Shedding is a normal process for ball pythons and most other reptiles. Shedding in reptiles occurs to help them replace the old skin with the new one to fit their growing bodies.
Even though shedding is a normal process for ball pythons that occurs periodically throughout their lives, it can cause health problems to your ball python.
Thus, we came up with this article to help you know when your ball python is about to shed. And, how often they shed, and how you can assist them during shedding.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Gospel. Read more about our knowledge control process here.
When Do Ball Pythons Shed?
When do ball pythons shed their skin and how often? A healthy and growing ball python sheds its old skin in one piece regularly, usually every 4 – 6 weeks. This is specifically for young ball pythons of age 1months – 10 years. As they age, their growth rate reduces, subsequently, the frequency at which they shed also reduces. Adult ball pythons shed every 4 – 12 weeks. As a ball python is about to shed, the color of their eyes usually change to gray or blue.
Ball pythons shed every 4-12 weeks, depending on their age. Younger ball pythons shed more frequently than adults. Thus, you can expect your adult ball python to shed every 6-12 weeks, and baby and juveniles every 2-4 weeks. It’s rare for ball pythons to experience shedding problems.
Ball python’s humidity requirements are not intensive. Thus, they typically don’t experience shedding problems.
However, if your ball python seems incomplete, you should soak it in water for at least two hours. Also, you can move your snake’s water bowl at the top of the heat source to increase the humidity in your ball python’s cage.
Ball pythons should shed their skin in one piece. Thus, it is critical to check your ball python after shedding to ensure that there is no stuck skin, especially at the tip of their tails and eye caps.
The best rule of thumb is to decrease the enclosure’s ventilation during shedding to ensure there’s plenty of humidity. Humidity helps all reptiles shed quickly.
How Often Do Ball Pythons Shed?
How often a ball python sheds depends on their age. For instance, baby ball pythons shed more than juveniles and adults. It is because their growth rate is high and thus, needs to replace their skin more often.
Unlike humans, our skin is elastic and can stretch as they grow, reptile’s skin can not.
Thus, new skin grows underneath the old one to replace the outgrown skin.
Therefore, a baby ball python of about 9 – 10 years can shed every 4-6 weeks. As for the adults, they can shed between 30-45 days.
Shedding in adults can also be influenced by environmental factors such as humidity.
It is, therefore, necessary to provide adequate humidity in the ball python’s enclosure.
Can You Help Your Ball Python Shed More Often?
You can help your ball python shed more often by ensuring you provide a good diet and proper habitation.
Malnutrition and inadequate humidity are the primary causes of dysecdysis (abnormal shed).
Shedding is vital for ball pythons as it helps them to eliminate any collected bacteria or parasite. Thus, it is important to ensure that your ball python is shedding properly.
Here are some of the ways you can help your ball python shed often.
Provide a Good Diet
A good ball python diet is significant to help ball pythons stay healthy and strong. Healthy ball pythons tend to shed more often than sick ones.
Thus, you should ensure that your ball python is well fed and there is plenty of water to drink in their cage.
Provide a Good Habitation
Improper habitation and sanitation can cause dysecdysis. Thus, it is critical to provide adequate temperature, humidity, and a clean environment for your ball python.
The best temperature for ball pythons is 88-900F on the basking spot, and 76-830F on the cold end.
And, the best humidity for ball pythons should be 50-60%. Selecting a substrate that holds humidity properly would also help.
You should add a shedding box to your python’s tank.
Also, Add coarse objects to the tank; the snake can rub itself on it.
Soak Your Ball Python
If you notice incomplete shedding in your ball python, you should soak it in water for at least two hours to help remove the stuck skin. A good water bowl can help ball python sheds easier.
What You Need To Remember When Your Ball Python Shed
Shedding should be a normal process for ball pythons. However, it can also be a sensitive process that you might need your attention.
Thus, here are some of the things you should always remember when your ball python shed.
During shedding, ball python may appear sick. Here are some of the symptoms you should observe during your ball python’s shedding.
- Opaque blue eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Defensive behaviour
- Dull scale colouration
- Wrinkled skin
These are the primary symptoms of a shedding ball python. You should always provide plenty of water during this time to help them shed quickly.
Ball pythons hate to be bothered during the shedding process. Thus, it would help if you always remembered to respect your ball python’s emotions. Don’t handle your ball python when it’s shedding.
Also, you should ensure that their cage is comfortable enough to ease the shedding process.
The best way to make them comfortable is ensuring there is enough moisture and temperature in their enclosure.
Keep In Mind
Always keep in mind that, in the wild, ball pythons tend to rub against a hard course to remove the shed.
Thus, it would be best if you would provide the same for them in captivity. The best rubbing objects can be stones, branches, and any other hard material that can not injure your snake during the process.
Snake is not as necessary during the shedding process as most ball pythons refuse to eat. However, they tend to get thirsty frequently, and thus, you should provide plenty of water for them to drink and soak.
Clean the Cage
When shedding is over, ball python’s cage is always messy due to excessive skin, moisture, and snakes defecate waste.
Thus, it is necessary to clean the cage immediately to help them feel more comfortable and fresh.
You should also provide food as the ball python will be starving after an extended stay without food.
Fully understanding your ball python will help you better take care of them. As a suggestion, we would recommend you to get the best ball python book. Not to become an expert on ball python care but will help you avoid the common mistake in new pet snake owners.
Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Most people perceive the shedding process as a painful process for ball pythons. But, that is not the case as the lubricating layer between the new and the old skin makes the process not painful.
However, it is an irritating process that makes the ball pythons sensitive and aggressive. Therefore, you should never try to handle your ball python during shedding.
Instead, you should help it by regularly misting it, and providing a shedding friendly habitat for them to shed quickly.