Ball Pythons: 10 Things You Should Know (Very Important)

Ball Pythons make interesting pets and are popular with snakes enthusiasts around the globe. Ball pythons are the most popular species of snake kept as pets in many American homes. They can initially seem intimidating to look after but many owners find them quite easy to have as pets.

Check out 10 amazing things about ball pythons below.

1. Why Is My Ball Python Striking at Me?

For some ball python owners, you may notice your pet keeps striking at you whenever you go near it. As a new snake parent, you might think your ball pythons do not like you, but there are other compelling reasons why your pet snake keeps striking at you.

So, why is ball python striking at me? One of the reasons why your ball python keeps striking at you is that your snake is hungry. Your snake will strike at you thinking your arm is food when it is hungry. Stress is another reason why your ball python keeps striking at you. When a ball python is stressed, it does not want to be disturbed and will strike if you go near it or put your hand in its tank. Your ball python may also strike at you if it is new, does not trust you, and is trying to defend itself.

All snakes will strike, including the ball python; therefore, you need to learn your pet’s body language. When a ball python wants to strike, it will tighten its body and pull itself into a spring position with its head raised. Read on to find out more about ball pythons and gain important knowledge on how to care for your pet snake.

2. Can Ball Pythons Pee?

Peeing is a way for some animals to eliminate waste from their bodies in liquid form. Understanding the bodily functions of your ball python can help you know if it is healthy or not.

Ball pythons do pee to eliminate waste and excess water from their bodies. Ball pythons do not have gall bladders. Therefore, they cannot store urine in their bodies. The urine is expelled through the cloaca, and it is usually in the form of urates, similar to poop. Ball pythons in captivity pee a lot more than their counterparts in the wild because they have access to drinking water.

You need to be able to identify a ball python’s pee. Having knowledge about your ball python’s pee can give you great insight into your pet’s health and general wellbeing. Ball python’s pee looks similar to a bird’s poop. The pee can be white or yellow. Since it is released together with poop, it is solid but soft like toothpaste. The pee can be wet if your ball python drinks a lot of water.

Ball pythons do not pee that frequently compared to other household pets such as cats or dogs. Ball pythons will eliminate urates from their body two or three times a week. It also depends on your ball pythons; some have efficient digestive systems and pee more often than others.

Some ball pythons can pee on you when you are holding them. It is not a big deal. Your ball python may be a little bit shy or scared, or you just picked it up when it was about to pee.

3. How Do I Know If My Ball Python is Happy?

One of the key responsibilities of any pet owner is ensuring their pet lives a happy and stress-free life in their home. For some pets, it is easy to know when they are happy. However, ball pythons have limited communication, and you have to watch their behavior to know if they are happy.

A happy ball python will eat food regularly and spend most of their day sleeping in their tanks. The ball pythons will become active at night and will move around in their cage. Some ball pythons seem never to move, but that is not something to worry about.

If your snake moves around in its cage, it could be stressed or unhappy, mostly about its living conditions. Once a ball python becomes stressed, they will refuse to eat their food, leading to serious health problems. Ensure you provide your ball python with the best environment for it to thrive.

Your ball python is happy when it is calm. You can pick it up and pet it without it hissing or striking at you. The ball python will try to explore by crawling all over your body and flicking its tongue. Some ball pythons will ball up in your arms and enjoy the warmth. An unhappy ball python will be jumpy or aggressive.

However, not all ball pythons like to be handled, and some will try to get away from you as soon as you pick them up. You should put your ball python back in the tank if it starts to exhibit signs that it is uncomfortable. Too much handling can also cause your ball python stress.

4. Why Is My Ball Python Standing Up?

Ball pythons usually engage in certain behaviors. Some are common and do not raise any alarm, while others raise concerns regarding their health and wellbeing. One of the common behaviors is standing up. You might notice your ball python standing up for a couple of minutes and wonder why it is doing that.

One reason why your ball python is standing up is to look or explore its surroundings. When a ball python becomes active, they will move around their cage, and from time to time, they will stop and stretch their head and body upwards into a standing position. The ball python will maintain this position for a few minutes while looking around and flicking its tongue.

Standing up is not a sign your ball python wants to strike, so do not be afraid when it stands up when you approach its tank. Sometimes, a ball python will stretch its neck and head and stare upwards, a position known as stargazing. If your ball python has been stargazing for some time, there could be something wrong with your snake’s health.

Stargazing can mean your ball python has inclusion body disease and can be fatal if not treated. Stargazing can also be a symptom of other ailments such as respiratory infections, meningitis, high fever, and sarcomas. You should take your ball python to a vet for diagnosis and treatment.

5. Why Is My Ball Python Moving So Much?

Ball pythons are not very active animals, and they usually spend most of their day sleeping in their tanks or basking. Therefore, your ball python moving around a lot is a reason to worry about its wellbeing.

Your ball python could be moving so much because it is stressed. Many things inside your ball python’s tank can make your snake uncomfortable. If the temperature is too high, your ball python will try to move to another spot to cool off. If it cannot find a cold area, your snake will become restless and keep moving.

Ensure that the devices installed in the tank to control temperature, humidity, and lighting work properly to provide the perfect environment for your snake. Hunger can also cause your ball python to move around a lot. Ball pythons do not need feeding frequently, and adults can feed once after two weeks, while babies should be fed twice a week.

However, your ball python can get hungry before its feeding date if the portions are too small. Ensure you feed your ball python the correct size of prey. Check your ball python’s weight and adjust the size of its food accordingly.

6. Why Does My Ball Python Keeps Going To the Top of the Cage?

Sometimes, when the ball python moves around its cage, it will move on the branches and hides and go to the top of the cage. Some of the movements a ball python makes inside the cage can tell you a lot about its living conditions.

Your ball python is going to the top of its cage because it is trying to get out and explore. After sleeping the whole day, your ball python becomes active, and the environment outside its cage seems enticing. The ball python will move to the top and push its face against the top.

Therefore, you should ensure that the top is secured to keep the ball python from leaving. If you are free, you can take the ball python out and let it explore the house, but you should never let it out unsupervised.

Another reason why your ball python keeps going to the top of the cage is that it is trying to escape. Some of the things that will make the ball python try to escape include irregular temperature, unfavorable humidity levels, uncomfortable substrate or bedding, lack of hides in the tank, and lack of food. If your ball python spends too much time at the top of its cage, try and figure out why it does not want to stay at the bottom of its enclosure.

7. Why Is My Ball Python Rubbing Its Face?

Ball pythons engage in various behaviors, and, as a new owner, you need to learn why they behave in a specific manner. One behavior some ball pythons do is rubbing their face. Here are reasons why your ball python is rubbing its face.

One reason why your ball python is rubbing its face is trying to explore its environment. The ball python will use its face to feel the items in its tank or around the house. When you place a new hide inside the tank, your snake may rub its face on the new hide. After the snake gets used to the new hide, it will stop rubbing its face against it.

Your snake will also rub its face against hard surfaces if mites are disturbing it. Mites are little arachnids that feed on the blood of host animals. The bite of a mite is irritating and usually causes the need to scratch the bitten skin.

Pets such as cats and dogs will use their paws to scratch the itchy bites, but ball pythons will use hard surfaces inside the tank to scratch themselves. You should disinfect the tank to remove the mites and always wash your hands before handling your ball python.

In case of a stuck shed, your ball python is scratching itself to remove the dead skin. Ball pythons shed their skins several times a year, and it is an easy process where the skin comes off on its own.

Sometimes, the old skin gets stuck, and the ball python will rub its face or body against a hard surface to remove the skin. If your ball python has stuck shed, increase the humidity levels in the tank to help the skin come off easily. Other reasons why your ball python is rubbing its face might include respiratory infection, stuck eye caps, seeking attention, or stress.

8. Why Is My Ball Python Hissing at Me?

Most common household pets make sounds that are easy for their owners to understand. Most snakes make a hissing sound, and you might be wondering why your ball python keeps hissing at you when you go near it.

Hissing is part of your ball python defense mechanism. When a ball python feels threatened, it will start to hiss as a warning to the person or animal near it. Most people think snakes are fearless predators, but snakes are also afraid of other animals, even human beings. Your ball python is yet to trust you and sees you as a potential predator, and hissing is a way of telling you to keep your distance.

Your ball pythons will keep hissing at you for a few weeks, but after it gets used to your presence, the hissing will stop. Stress could be another reason why your ball python is hissing at you.

Stress can make your ball python irritable, and whenever you approach its tank or you try to pick it up, it will hiss at you. Ball pythons prefer to be alone when stressed, and if your calm and friendly ball python suddenly starts to hiss at you, there is something in the tank that is causing it stress. Ball pythons do not like a change in the environment. Ensure your ball python’s tank is comfortable, and do not change it or move the items in the tank.

9. Are There Pink Ball Pythons?

When choosing a ball python as a pet, their skin color plays an important role. Most people choose ball pythons with numerous colors and unique patterns on their skin. There are numerous ball python morphs, and you might wonder if you can find a pink ball panther.

Unfortunately, there are no pink ball pythons. There are juvenile pinkish ball pythons, but they usually lose the color and become white as they grow up. All the ball python morphs are beautiful, but some people prefer to keep pastel champagne ball python, the lavender albino ball python, and the super Mojave ball python.

You can visit a ball python breeder and select the color you prefer. Ball pythons live for a long time; therefore, choose a morph that you will enjoy for many years.

10. Why Are Ball Pythons So Docile?

Ball pythons are among the most popular snake pets, and the main reason people choose them is their temperament. For a strong and vicious-looking animal, a ball python has the most easy-going personality among snakes.

The reason why ball pythons are so docile is because of their natural instincts. In the wild, ball pythons like to hide during the day and only appear at night to hunt. As long as you do not bother it, a ball python will not go out of its way to attack you. Adult ball pythons in captivity are the friendliest snake pets. Juvenile ball pythons can be jumpy and aggressive because they are not used to being near human beings.

If you want a docile ball python, you can start by creating a good environment for it to stay. Install all the necessary gadgets such as lights and heating pads. Keep several hides inside the tank so that the ball python does not feel overly exposed when it is sleeping.

Wash your hands before handling your ball python, and it will bite you if your hand smells like food. Keep handling short when the ball python is still new, increase the time when it has become accustomed to your presence.


Ball pythons are amazing creatures that make great pets. Ball pythons might seem low maintenance pets, but they need to be taken care of properly to avoid getting stressed. You have to watch how your ball python behaves.

For instance, too much movement means your pet snake is either stressed or something in the tank is making it uncomfortable. Therefore, you need to take time and observe your pet as frequently as possible.

Behaviors such as rubbing its face and standing tall can tell you if your snake is healthy or not. If you are not sure if your ball python is unwell, check for other signs such as lethargy, lack of appetite, blocked nostrils, and excessive hiding. You can also take your ball python to the vet for a professional diagnosis and treatment. The more information you have, the easier it will be to look after a ball python.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

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