UniquePetsWiki is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more

Do Ball Pythons Like to be Held?

Do you already own a ball python, or planning to buy one? Well, whichever your answer is, it is important to know whether do ball pythons like to be held?

Thus,  this article will teach you when to handle your ball python, when not to, and how to hold them.

It might not be clear whether ball pythons like to be held or they tolerate it. However, in this article, we will help you understand your ball python’s behavior regarding handling.

Keep reading!

Do Ball Pythons Like To Be Held?
Do Ball Pythons Like To Be Held?

Do Ball Pythons Like to be Held?

The answer is no, ball pythons do not like to be held. However, they are docile and friendly. And, even though they are not emotionally cuddly, they still tolerate handling. But, it is critical to understand that sometimes they are irritable and cannot tolerate handling.

Handling irritable ball pythons can cause them to bite you. Therefore, it is critical to know when to hold and when to leave them alone. 

There are five primary reasons why ball python can get irritable and try to hurt you when trying to hold them. They include:

  • After introducing it to a new home
  • When stressed
  • After feeding 
  • During shedding

After Introducing It to a New Home

When you bring in your ball python home for the first time, it is highly likely to get stressed. Thus, it is critical not to add more stress by holding it. 

During the first few days, your pet might see you as a threat and try to defend itself. Therefore, you should be patient and let it get used to its new environment.

You can leave them alone for a few days before petting them. Ball pythons can go for many days without eating or drinking, so, all you need to do is just let them in their new environment.

The best time to start handling it is after you have offered it its first meal, and it’s already digested. That should be approximately two weeks.

When Stressed 

When a ball python is under stress, it gets agitated and defensive. Thus, trying to handle it then can only agitate your ball python more. 

Ball pythons will always try to bite you when they are stressed. Therefore, instead of holding your ball python, you should try to find out the underlying reason they are stressed.

Ball pythons can get stressed due to inadequate temperatures and humidity, too large or small cages, shedding, or illness.

After Feeding 

Holding your ball python immediately after feeding can cause it to regurgitate. Thus, it would help if you did NOT handle your ball pythons before 72 hours are over after feeding.

Regurgitating can destroy your ball python’s throat. Therefore, not handling a ball python after feeding is a rule that should never be broken at all costs.

During Shedding 

Shedding in ball pythons is a stressful process that makes them grumpy and defensive. Thus, it is important to keep off from holding your ball python.

Ball pythons refuse to eat during shedding. However, they get thirsty regularly and so you should always ensure they have clean water available.

Have Fun With Your Ball Python

Ball pythons make great pets. Even though they are not so social like puppies, you can still have fun with them.

However, it would help if you understood snakes are not like puppies or kittens that you can play with for long hours.

Here are three ways you can enjoy playing with your ball python.

Provide Room to Exercise

First, you should understand that even though ball pythons are lazy and prefer to spend most of their days hidden, they can still enjoy a little exercise.

Thus, it’s okay to let them out of their cage to move around and explore freely. You can provide an artificial tree where your ball python can enjoy climbing around.

Find Suitable Toys

Snakes don’t need expensive toys. However, it would help if you understood what your snake enjoys most.

For instance, ball pythons love to coil around. Thus, you can provide a sturdy stick or a branch where the snake can enjoy curling around.

Look for ball python toys

Play Hide and Seek

Hide and seek games can be fun for both you and your snake. However, the snake can only play the hiding and you the seeking part.

But, when choosing the best place to play this game, you should ensure that your snake cannot get lost.

Also, ball pythons do not like to be around many people. Therefore, you should choose a more private and safe area for your snake.

Well, these are the most suitable ways for you to have fun with your ball python. But, you must understand that snakes too have personalities. Thus, you should understand what your snakes love most and stick with that.

How To Have Your Ball Python Trust $ Love You? Ten Tips

Ball pythons don’t require a lot of taming before handling them. However, sometimes they can get defensive and irritable. Thus, it is worth knowing how to win your ball python’s love and trust.

Here are tips to help you win your ball python’s love and trust you.


Snakes have no emotional feelings. Thus, it is impossible for your ball python to love you the way you can love them. 

Imagine having the kind of relationship you can have with your dog or cat with a snake? Sounds nice, right?

Well, I am sorry to disappoint you, but it’s impossible to build that kind of relationship with your snake.

However, you can still have your snake trust you. Here is how you can get your ball python to trust you.


Provide a suitable habitat: stress can cause your ball python to get irritable. Thus, it is important to ensure that their habitat is comfortable enough to help them ease stress.

For instance, inadequate moisture and temperature can make your ball python stressful. 

Additionally, you should ensure that you provide a 12-hour cycle for your snake to differentiate between day and night.  And, the cage should not be in an area with high traffic to avoid startling the snake.

Don’t handle it for the first two weeks: Ball pythons get stressed when introduced to a new environment. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you don’t handle them during the first two weeks.

However, you should provide clean water and food during the assimilation period.

Provide hideouts Ball pythons prefer to spend their day hiding. Thus, it is critical to provide hiding areas to your python to feel safe and calm. 

Lack of hideouts can agitate your ball python and thus make them defensive.

Let your ball python smell your hands: Ball python has poor eyesight. However, they have a good sense of smell. Thus, putting your hand inside their cage can sometimes help them recognize you.

However, you should ensure that your hand is clean and does not smell like prey.  Otherwise, the ball python can mistake your hand with its meal and thus accidentally bite you.

Be patient with your ball python: Ball pythons, especially babies, and juveniles can be very defensive. And, even though it can be intimidating, you should continue being gentle and understanding.

With patience and persistence, your ball python eventually learns to trust you.

Don’t over handle them: Ball pythons are not so social to enjoy too much cuddling. In fact, they only tolerate handling. Therefore, you should only handle them once a day, not more than four times a week. 

Don’t freak out if your ball python bites you: It is likely for your ball python to bite you at some time. If this happens, you should stay calm and let your ball python let go. 

It would then be best if you gently put it in its cage and then wash the bitten area with soap and disinfectant.

Screaming or yanking can only scare your ball python more and thus get more defensive.

Don’t handle your ball python after feeding: Ball pythons hate to be bothered after feeding. Fast movement after feeding causes ball pythons to regurgitate.  

Therefore, you should not try to hold your ball python for at least 24 hours after feeding.

Don’t starve your snake: Imagine how it feels when you are extremely hungry, and somebody bothers you.  

A hungry ball python gets irritable and can perceive anything as a meal. Thus, if you want to hold your python without it trying to bite you, you must feed them well.

It would be best if you fed your ball python once every seven to ten days.

Pick your ball python well: It is significant to pick your ball python well to avoid making it feel scared or threatened.

Holding it with too much grip can make it feel uncomfortable and as if you were trying to hurt it.

Therefore, you should ensure that the hold is gentle enough for the snake to move around. Additionally, ball pythons like to curl around. Thus letting your ball python curl around your hand can make it trust you.

How to Pick Your Ball Pythons the Right Way

Not picking your ball python the right way can cause it to get stressed. Thus, you should understand the best way to pick it up.

Here are some tips to help you pick your ball python the right way.

  • Ensure that your ball python is aware that you are around. Suddenly picking up your ball python can startle it. Thus, you should make sure that your ball python can see you approaching.
  • Hold it from the mid-body as you support it with your hand and forearm. This technique helps your ball python feel comfortable and secure in your arms.     
  • Don’t ever pick your snake by the tail or neck. It can seriously injure your ball python and even see you as a threat.

Wrapping Up

Ball pythons make great pets. They do not like to be handled, but they can easily get tamed with patience and tolerance.

In fact, some ball pythons testify that their ball pythons enjoy handling and even approach their owners to hold them.

Therefore, even if your ball python seems aggressive initially, it will eventually calm down and let you hold it.

About UniquePetsWiki

UniquePetsWiki is the preferred educational source on pets favored by experienced herptologists and new owners alike. With hundreds of articles on everything pertaining to pets including reptiles, squirrels, and other pets, our experienced team provides reliable and accurate content you can trust.

From proper husbandry and habitat guidance, to articles on health concerns, diet, and extensive care guides, UniquePetsWiki is here to educate everyone on all pets concerns.


UniquePetsWiki is not a veterinary website, nor should any of the reptile health information on our site replace the advice of a certified veterinary professional. If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, contact an experienced veterinarian immediately.

UniquePetsWiki is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.