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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Issues with humidity for ball python

I just got a ball python recently and have been doing a lot of research (still have tons more to do though). Apparently she had been at the pet store longer than they normally are (the gal was so right about her being a sweetheart so I have no idea why no one wanted her). At the moment she's in a 10 gal aquarium but I'm working on getting either a 20 long or a 40 gal breeder asap so she can have ample room. She's pretty content right now and likes being held but I'm working on getting everything perfect for her.

My problem right now though is keeping the humidity up. I've got a waterbowl for her to soak in and a spray bottle...it's working decently but I worry about how quickly it dries out in there. Any ideas on how to keep the humidity up?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 02:21 PM
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what type of bedding do you use ? certain ones keep the humidity more then others.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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I got the aspen bedding that they use at the store because the girl said it works well for keeping humidity..now I'm questioning if that's correct.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 03:17 PM
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What kind of cover do you have for the tank? A glass cover (or even just saran wrap covering most of a screen top) works better than a screen for trapping humidity. Or ditch the glass tank and go for a plastic container (like a large shoe box).

I use a glass aquarium (and I regret not getting a better enclosure, honestly). I have managed to keep the humidity in the proper range but it requires daily misting in some parts of the year. Definitely see if you can get a better cover, at least .

Some beddings do hold humidity better but I just use paper towels. Easy clean-up and no worries about accidental ingestion. Some people feed their snakes in a different enclosure but I don't believe that's the best thing to do with ball pythons. They're already finicky enough with food .




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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 05:04 PM
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^^^ I have one of these for my hermit crabs, and I have to say, it works REALLY well once you get used to it. A good misting can keep their cage in the 70%s for a couple days. Having a plexiglass lid would help, and you can get some really nice custom cages that hold in humidity and heat amazingly well. I've come to hate aquariums too LOL, and getting a nice vivarium is definately worth the extra money. I know some sites that have nice snake cages for < $200 if you want, or check Craigslist.



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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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I've got a screen lid but about a third of the tank also has a piece of plexiglass covering the top..I'm thinking I need more than that. Would a piece that covers the whole top with air holes be a good idea or is that stupid?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 08:23 PM
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For my hermits, I have a piece of plexiglass that covers the whole top except for a 1/2" gap in the front. That sounds like it would be a good idea to me.



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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 10:21 PM
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The humidity should be low....ball pythons live in a fairly xeric habitat, only retreating to higher-humidity areas during the heat of the day. What you should have is a humid hide. Take a small, opaque rubbermaid-type container, cut a hole in the side that allows for reasonable passage by the snake (but not too large), and 1/3-1/2 fill the interior of the container with a reasonably hydrophilic bedding, such as whole sphagnum moss, which can be sprayed every couple of days to keep humid....a much more healthy and natural option that trying to keep the entire enclosure at a raised humidity level.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-24-2011, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input
I'll talk with my room mate about it (he's been helping me with figuring out the best plans and also modifications on all the tanks I have in the apartment). Would I be able to get sphagnum moss at the pet stores?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-24-2011, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilidawn View Post
Thanks for the input
I'll talk with my room mate about it (he's been helping me with figuring out the best plans and also modifications on all the tanks I have in the apartment). Would I be able to get sphagnum moss at the pet stores?
Try a garden and plant shop (such as a larger green house type)...although pet shops do stock sphagnum in smaller containers, it is usually pretty expensive, whereas a fairly large bag can be had from the garden shops for about the same amount of money.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-02-2011, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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I found that wetting a towel and putting in on top of part of the screen lid is doing wonders for humidity! I think she's also getting ready to shed so I'm working hard to make sure it stays at a good level.

Oh and just as an update I was able to get a 40 gal breeder so she's getting a nice big home as soon as it's all clean
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-02-2011, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
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I found that wetting a towel and putting in on top of part of the screen lid is doing wonders for humidity! I think she's also getting ready to shed so I'm working hard to make sure it stays at a good level.
I'm sorry, but you appear to have missed my original point....it is not healthy for the snake to have a higher ambient humidity...their habitat is mainly xeric, with humid areas....too much ambient humidity can lead to RIs, water blisters, and bacterial infections.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 05:15 PM
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Gotta disagree with some of that, sorry. Ambient humidity should be 60%, and low ambient humidity leads to chronic dehydration (which causes bad sheds, among other things).

Humidity should be high, but wetness should be avoided--the bedding should be dry. I've heard of humid hides working, but you should be cautious...allowing the snake to sit around in damp moss is likely to result in skin infections.

RIs are more likely to be caused by excessive dryness than excessive humidity, as low humidity will stress the respiratory system. There's a myth going around that humidity should be lowered if a snake gets an RI, but it is false--good hydration helps thin mucous secretions, allowing the snake to expel the mucous more easily. People mistake seeing less mucous for an improvement.

In the wild, ball pythons spend most of their time, including the entire day, in rodent burrows and termite mounds, where ambient humidity is much higher. The environment in a termite mound includes temperatures within a few degrees of 88F, and a humidity up around 98%, with no dampness. The termites control their climate very carefully.
It is likely no coincidence that these are the conditions in which ball python eggs incubate best.

Probably the best substrate to use for ball pythons is Cypress mulch. I successfully keep mine on aspen, but keep the cool side dampened around the water bowl. This requires replacing the aspen there frequently, as it will mold. (I haven't yet found a source for finely ground cypress mulch, locally). It's a bit of a challenge--in the winter, conditions sometimes get too dry, resulting in the occasional bad shed. Even in the summer when humidity is highest, I never see skin infections, and RIs have only occurred when snakes were exposed to temperatures that were too low, and the air was too dry.

If your snake isn't shedding in one piece, it is dehydrated, and the humidity is too low. You should keep your humidity at the minimum level required for your snake to shed cleanly in one piece.

Ball pythons are hardy animals, and some of them can take dry conditions better than others, but they really do better when the humidity is up where it should be.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2013, 01:07 AM
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For our glass aquarium on our blood python we just taped off half of the screen top and then put a towel over the top of it. Then we just position the towel to where the humidity is good. Bloods also require higher temperatures than ball pythons do, so this may be why we don't have a problem getting good humidity in our tank.
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