Native to central and west Africa, ball pythons are exotic animals who can make good pets if you're properly prepared to own them. Though you may be eager to make contact with a breeder to get one of these interesting snakes, here are three questions you should answer first to ensure you're ready to own a ball python.
Have You Educated Yourself About Ball Pythons?
Snakes aren't like cats and dogs who tend to thrive even in the hardiest conditions. Ball pythons require a specific environment and a lot of care to live long, healthy lives. These animals are easily stressed and may die of starvation from refusing to eat because they can't cope with what's happening in their surroundings.
Thus, it's critical that you learn all you can about ball pythons before you get one. You need to know more than just how to clean and feed it. You must know what its ideal living environment is, what its fear triggers are, and how to recognize signs of disease.
For instance, although ball pythons eat live prey, you should always supervise when your pet is feeding. Its food will automatically fight back when threatened, and your snake's meal could maim or kill your pet when the animal starts battling for its life.
You can find a lot of information about ball pythons online. However, you should also speak to experts and other owners to ensure you fully understand what it takes to keep your snake pet healthy and alive.
Do You Have a Vet Who Treats Reptiles?
Like any other pet, ball pythons require medical care. Not only do they need regular checkups, but you should have someone inspect the snake when you first get it to ensure it doesn't have mites or parasites and is otherwise in good condition.
However, your average local vet isn't going to cut it. You need a vet who has knowledge of and experience with snakes and preferably with ball pythons. Ideally, this person should be located nearby, but anyone qualified will do as long as you can get to their office within a reasonable amount of time in case of an emergency.
In addition to securing a vet, you need to make sure you can pay for their services. Most healthy snakes only need an annual checkup, which costs anywhere from $45 to $75 per year. However, the average price tag of emergency vet care can land around $800 to $1,500 or more.
You absolutely need to have some money in savings to cover medical care for your snake. At minimum, purchase pet insurance that will pay for basic care. If you're not sure what plans are available, contact a local vet or breeder for assistance.
What's Your Personality Like?
Ball pythons are not for everyone. These snakes are very chill. When they're comfortable, they'll hang out in their hovel all day long napping and dreaming their little snake dreams. If you're looking for a pet that's more active, ball pythons definitely are not for you.
People who bore easily, are overly anxious, must constantly be entertained, or have helicopter parent tendencies are probably not a good fit for ball pythons either. These snakes do best with folks who literally want a pet that requires minimal interaction but who are still conscientious enough to take care of the snake's needs.
If you think you'll enjoy sitting around watching your pet watch you all day, then you may be okay with a ball python.
To learn more about ball pythons to help you determine if you're ready to own one or to purchase a slithery friend, contact a local breeder or pet shop that has ball pythons for sale.