Ball Python

Snakes exotic to South Africa commonly known as non-venomous.

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Ball Python

Postby Kobus » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:01 pm

I can not find anything on a BP in the forums and therefore I am not sure whether this post should be here or with the Pythons.
I intend my next pet snake to be a BP.

As far as I can research, a BP is an exotic reptile.
This means that one can keep it in captivity without a permit in SA. Is this correct? My question is.

Again as far as I can research is a BP indigenous to Sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa is a Sub-Saharan African country.

Why would a BP then be Exotic?

I have read a number of care sheets, and everything seems to be similar to the Corn snake with regards to Temperatures, Housing and Habitat.
In other words Housing with 2 hides, 1 on the cold side and 1 on the hot side. UTH mat connected to a thermostat. a large water dish. I prefer newspaper as a substrate, because it is convenient to clean.

I suppose because of its girth it might be able to take an adult rat or 3 or 4 adult mice when fully grown.

Could you give me some advice on this?
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Kobus
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Re: Ball Python

Postby Cyberduke » Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:33 pm

Hi

I am by no means an expert but here are my 2 cents.

Firstly there is a "Boas and Pythons" section under the section labeled "Reptiles exotic to sSouth Africa" but I see there are some phyton and Boa related posts in here so I suppose you're okay.

Nice choice choosing a ball phyton as your next snake, they are truly awesome snakes and even people that are afraid of snakes seem to find a liking in them. So you can use that often to show people how awesome snakes are. They are extremely docile in nature which makes them tend to prefer life feeding but a lot of people are achieving success in feeding f/t.

The Ball python comes from west Africa(mainly Togo,Ghana and Benin) which makes it exotic to South Africa. If you look at that area on an atlas you'll see a vertical forest in that area(or just south of those countries), they tend to not move past that area in the nature. This obviously makes the ball phyton Exotic to South Africa.

If your profile is correct that you reside in Pretoria(Gauteng province) then you would not need a permit for any snake that is not indigenous to South Africa. Every province has its own laws regarding this and as far as I know the cape provinces require a permit for all snake species and the more northern provinces only for indigenous ones. KZN are more lenient. If someone can confirm this it would be good, like I said, I am by no means an expert. This information might also be out of date.

Lastly what the general husbandry concerns you are correct. There are loads of articles on the internet but you had the basics covered. Set the hot spot to about 32 Degrees using a thermostat. If you are not interested in breeding some keepers will say that you do not need to do anything to the ambient temperature since we don't live in extremely cold climates. I tend to agree that if you're just having a pet Ball Python then give it a hotspot of around 32 degrees and you'll be sorted. It really is important to use a thermostat, heatpads get too warm and can/will harm your snake if you don't control the temperature.

I use these thermostats http://www.communica.co.za/Catalog/Details/P0402544492 They are in my opinion very good value for money, You can set the temperatures,Hysteresis, Fail safes and other basic settings but if you want more bells and whistles you can shop around but you'll pay more.

What food concerns, is that you want to aim to feed it something that is about as wide as the widest part of its body or around 10%-15% of its body weight when growing. Adults are different in the sense that they might need less food since they aren't growing anymore. But most people just "wing" it in my experience. I have already said that it might prefer life over Frozen but in Pretoria there should be more than enough sources for life.

if you have any more questions feel free to ask.
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Re: Ball Python

Postby Kobus » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:38 pm

Good Day Cyberduke,

Thank you for the very detailed reply.

I agree with your reply on the permits, because it is the same info which I can find. yes I am from Pretoria. I do not intend to breed. At the moment I have 3 snakes and it is somewhat still a learning process.

Food is difficult in our area. Pre-killed and Frozen and Thawed is difficult to get as well and sometimes you pay the same as for live mice or rats and therefore it could get expensive due to the quantities in a bag. If I buy live it cost me between R 12.00 and R 16.00 per unit. (+- R 100.00 per week). My current snakes are used eating live and I have decided to breed my own feeder mice. I currently have 1 adult male and 1 female female. The female already gave 6 babies which are now fuzzies.(eyes still closed.) My second female is not old enough yet. I am still going to give her another week or two before I will breed with her.

My snakes also love rats. When I get a BP i will have to start breeding rats, because mice is not large enough for a BP I think.

Just 1 question. I have read that sometimes BP's are going off feeding. Currently I am stressing if my snakes do not eat. (when they want to shed). What do one do with a BP who does not want to eat or does it depend where one purchase them.

Regards
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Re: Ball Python

Postby Kobus » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:52 pm

Cyberduke,

I forgot to comment on the Thermo. I had a look at the link.

How does it work.can you set the minimum and maximum temps. I do not know much about these things, but I am sure the manual will explain how to do it.
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Re: Ball Python

Postby Cyberduke » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:27 pm

What snakes do you currently have? Should give me an idea about the experience you have.

I have lived in various parts of the country, I am currently in Johannesburg and trust me, when we in the city say that food is difficult, it actually is very easy compared to some parts of the country. But it still is hard, I paid R25 for a small rat on Friday... :( When I still had many snakes I used to breed my own rats and mice as well. It is just simpler and cheaper. Breeding them is rather simple, just keep about 5 females and 1 male per cage and you're in business. There is a bit more to it but that should get you started.

And yes feeding rats to a Ball Python is recommended for increased nutrition and size obviously.

Ahh such a classic question that we all had issues with, I will try to type a decent reply but there is a nice source about that that I will look for when I am done here.
So yes, Ball Phytons can typically be a little more tricky than let's say a Corn Snake. Typically once a Ball Phyton is well started it will eat to about 600g and then might go on a hunger strike for a while. There are loads of other reasons why a BP would go on strike including shedding) This is no issue for concern, I know that feeling of "Lets see if it will eat tomorrow" But the truth is that except if it's a baby snake that has never ate, its not a good idea to offer it too many times(Or try any tricks like assist feeding), that might stress the snake out. If you ever reach such a point where it goes on a strike, then just offer it food once a week, and it should go back to feeding. Males like to go on strike during breeding season.

I heard from someone(I heard of someone might not be a good enough source for you but it was from a reputable source) who had a 1kg Ball python and she went off Food for a year and then only lost 100g during that period. This just proves that you really do not need to worry. The truth is that your Ball Phyton will really probably go off food sometime during his/her life but as long as the snake looks okay(The word "okay" is used very loosely here, let me rather say healthy) Then you really have nothing to worry about. Just monitor the snake and continue to offer food once a week.
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Re: Ball Python

Postby Cyberduke » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:52 pm

Kobus wrote:Cyberduke,

I forgot to comment on the Thermo. I had a look at the link.

How does it work.can you set the minimum and maximum temps. I do not know much about these things, but I am sure the manual will explain how to do it.


Somehow the system logged me out, typing this second time now...

sadly that particular thermostat does not come with a manual, but with a quick google search you can find manuals like this that explains wiring and operation. http://www.smartclima.com/digital-therm ... -w1209.htm

Basically when you get it you have to set it to heating and then the temperatures which are all adjustable yes. The minimum temperature is the temp you set it to and the max is that temperature + the Hysteresis value. All is easily adjustable

But if you are a little bit afraid of the electrical adventure(because it will need an enclosure for the board and such because the cheap one is really just the board that you get) and want to spend a little more money on something in a nice enclosure and probably has some sort of manual included then take a look here
*EDIT* I have a limit of one url per post
I would probably not recommend the TC models since I had one that failed on me once.

ps. I have reasonable electricity knowledge so I will gladly assist anyone.
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Re: Ball Python

Postby Cyberduke » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:53 pm

http://www.ultimateexotics.co.za/produc ... ntrollers/

there is the link to the more "fancy" thermostats.
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Re: Ball Python

Postby Cyberduke » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:59 pm

You can find more here

http://shop.rabtron.co.za/catalog/therm ... ecjgbv9170

but make sure that it is NOT a kit, a kit means that you get a bag of components and then you have to solder the entire PCB up. Well except if you feel like doing that.
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Re: Ball Python

Postby Cyberduke » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:08 pm

here is a nice video about feeding

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A0LhvhVZAY

ps. If you pay attention closely you'll see a place where this video is a little different than what I posted. It is no big deal considering I watched this video years ago and my little misremember won't harm anyone as its only about the weight of a snake.
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Re: Ball Python

Postby Kobus » Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:55 am

I have a corn and 2 small BHS.

I got the Corn as an adult about a year ago and is now 151cm 890g.

2 x small Brown House Snakes.

In connecting the Thermostat (Bear in mind I have no Electronic knowledge) Would it be ok if I connect it as follow: -

Capture Thermo Wiring.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
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Re: Ball Python

Postby Cyberduke » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:19 am

No, that would not be correct. If you ran a 12V load then that would work, but heat pads require 220V to operate. You also have to purchase one of those 12V wall warts rather than use a battery. At the end this whole endeavor makes me wonder if the cheaper option is better for someone without any knowledge. But here's what you need to do:

here is a scematic of what you need
Image

That 2 Chinese symbols on the left can represent your load(heat pad in this case), and the "power inverter" (actually wrong word used here, but let's go with it) can be those 12V wall warts to provide power. The contacts between K0 and K1 is just basically a mechanical switch, so you basically supply your heatpad 220V with that switch in series. You will have 2 things that plug into the power of your house.

hope that helps
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