Steps to Tame your Ball Python
If you’re one of those people who have landed up with one of the more aggressive type of Ball Python snakes, you’ll want to know what steps to take to calm it down and tame it and ultimately bring it more in line with what the norm is.
◆ Learn all you can about Ball Pythons before you bring one home. You’ll learn that they become more aggressive during certain stages in their life. Females for instance are more aggressive when protecting the eggs she has laid.
◆To tame a ball python, provide the reptile with an appropriate habitat. There should be enough room for your snake to move around in. Make sure the temperature in the enclosure is correct – about 90° under a heat lamp and about 78° at the other end.
◆Leave your snake alone for the first week after bringing him home. When snakes arrive in a new environment, they need time to acclimatize to their environment. Leave the snake in his enclosure to adjust to his new home. After a week is up you can start to interact with your snake.
◆If the week is up and he is still showing signs of aggression, wait 4 or 5 days before trying again. Time is the all important keyword.
◆Give your snake more time to get used to you, regardless of whether you have a baby Boa Python or an adult displaying aggressive behavior. Just sit outside the enclosure for half an hour each day and allow your snake to get used to your smell.
◆Snakes recognize things by smell, You can hold your hand in front of your snake’s head. This is so it can get used to you and be comfortable around your scent. Snakes recognize things by smell, so your snake needs to get comfortable around your scent.
If your snake does become aggressive and goes into striking mode, slowly move your hand away. Remember if you are worried about a bite, you can wear special reptile gloves. You can try these ‘smell’ techniques for a week.
◆In the next week, move items around in the cage without touching your snake. This will ensure your pet that you are harmless. Do this for about a week.
◆The next step is to handle your snake. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your reptile pet. This prevents the possibility of introducing germs and bacteria to your pet’s habitat.
◆Use a proper snake hook when handling an aggressive ball python for the first time, but also for subsequent handling.
◆Open the cage, sliding the hook under the snake at the mid-body part. Lift the snake so that the head is pointing away from you. Slide your hand gently under the mid-body area where the hook is. You can then set the hook aside, using your hands now.
◆In this week start to touch your snake gently and perhaps even move it around inside the cage, getting him totally used to you. The next step is to bring your snake outside his cage.
◆Handle your snake in a consistent, confident manner. Handle a few times a week for anything between 10 to 30 minutes. Shorter handling sessions are better at first. Always move slowly and smoothly, and eventually your snake will get used to being handled. Be patient, persistent and gentle and your aggressive snake will start calming down and be more comfortable around you. Always support his entire body weight so there is no strain on the body. Allow him to crawl between your hands.
◆You can allow your snake onto your lap while you’re relaxing such as reading a book. This way it becomes used to you. You can allow it to slither around you for about half an hour before returning it to its enclosure.
Understand the Needs of your Captive Snake
Snakes generally are defensive creatures, not aggressive. They strike out and bite when they feel threatened. When it comes to taming a snake with aggressive tendencies, each species has a different personality and each has its own dietary and temperature needs. It is why it is so imperative to understand the nature of the snake you want to keep as a pet.
In captivity, when a snake becomes comfortable with you, and you are meeting its needs, it becomes docile, but like with everything, there are exceptions.
Ball Pythons can become tame, and will allow you to hold them. Some Ball Pythons have learned to be aggressive just because they haven’t been treated correctly. Others just possess a more inherently aggressive temperament than most Ball Pythons.
Trust – Key to Taming a Snake
It’s not always easy for a snake to trust you and it’s easier to tame captive bred snakes to wild ones.
The Ball Python is a non-venomous snake. It isn’t a snake listed as being aggressive. It has teeth or fangs just like the venomous variety have. Non-venomous snakes like these are commonly kept as pets.
They are usually docile, although having said that, every snake has a different temperament. Snakes like the Ball Python make great pets for those who learn how to properly care for them.
For snakes not to be aggressive, they want the right temperature, the right humidity, the right ventilation and the right food schedule. Proper husbandry is key to turning an aggressive asp into a calm one.
Aggressive snakes can be tamed and you can even change previous behavior.
How Long does it Take to Tame your Ball Python?
There is no definite answer to how long it takes to tame a Ball Python. Stats are varied and some people say a few weeks, a few months or even never. When you do research, you find that some people report taking 6 months to tame their Ball Python.
Taming a Ball Python is going to take time, but your best bet is to start by handling your snake for short sessions a few times every week.
During the handling sessions you want to be sure to make it a positive experience.
Taming a snake is possible – sometimes easy and sometimes difficult. Taming a snake takes time and patience. In fact patience and time is of the essence.
Snakes can’t be Trained like a Dog is Trained
It’s no use being impatient with your snake. Snakes are totally different to dogs when it comes to training them, and they require different training strategies. You simply have to spend time with your snake if you want to tame it.
Many ball python owners will tell you how gentle, calm and docile their snakes are, and then you’ll get someone who says they have an extremely aggressive ball python. They are however, generally gentle serpents and they don’t typically strike out at their owners, wanting to bite them.
However even a worm can turn, and a snake that is startled, provoked, very hungry or is shedding can be more likely to bite.
Eliminating Feed-Response Bites
People get bitten also because the snake is reacting to feeding. Hook-training conditions your snake. When you open the snake’s enclosure, use the hook to tap your snake a few times on its head. Tapping your snake warns it that you’re there. The hook is cold and doesn’t emit heat so the snake knows it isn’t a threat and you eliminate fee-response bites.
Taming Hatchlings is a Breeze
The temperaments of hatchlings and taming them is a whole new ball game as compared to taming an adult from the wilds. Hatchlings will often defecate in your hand, but after a few month they no longer do this.
When it comes to socializing your snake and developing its temperament, conditioning is important. True, you can’t predict the temperament of any individual snake, and when a snake is agitated, it can be difficult to calm it down.
Keeping snakes cool and calm during handling sessions starts with making sure that they are stress-free in their cages. When handling your Ball Python, always do so in a quiet room without other people thronging about. Noises and sudden movements can frighten a snake and put it into fight mode.
You’re not going to change your snake’s personality overnight – it can take months.
A Starting Point – The Right Environment
Simply start by getting his environment conducive to being tame and calm in the first place – a nicely done up enclosure, controlled heating and humidity, water bowls, a hide box and appropriate food.
As already stated, most ball pythons are docile and easy to handle. Some can be aggressive and will strike at and often bite their owners. Wild-caught snakes in particular, can be feisty. Whatever the reasons for their aggressive behaviour, there are things that can be cone to correct this behavior, but always with patience and persistence.
True, your Ball Python isn’t going to ever be an affectionate pet, but he can be calm, comfortable and content – and that’s reward enough with this amazing snake pet of yours.