You’re one of the unlucky ones.
Most owners will never need to know how to tame an aggressive ball python.
They are generally calm and docile snakes that are easy to care for. But each individual snake has it’s own personality and temperament.
And since you’re here, I’m guessing you have a more aggressive ball python on your hands.
Luckily, you can change that. Taming a ball python is fairly simple, but it does take time.
You only have to follow the 10 easy steps below, but many of the steps take a week or more. It is a slow process that basically boils down to getting your snake used to, and then comfortable with, your presence.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- 1 Tame Your Ball Python In 9 Easy Steps
- 2 Taming A Ball Python: The Key Is Trust
- 3 Tame An Aggressive Ball Python: Final Thoughts
Tame Your Ball Python In 9 Easy Steps
If you’ve ended up with one of the more aggressive types 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 the norm is. Here are some steps to take to tame your aggressive ball python.
1. Learn About Your Snake
Ideally, you should learn all you can about Ball Pythons before you bring one home. Since yours is already home, make up for lost time. Study up.
You’ll learn that they become more aggressive during certain stages in their life. Females, for instance, are more aggressive when protecting the eggs they have laid.
2. The Right Home
To tame a ball python, provide the reptile with an appropriate habitat. There should be enough room for your snake to move around.
This article helps you find and setup the best enclosure. Make sure the temperature in the enclosure is correct – about 90° under a heat lamp and about 78° at the other end of the terrarium.
3. Alone Time
Leave your snake alone for the first week after bringing it home. When snakes arrive in a new environment, they need time to acclimatize to their environment. Leave the snake in its enclosure to adjust to its new home. After a week is up you can start to interact with your snake.
If the week is up and it 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 Ball 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.
4. Smell You Later
Continuing on from the last step, snakes recognize things by smell. Try holding your hand in front of your snake’s head, so it can get used to you and be comfortable around your scent. Your snake needs to get comfortable around your scent, before you can handle it.
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. 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.
6. I Wanna Hold Your Hand
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 only your hands now. Set the snake back down. Repeat this many times over the course of a week.
7. Touch Me Gently
During this week, start to touch your snake gently and perhaps even move it around inside the cage, getting him totally used to you. Your hand is more threatening than the hook, because it can sense the heat of a living being.
Once it has gotten used to you touching it inside the cage, the next step is to bring your snake out of the cage.
Pick up your snake and place it outside the cage. Handle it 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.
9. Spending Quality Time Together
Allow your snake onto your lap while you’re just relaxing, reading a book or something. 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.
Taming A Ball Python: The Key Is Trust
It’s not always easy for a snake to trust you and it’s easier to tame captive bred snakes than wild ones.
The Ball Python is a non-venomous snake. It has teeth or fangs just like the venomous variety have, but it has no toxin and it isn’t considered an aggressive snake. Non-venomous snakes like these are commonly kept as pets.
They are usually docile. Having said that, every individual 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 pet into a calm one.
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 imperative to understand the nature of the snake you have as a pet. Read up on caring for Ball Pythons here.
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.
Aggressive snakes can be tamed and you can even change previous behavior. But it does take some time.
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 for your pet.
Taming a snake is possible. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes difficult. Taming a snake takes time and patience. In fact patience and time is of the essence. But don’t expect your snake to learn tricks like a dog.
Snakes Can’t Be Trained Like Dogs
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 is more likely to bite.
Eliminating Feed-Response Bites
People also get bitten 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 feed-response bites.
Taming Hatchlings Is A Breeze
The temperaments of hatchlings and taming them is a whole new ball game compared to taming an adult from the wild. 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. Of course, you can’t predict the temperament of any individual snake. And when a snake is agitated, it can be difficult to calm it down, no matter how docile it usually is.
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.
A Starting Point – The Right Environment
The easiest way to start is by getting your snake’s environment conducive to being tame and calm in the first place – a nicely done up terrarium, controlled heating and humidity, water bowls, a hide box and appropriate food.
Tame An Aggressive Ball Python: Final Thoughts
As stated, most ball pythons are docile and easy to handle and they make excellent pets. But some can be aggressive and will strike at and bite their owners. Wild-caught snakes in particular, can be feisty.
Whatever the reasons for their aggressive behavior, there are things that can be cone to correct this behavior. With patience and persistence, you can tame your aggressive ball python.
True, your Ball Python isn’t going to ever be an affectionate pet, but it can be calm, comfortable and content – and that’s reward enough with this amazing snake pet of yours.