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How Often To Handle Ball Python

Ball pythons are one of the popular pet snakes that even beginner hobbyists can keep as a pet. Most hobbyists love them due to their docile and curious nature, and you can easily handle them.

One of the things that you may be worried about as a responsible ball python owner is how often you can handle them.

You can handle your ball pythons at least once a week. However, you need to ensure that it is not more than 3-4 times per week and avoid handling them more than once per day.

“How Often To Handle Ball Python” is an important thing that all ball python owners need to know about. This article will help answer this question, and we will also highlight some helpful tips when handling your ball python.

Do Ball Pythons Like to Be Handled Frequently?

Ball Python on the hand | Credit: Sinicakover / Canva.com

Although ball pythons are not emotional or cuddle creatures, they can be held quite well. Some ball pythons even enjoy getting out of their tank during the handling session.

However, this will depend on the amount of human contact that they have.

Therefore, you can bond with your pet python by gently petting, grooming, and feeding them regularly.

There may also be times when your ball python becomes uncomfortable with handling, which is why you should always be gentle and alert when handling pets like snakes.

How Often To Handle Ball Python

You must handle your ball python regularly as it helps keep them docile, friendly, and active. You need to handle your ball python at least once a week but not more than 3-4 times per week.

However, you should avoid handling your ball python more than once per day.

Note: wait for at least 48-72 hours after you feed your ball pythons before you handle them. This helps to allow the food to properly digest and reduces the regurgitation risk during handling.

Ball Python on the hand with white background | Credit: Gorkemdemir / Canva.com

What Can Happen If You Handle Ball Python Too Much?

An important thing to consider when handling your ball python is to avoid handling them too much.

Handling ball python too much will make them scared of you instead of helping build a bond between you. Furthermore, this is going to stress out your ball python.

For instance, handling a new snake or baby/juvenile snake too much will make them skittish. It is recommended that you handle them for a few minutes at a time to help avoid stressing them out.

Stressing out your ball python can then affect the immune system of your snake, making them prone to diseases.

Handling your ball python for too long can make its body temperature get low if you handle them in a room colder than its natural habitat.

This will then affect the bodily function of your ball python as your snake will not be able to move or digest food as it should and make them prone to disease.

ball python coiled around the arm of a person
Ball python coiled around the arm of a person | Credit: Piyagoon / Canva.com

How Long Can I Hold My Ball Python?

Generally, it is quite hard to tell how long you can handle your ball python. Each ball python usually has a different personality and will have different comfort times or bonds with its owner.

Some ball pythons, like new snakes or juvenile baby snakes, are usually skittish, and you can only handle them for a few minutes at a time.

It is best that you handle them under 20 minutes. However, you can handle your ball pythons for as long as both feel comfortable. You can then stop once your ball python starts showing signs of aggression.

Note: handling your ball python for too long can stress your snake and cause health problems.

When Should You Not Hold a Ball Python?

Although it is recommended that you handle your pet ball python regularly to help bond with them, there are times when you should just leave them alone. Some of the situations where you should avoid holding your ball python are stated below.

Hand is holding Ball Python snake
Hand is holding Ball Python snake | Credit: Sirichai_asawalapsakul / Canva.com

After Bringing It Home or To A New Environment

Generally, ball pythons are usually stressed from transportation or change in the environment when you first bring them home.

Therefore, it is recommended that you leave them alone to let them settle and adjust to the new environment before you try to handle it.

Handling them immediately can make them feel threatened by you and will try to defend themselves.

It is best to wait for a week or two until the new snake has eaten and digested its first meal before you try to handle them after bringing them home.

When Shedding

Another time to avoid handling your ball python is when it is shedding. This is because most ball pythons are usually skittish and agitated when shedding, and you don’t want to add to their stress by handling them.

After Feeding Your Ball Python

This is a very important tip you don’t want to ignore. Ball pythons need plenty of time, at least 48-72 hours, to help digest their food without interruptions or stress after eating.

Handling your ball python after feeding them will make them vomit their food as they feel threatened or anxious.

Furthermore, vomiting food is usually stressful to your snake and can temporarily damage the inside of its throat. Therefore, you will need to wait for at least two weeks before you can try to handle them again.

When Stressed

It is best that you avoid handling your ball python when stressed, and this is because ball pythons get agitated and defensive when stressed and can also develop health issues. Below are some signs to help determine that your ball python is stressed.

  • Your ball python stops eating.
  • It hides its head during handling.
  • It is more active than usual during the day.
  • It is best to keep an eye on your ball python until it relaxes once you notice these signs and avoid handling them.

Ball Python Handling Tips

Teenage Girl with Ball Python Snake in Hand.
Teenage Girl with Ball Python Snake in Hand.| Credit: PoungsaedCreater / Canva.com

Here are safety tips you can follow to help ensure handling your ball python is safe and less stressful.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your ball python to help prevent infections.
  • Before you pick a ball python, check to see if it is okay with being handled and if it is not stressed. You should also ensure your ball python is not asleep to prevent frightening them, as they can lash out and bite.
  • Avoid picking your ball python if it regurgitated its last meal.
  • You can determine that it is safe to pick up your ball python if it is calm and it flicks its tongue slowly.
  • Use two hands to pick up your snake. One hand behind your snake head and the other to support the body.
  • Avoid picking up a snake by its tail, as this can damage the spine severely.

Note: ball pythons don’t have hands or feet for climbing and will use their muscles to wrap around you for stability. Therefore, your snake will wrap around your body and arms to help prevent it from falling. Your ball python is not trying to assassinate you but to prevent it from falling.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do ball pythons like to cuddle?

Ball pythons can tolerate being held, and many snake owners term this as cuddling with your snake.

However, ball pythons cannot cuddle with their owners and may just be cuddling to size you up. The good thing is that a human’s size is usually big, and your ball python cannot swallow you.

How long can I wait before handling my ball python?

You will need to wait for at least seven days before you can handle a new pet ball python to help ensure they are not stressed. After that, you will need to wait for another two days after its first meal before you can handle your snake.

Can I hold my snake every day?

You can handle your snake from once a week to every day based on your type of snake.

For instance, a ball python should be handled at least once a week but not more than 3-4 times per week. You also need to avoid handling them more than once per day.

How do I know if my ball python is happy?

Here are some signs to help determine whether your ball python is happy and comfortable in their new home.

Your ball python flicks its tongue casually.
It appears lazy as it slides slowly around its enclosure.
Your snake tries to investigate, slithers around, and tastes a new item in its enclosure to help to determine what it is for.

A happy ball python will not grip your hand tightly during handling and will try to explore your hands, shoulders, and arms.

Do ball pythons recognize their owners?

Yes, ball pythons can recognize their owners through smells and sounds.

They usually recognize the scent of their owners and will feel relaxed or comfortable in their owner’s hands. They can also move around their enclosure once they hear or smell something familiar.

Key Takeaways

Although it is recommended to handle ball pythons regularly, you should not overdo this. You can handle ball pythons at least once a week but should not be more than 3-4 times per week.

You need to avoid handling ball python daily to help prevent stressing out your pet snakes.

However, snakes have different personalities, and some can tolerate handling more than others. We hope this article helps to answer your question about how often you can handle your ball python.

You can message us in the comment section below if you have any questions or comments

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