Ball python question - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Question Ball python question

Hi, I am new to this forum so please be patient. I have a ball python, named Spot, I have had him about 1-1/2 years and got him when he was a baby (could just barely get round my neck ) He has grown very nicely and is probably about 3-1/2 feet now. The only time he is finicky with eating is in the winter he cuts down from 2-4 mice a feeding to 1-2 every two weeks. Strangely, I monitor the temp of this cage very closely and it stays pretty consistant all year, maybe it is just the day light that makes him hungrier (he does have a timed light, can't remember but I set it for what they tell you to). Sorry trying to cover everything I can think of.

I have a few questions.

1. I live on the east side of Cleveland and was wondering if there is any easy way to find a good "snake doctor" in the area.

2. The reason for my concern is two fold. First Since I have had my snake he has only shed his skin in one peice one time. I have tried everything I can think of to get it to come off in one peice. Increasing the humidity, soaking him 2 or three times before he sheds, soaking him the night before he sheds. He cage has been down right wet (had a bit of a leek in this water), dry, and everywhere in between.

3. My other concern is I was playing with him the other day and I noticed the tips of a few (maybe 10) scales around his neck were an orangy-red. And two scales on his belly were "dry" (they could have been missed sheds that I didn't notice but they don't look like it, I usually go over him pretty good once he sheds and soak anything he didn't get off) (we just recently moved and his lights/heaters aren't hung the way they should be so he may have gotten to close to them but he would have had to really try at it)

He is a wonderfully patient sweet snake that lets me do just about anything to him without getting upset. He is also very curious and confident and loves to look around the house when I take him out (and watch him very carefully). He has always been a good eater and is very active in his cage at night, or once I take him out (and he has a chance to wake up)

So in short:
1. Any Vet suggestions in the east Cleveland area?
2. Should I be terribly concerned about his bad shedding behaviors
3. Any ideas what the scales may be?

Thank you very much,
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 09:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Spot, your ball sounds like a lover. And it sounds like you are a responsible owner. I don't know much about balls, but I will try to help you as much as I can.

First, here is a link to our vet reference page

Hopefully you will be able to find a good vet with the help of some of those links.

Second, it sounds like you know what you are doing to help your ball shed. Humidity is key. Other suggestions might be to add a rough rock to his enclosure to help him scrape off his skin. You could also make a humidity box, a hide box with damp paper towels in it.

I don't know about the red scales. They may just be different colored scales as he grows. I believe that balls can have red, yellow, tan and brown scales.

I hope that this information helps. We would love to see pictures of your snake and hope to see you around more often as well. Thanks for stopping by.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-15-2004, 11:27 PM
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Herp Vet Connection should have some listings of vets that will see your python. Besides that, just pick up a phone book and start calling vets. One is bound to point you in the right direction.

It is completely normal for ball pythons to change feeding schedules during the winter. Almost all of them do it, its no big deal as long as he isn't losing weight. You might want to consider going up to small rats though - little larger of a food item, so you don't have to feed multiple. There are many places that sell frozen ones if you do a quick Google search. Myself, I use Big Cheese Rodent Factory and have been very happy with them.

Chronic bad sheds are generally not entirely harmful, as long as all the skin does eventually come off, especially the tail tip and the caps over the eyes. Chronic bad sheds can be caused by any number of factors, but obviously it stems around dehydration - not just externally, but internally as well. Anyway, it can also be caused by the kind of substrate you keep him on, stuff like coconut bedding can be very drying and is really not suited for pythons - I just use carpeting or newspaper. The size of the water bowl should be big enough for him to get into and submerge his whole body. Placing a dark tupperware container with damp sphagnum moss in it in the cage as soon as you notice his eyes go milky may help (though with my ball pythons they generally just want to be left alone and rarely move when in shed).

Reddish coloring to the scales -can- be a sign of a bacterial infection that is commonly referred to as scale rot, but I wouldn't jump to that conclusion if it was only a couple of scales. I'd just keep an eye on the areas for any change or if it seems to spread to any nearby scales. Ball pythons can have various scalations, its impossible to make any presumptions without seeing it.


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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-16-2004, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for your replies. The links to vets will be very helpful!

I feel a little better about the redish scales, one good thing is they don't look inflamed or irritated in any way. I will find a vet and take him in hopefully this week. He has a little "pond" that I catch him soaking in and drininking out of regularly so I guess I have that part coverer. I do like the idea of the moss though I will try that next time.

I just fed him last night and he ate two nice sized mice and was looking for more, I have one on hold that I will give him tonight (he definately appreciates being fed at night rather than during the day, he is like my sister in the morning very slow!) I wish I would have had a camera last night though he caught his first mouse by the tail! Very funny looking.

I also feel better about the sheds, though I will bring it up to the vet to see if he has any suggestions. He has rocks and branches to scratch on and uses them during the shed, and what ever is left over comes off with a damp towel, usually with him just squeezing through it.

I will try to get some pictures next time (he is really cute!)

Thanks again for your advice and links!
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