since they need at least 48 to 72 hours after eating food to digest it properly without any stress.

During times of Stress

When your ball python becomes stressed, they become defensive and agitated, so that is when it is advised you should not handle them in that situation because if you handle them in that situation, they will bite you or they may develop stress-related issues.

A stress ball python may show some signs of stress such as not eating, hiding too much, or being active at all times during the day.

In addition, some other situations when you should avoid handling your ball python are when your ball pythons are pregnant, when they are sick or injured, or when they are on hunger strike.