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  1. #1
    Spotted Shadow Sophomore LeopardShade's Avatar
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    Default New snake owner, some questions

    I am caring for a friend's Ball Python over the summer. He has had this snake for 15+ years and estimates that it is about 17 years old, quite an old snake! He is a Biology teacher, and has kept the snake in his classroom, so it is used to some pretty wild things. During the summer, though, being away from school and all, he cannot care for it as he usually would, and asked if I would watch it over the summer.

    Well, I was kind of surprised when I saw the snake's enclosure. The snake alone looked healthy, nice and thick, but there was no hide box! Well, once he left, I made a makeshift hide box out of an old shoebox and placed it in the enclosure and the snake went right in. Also, he did not have a heat source for the python. I am planning on getting it an undertank heater tomorrow, but until then, I am using all I have, a 60w red reptile bulb. I also refilled the water bowl with some water treated with Reptisafe for some nice electrolytes for the new arrival.

    He/she (do not know the gender) is the sweetest snake. From having lots of experience with kids handling him/her at school, the snake is very docile and tame. I am told he/she (eh, I'll go with 'he' for now) has never bitten anyone. I handled him for about five minutes while I was making the hide box and he just slithered around slowly, flicking his tongue and investigating his new surroundings.

    I would like to think that, by bringing him to a much quieter place, apposed to a classroom where 30 students clamber in 6 times a day, this is sort of a vacation for him. I guess I just have some acclimating questions.

    1. The red reptile bulb. Can the snake be hurt by the infrared rays?
    2. How long should I wait for the snake to get settled in before I begin offering food?

    Thanks for anyone who took the time to read this.
    ~0.2 E. macularius (Hypo, Super Snow)~

  2. #2
    Senior Member Junior fl_orchidslave's Avatar
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    I don't know about the bulb, we use heat tape. You need to know what it has been feeding on, rats or mice, frozen or pre-killed, and when was the last time it ate. I hope its' been eating at least medium rats.......
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  3. #3
    Spotted Shadow Sophomore LeopardShade's Avatar
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    It has been feeding on live medium rats, and the last its ate was two months ago, if that's what I can remember, it's probably shorter, though. It shed recently, so that was partially the reason. The snake does not look thin to me, still rather bulky like I mentioned above.

    I'm just trying to make it feel comfortable and the transition not stressful. I think the hide box is really doing wonders, the snake loves it!
    ~0.2 E. macularius (Hypo, Super Snow)~

  4. #4
    Senior Member Junior fl_orchidslave's Avatar
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    It should eat at the very least, one medium rat a month. If it were in our house, it would be offered after having it 2 or 3 days since the last feeding was missed, then twice a month. Live rats are dangerous and can bite up a snake if left unattended, leaving scars that last forever. Our balls get either pre-killed or F/T. One is an old girl of 24 and she's huge. Takes down a large rat like a spaghetti noodle, even when she's gravid.
    `*..*
    . .*).*)
    (.(. (..`..♥

  5. #5
    Spotted Shadow Sophomore LeopardShade's Avatar
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    So would you suggest to wait a couple of days?
    ~0.2 E. macularius (Hypo, Super Snow)~

  6. #6
    Senior Member Junior fl_orchidslave's Avatar
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    Yes, I'd give it a couple days to get all comfy, then try to feed. Do you have a gram scale big enough to weigh it? I'm just curious if its a good size for it's age. We took one in on the rescue that hadn't eaten in 8 months and was so skinny that he ate right after the kids dropped him off.
    `*..*
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  7. #7
    Spotted Shadow Sophomore LeopardShade's Avatar
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    No, I'm sorry, I don't have a gram scale. And I wouldn't know proper snake weights for age, I'm kind of new to them. The snake is active, though. As I'm writing this, he's out slithering and exploring his enclosure. I have the lights turned off and the red bulb on so its nice and dark for him. I watched him drink some water for a couple of minutes, seemed like he was thirsty. At least he'll be hydrated.
    ~0.2 E. macularius (Hypo, Super Snow)~

  8. #8
    Senior Member Junior fl_orchidslave's Avatar
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    Sounds like he's settling in nicely
    `*..*
    . .*).*)
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  9. #9
    Spotted Shadow Sophomore LeopardShade's Avatar
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    Today I'm going to buy him some new aspen substrate (his tank hasn't been cleaned out in a while), a UTH, and maybe a bigger and better hide.
    ~0.2 E. macularius (Hypo, Super Snow)~

  10. #10
    Spotted Shadow Sophomore LeopardShade's Avatar
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    Do Ball Pythons enjoy humidity? I'm thinking about buying a large Tupperware plastic container, filling it with moist paper towel, and placing it on the warm side. I notices that the snake, when I handled it, has some shed skin stuck to his scales. Would the snake like that?
    ~0.2 E. macularius (Hypo, Super Snow)~

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