Ball Python

Ball Python
Ball Python

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Ball Python is Python regius.

General Information about Ball Python

  • The Ball Python is also known as the Royal Python though this is more common in European countries.
  • The “Royal” name was brought about in part by Cleopatra who reportedly wore these beautiful snakes as bracelets on her wrists.
  • The origin of the “Ball” name derives from their natural defense mechanism that when stressed, they will curl into a tight ball with their heads hidden inside and not move for long periods of time.
  • The Ball Python is an attractive snake with a dark, brown-black pattern and yellow-tan skin.
  • This species of snake is a very curious and gentle in nature.
  • These traits as well as the inexpensive price make it a popular reptile pet.
  • Ball Pythons make excellent pets.
  • Their inexpensive price, good temperament, and long life spans make them one of the top-selling snakes.
  • The short but stout size makes them very impressive in stature.
  • The key to keeping these animals healthy is in their care.
  • Recent years, captive breeding projects have developed several interesting color varieties which all share the same care guidelines. 

Distribution

  • Ball Pythons are native to Central and Western Africa and are ‘crepuscular’ being most active at dusk and dawn.

Breeding

  • Sexing a Ball Python is relatively easy.
  • Like all pythons and boas, they have anal spurs.
  • These claw-like structures are about 2 – 3 inches from the tip of the tail.
  • Males have longer spurs than females. The spurs are thought to be evolutionary remnants of hind legs.
  • Males also tend to have smaller heads than females.
  • Mating usually requires a mild cooling or partial hibernation period.
  • The average clutch size is 4 – 10 eggs and average incubation period is 90 days.
  • The female will protect the eggs from the moment they are laid until they hatch.
  • During this time, she does not eat and can become highly irritable and stressed.
  • For this reason, artificial incubation in captivity is usually recommended.
  • To accomplish this, maintain a plastic container with damp sphagnum moss in the cage while the female is gravid. The female will usually lay the eggs in this container.
  • After the eggs are laid, remove the eggs and moss and place them in moist (not wet) vermiculite for incubation. Bury the eggs with the tops showing.
  • It can take hours or even days for the young to fully emerge from their egg.
  • House the hatchlings individually once the shell is broken and be patient.
  • Young Ball Pythons usually grow about a foot a year for the first three years. 

Snake Housing for Ball Python

  • Ball Pythons should be housed in cages measuring 36″ x 18″ x 16″ or larger, roughly a 40 gallon aquarium size.
  • As for juveniles or hatchlings, a 10 – 20 gallon aquarium will suffice.
  • Always make sure the cage is secure as this Ball Pythons are very powerful and cunning when it comes to escaping.
  • A beginning substrate should be newspaper.
  • This will allow you to check for parasites and observe the feces for problems.
  • After the snake is established and eating well, you can use cypress or fir bark as a substrate.
  • Avoid using pine or cedar shavings since their oils have been associated with respiratory problems.
  • Washable, reusable, reptile ‘carpets’ can also be used.
  • All types of substrates must be cleaned or replaced whenever soiled to avoid fungal or bacterial growths.
  • Same as other snakes, a hiding place is a must.
  • You can use anything from cardboard boxes, to hollow logs, to manufactured reptile houses.
  • The hide place should be large enough for the snake’s entire body.
  • Snug or tight enclosures are preferred for sleeping and security senses.
  • Don’t forget to put a climbing branch in the tank, as Ball Pythons love to climb.
  • Ball Python should be kept at 82ºF at the cool end and 86ºF at the hot spot.
  • The temperature can be safely lowered to 70ºF at night.
  • A variety of heating methods such as; under-the-tank heating pads, specialty reptile heat/light bulbs, ceramic bulbs, etc can be used.
  • A thermometer to test the temperature and check the heating devices from time to time is recommended.
  • This species is vulnerable to thermal burns so direct contact with the heat source should be prevented.
  • Always provide a fresh bowl of water that is replaced daily. Ball Pythons will occasionally soak in the bowl to help with the shedding process.
  • This can cause overspills if the bowl is too small.

Size

  • These snakes can achieve length to an average adult size of about 4ft (1.2meters) but occasional specimens have been known to reach 5ft (1.5meters)

Life Span

  • Ball Python have a long lifespan of up to 30years, with the oldest recorded specimen having lived 48 years.

Ball Python Diet and Feeding

  • In the wild, the Ball Python will eat a variety of prey including lizards, birds, and small mammals.
  • Wild caught specimens are often associated with difficulty in getting them to accept ‘lab mice’ in captivity. You can trick the snake by rubbing a chick on the mouse or by putting a shed lizard skin on it.
  • Then slowly switch the python over to mice. Buy a captive bred snake to reduce the potential problems.
  • Ball Pythons have a reputation of going for long periods of time without food. Specimens have been known to go a year or more without feeding but this is not common or safe practice.
  • Long fasting periods can seriously weaken the snake and open it to disease.
  • For best results feed every 2-4 weeks, and seek veterinary advice for fast periods longer than one month to ensure internal parasites or other health issues are not involved.
  • For best results, food should be lightly dusted in a calcium or nutritional supplement such as Tetra’s ReptoCal or ReptoLife Plus.

Natural Habitat

  • They tend to be found in grasslands or on the edge of the forests.
  • Mostly ground-oriented snakes, they are known to be semi-arboreal.

Common Disease

  • Wild caught specimens can frequently have internal parasites.
  • If you pet becomes sluggish, refuses to eat for several weeks, has discharges from the nose/mouth, or it regurgitates meals, seek a veterinarian for help.
  • Ask you vet, but feces samples are often helpful in properly diagnosing and treating your pet.

Red Tailed Boa

Red Tailed Boa
Red Tailed Boa

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of red tailed boa is Boa constrictor constrictor

Description

  • Also known as boa constrictor. 
  • They are nocturnal reptile.
  • For the red tailed boa that lives in northern or southern, they will hibernate during the winter or drought.
  • These snakes are active in rainforest throughout the year.
  • This snake kill its prey by squeezing the victim, and swallow them for food.
  • The boas are classified under Appendix II for CITES.
  • This species is non-venomous and commonly found in pet store, snake breeder or reptile show. 

Distribution

  • They are commonly found in Brazil and few places in Columbia, Hogg Island, Mexico and few countries in Central America.

Breeding

  • Gestation normally takes 108 days.

Nesting

  • The red tailed boa do not lay eggs, but give live young boas.

Size

  • This is a large size boa.
  • A average adult snake can grow up to 15 feet and 60 pounds.

Life Span

  • In captivity, these snakes can grow up to 30 year-old.

Red Tailed Boa Diet and Feeding

  • Naturally they eat reptile, amphibian, mammals, birds and other snakes.
  • In captivity they should be fed pre-killed mice, rats, rabbits and chickens depends on their size.
  • The pre-killed food should be clean and raised healthily.
  • Raw chickens from grocery should be avoided as 85% are infected with bacteria.
  • Feeding the snake should be done with care.
  • Do not overfeed the snake.
  • Provide a bowl of fresh water for drink and soak, and constantly make sure the water is clean.

Natural Habitat and Housing Requirement

  • This species can be found in the forests.
  • Sometimes can be found near human settlement due to rodents.
  • In captivity, it should be set at 28°C to 32°C, and a basking area with 32°C to 35°C for the daytime.
  • Night time temperature should be around 26 °C to 30°C.

Common Disease

  • It is common to see necrotizing enteritis and ulceration in the snake.
  • You may always find parasites on their skin.

Emerald Tree Boa

Emerald Tree Boa
Emerald Tree Boa

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Emerald Tree Boa is Corallus caninus

Description

  • Typically with the colour of emerald is green with zigzag strips and white colour shade between the strips.
  • They have yellowish skin underneath.
  • Juveniles are normally orange or yellow in colours with inconsistent marking.
  • They looked similar to Green Tree Boas.
  • They are nocturnal animal, and hunt at night by waiting its prey approaching them.
  • As the name implied, this species spend most of the time on the tree. 

Distribution

  • The snakes are found in South America countries such as Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana and Suriname.

Breeding

  • The gestation is about 5 to 6 months.

Nesting

  • An adult female snake will normally give birth to 2 to 15 live baby boas.

Size

  • On average, an adult snake’s size is about 1.8 meters.
  • However, certain snakes can grow up to 2.7 meters.

Life Span

  • Emerald Tree Boa can live up to 15 to 20 years in the wild. 

Emerald Tree Boa Diet and Feeding

  • This is a carnivore reptile, it means that they only eat other animal or meat.
  • In nature, the preys are small mammals, lizards, frogs or birds.
  • In captivity, you should be cautious about the food size. These snakes should be fed with small rat or mouse. Large size of food fed may result in regurgitation.
  • Feeding frequency is approximately 18 to 22 days.

Natural Habitat and Housing Requirements

  • This snake is commonly found in Brazil, Guyana and Suriname.
  • You may notice that Emerald tree boas that are found near the end of Peru are normally darker in colours, but they are belong the same species.
  • They often live near large swamps or marshes or rivers in the rainforests of South America.
  • The temperature and humidity are important for its digestion and metabolism.
  • In the captivity, temperature should not be above 32°C and below 21°C in 5 days after feeding.
  • Ideally, the humidity should be around 85%.

Common Disease

  • Impaction and regurgitation result from improper temperature control after feeding.

California Kingsnake

California Kingsnake
California Kingsnake

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of this snake is Lampropeltis getulus californiae. 

Description

  • They vary in colours but the most commonly found colours are in black and white stripes.
  • They have black eyes.
  • They snakes shed 4 to 6 times annually.
  • The humid environment may greatly help the kingsnake in shedding.
  • Handling of snake during the shedding should be avoided or reduced as much as possible to minimise the chances of hurting the snake while the skin is vulnerable.
  • The snakes are nocturnal animals.
  • This snakes non-venomous species and commonly adopted as pet.

Distribution

  • East coast of North America from Ohio to Florida.

Breeding

  • In the wild, mating take place within March to June.
  • Eggs laid from May to August.

Nesting

  • Thera are around 15 eggs per clutch.
  • Eggs hatch 6 to 10 weeks later.

Size

  • Adult may reach 5 feet long.
  • The baby kingsnakes are about 8 to 12 inches long.
  • This snake is considered as mid size snake. 

Life Span

  • The California Kingsnake may live up to 15 to 20 years.

California Kingsnake Food and Feeding

  • It is named kingsnake as it eats snakes, including venomous snakes.
  • Other food are rodent, mouse, rat, frog or lizard.
  • Hatchling should be fed with newly born mice at the frequency of 5 to 7 days.
  • A small dish of water should be provided.

Habitat

  • They originate from desert.
  • Living in different habitat such as woodland, chaparral farmland, grassland, deciduous, forest, or river bank.

Common Disease

  • Respiratory problems may result due to improper control of humidity, especially the habitat is highly humid.

Prairie Kingsnake

Prairie Kingsnake
Prairie Kingsnake

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Prairie Kingsnake is Lampropeltis calligaster.

Description

  • This snake is also commonly known as yellow-bellied kingsnake.
  • The colours of this kingsnake are normally light grey or light purple with dark brown or reddish blotches.
  • 2 oblong behind the head and darker blotches on both sides of the body.
  • Prairie kingsnake has fine and smooth scales.
  • Having V shape head.
  • The snake is active from April to October.
  • And nocturnal during summer season.
  • It is non-aggressive, calm and rarely biting snake hence can be well kept in captivity.
  • As it is non-venomous snake, it helps farmer in curbing rodent pest population and venomous snakes.

Distribution

  • Located in western Indiana and Texas.
  • Found also near southern of Iowa.

Breeding

  • Mating happened from April to May every year. 

Nesting

  • Egg-bearing.
  • They lay 8 to 18 eggs per clutch.
  • Eggs are Laid from June to July.
  • Eggs hatched from August to September.

Size

  • Hatchling: 7 to 9 inches inches long.
  • Adult: Up to 42 inches long.

Life Span

  • They can live up to 15 years or more.

Prairie Kingsnake Food and Feeding

  • They normally eat rodents, mice, birds, bird eggs, snakes, frogs, lizards and reptile eggs.
  • As their name implied, as kingsnake, they eat venomous snake and yet immune to the venom.
  • If you have a Prairie Kingsnake as a pet, you need to provide a bowl of clean water in the enclosure.

Natural Habitat

  • They live in open grassland and field with dry soil at the forest edges.
  • However, sometimes they are found in pastures and sand prairies.
  • That is the main reason they are named as Prairie.
  • Their habitat is always near the source of water.

Mexican Black Kingsnake

Mexican Black Kingsnake
Mexican Black Kingsnake

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Mexican Black Kingsnake is Lampropeltis getula nigrita.

General Information

  • This is a non-venomous type of snake.
  • It has beautiful shiny black scales throughout the whole body.
  • It is easy to tame and keep in captivity, hence suitable as a pet snake for beginner snake enthusiasts.
  • This species is one of the popular snakes in the pet industry.
  • They are docile and easy to handle.
  • They are nocturnal animals, it means that they are active at night.

Distribution

  • Most Mexican Black Kingsnakes are found in Sonora, north western of Mexico.
  • However, some of them can be seen in southern Arizona.

Breeding

  • The breeding season of the snakes is between March and June.

Nesting

  • There are 6 to 12 eggs laid per clutch.
  • The eggs incubation period is about 65 to 82 days at 27°C to 28°C.
  • The size of each hatchling is around 18 cm to 20 cm.

Size

  • This is a modest size snake.
  • The adult snake can grow up to 4 feet long.

Life Span

  • In the wild, the snake can live up to 15 years.

Mexican Black Kingsnake Food and Feeding

  • Naturally Mexican Black Kingsnake eats other reptiles such as lizard, bird, rodent, or amphibians such as frog and toad.
  • Like other kingsnakes, they eat other venomous and non-venomous snakes.
  • In captivity, you should feed the snake with a raised mice around 4 to 6 days.

Habitat and Enclosure Housing Requirements

  • In the nature, the snakes live in dry areas of semi-desert mountainous area.
  • The snake is an ophiophagus animal, it should be housed separately with other snakes in captivity.
  • The housing day temperature should be kept at 26°C to 32°C.
  • While the night temperature needs to be set at 21°C to 24°C range.
  • Try to keep the humidity low.

Common Disease

  • It’s unknown to us at the moment.
  • However, we will update the care sheet we do a further study on this. 

Other Information about Mexican Black Kingsnake

  • If you would like to have s Mexican Black Kingsnake as pet, it is a good practice to get a captive snake as pet since they are more docile and easy to handle. 

Speckled Kingsnake

Speckled Kingsnake
Speckled Kingsnake

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of this snake is known as Lampropeltis getulua holbrooki

Description

  • It is always known as “salt-and-pepper” snake.
  • Their names are Guinea Snake and Say’s Kingsnake.
  • They have smooth and shiny scales.
  • Unique light yellowish spots are covering the whole black or dark brown body.
  • In wild, it behaves more aggressively than other species of kingsnakes.
  • It is recommended to keep captive speckled kingsnake as pet, the wild tends to be more aggressive even though it may be tamed with frequent handling.
  • They are non-venomous species, and immuned to venomous snakes.

Distribution

  • The snakes can be found in the Southern Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico as well as the South Western Alabama.

Breeding

  • They take approximate 2 – 3 years to become adult snakes.

Nesting

  • The matured adult snakes lay 6 to 15 eggs per clutch.
  • The eggs take 8 weeks to hatch.

Size

  • Adult size: Up to 50 inches.

Life Span

  • They live up to 25 years.

Speckled Kingsnake Food and Feeding

  • The main source of food is mainly rodents.
  • The snake also eats other snakes, frogs, lizards, small mice and birds.

Natural Habitat

  • They are often found in marshes, prairies, pastures, wetlands, woodlands, farms, swampy areas, open fields or bottomland hardwood forests.
  • Most likely near water.

Other Information for Pet Lovers

  • It is recommended to keep captive bred Speckled kingsnake as they are docile.
  • Many speckled kingsnakes in the pet market today are captive bred.

Eastern Kingsnake

Eastern Kingsnake
Eastern Kingsnake

Scientific Name

  • Eastern kingsnake’s scientific name is Lampropeltis getula getula.

Description

  • It is also known as Common Kingsnake or Chain Kingsnake.
  • They have smooth and shiny scales
  • You may find black colour with yellowish spots or bands on the back and sides of the snake.

Distribution

  • Throughout the eastern of United States.

Breeding

  • Mating happened in the spring.

Nesting

  • Eggs are laid in June or July.
  • The incubation period is about 60 to 75 days.
  • 10 to 18 eggs per clutch.

Size

  • Adult size of the snakes are around 35 inches to 50 inches.

Life Span

The snakes live up to 10 to 15 years.

Eastern Kingsnake Food and Feeding

  • Similar to other kingsnake, Eastern Kingsnake eat other snakes, including venomous snakes.
  • Other food sources are rodents, birds, eggs, and lizards.

Snake Habitat

  • Most likely found at the wetlands.
  • Hardwood forest, pine forest, mixed pine-hardwood forest, margins of hardwood swamps and freshwater marshes, and along creeks and streams.
  • Commonly seen at terrestrial areas.

Grey Banded Kingsnake

Grey Banded Kingsnake
Grey Banded Kingsnake

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Grey Banded Kingsnake is Lampropeltis alterna

Description

  • This snake is also known as Davis Mountain kingsnake.
  • This is a non-venomous and calm species.
  • The snakes are colourful, with alternating colour bands with grey band in between.
  • They are nocturnal animals, means that they are active at night.

Distribution

  • These beautiful snakes are found in Trans-Pecos-Chihuahuan desert.
  • Western Texas and Northern Mexico.
  • The snakes inhabit in dry and hot areas.

Breeding

  • In wild, breed after hibernation.

Nesting

  • About 30 days after breeding.
  • 4 to 14 eggs are laid per clutch.
  • 55 to 60 days of incubation.

Size

  • Hatchlings are about 8 to 12 inches long.
  • Adult size of the snake is about 20 to 48 inches long.

Life Span

  • The snakes live up to 20 to 25 years.

Grey Banded Kingsnake Food and Feeding

  • They are not easy to feed, specially the hatchlings.
  • Newly born pinkies should be fine to be fed on hatchlings.
  • In wild, food resources are rodents, lizards, frogs, eggs and other snakes.
  • In captivity, pinkies and lizards are recommended by the pet hobbyists.
  • 4 to 7 days feeding frequency.
  • Small clean fresh water bowl is needed.

Snake Habitat and Vivarium Housing

  • The habitat of the snake is located at semi-humid climate area.
  • They inhabit at the rocky area, canyon, desert flats, cliffs and mountainous areas.
  • Hiding box should be provided in captivity.

Common Disease

  • Respiratory problems may be resulted in high humidity.
  • Humidity should be kept low all time.

More Snake information

  • The calm characteristic, colourful, and small size make them popular in exotic pet community.

Florida Kingsnake

Florida Kingsnake
Florida Kingsnake

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Florida Kingsnake is Lampropeltis getula floridana. 

Description

  • One of the beautiful medium size non-venomous snakes.
  • Smooth scales with chain-like pattern.
  • Yellow cross-banded with black or dark brown body.
  • Tame with regular handling, and they seldom bite.

Distribution

  • As the name implied, they are found in Florida, and Southern of United States.

Breeding

  • Many successful breedings have been successfully done in captivity.
  • Sexual maturity of the snakes is about 2 years.

Nesting

  • They lay 2 to 30 eggs per clutch.
  • The eggs hatch after 60 – 90 days of incubation.

Size

  • They size of the hatchlings is about 5 to 8 inches.
  • The adult snakes are measured around 35 to 50 inches.

Life Span

  • The lifespan of the snakes is about 10 – 15 years.

Florida Kingsnake Food

  • Florida Kingsnake eats small rodents, lizards, eggs, and birds.
  • Other snakes, including venomous snakes are they preys as well. 

Natural Habitat

  • Cypress ponds
  • Pineland
  • Prairies
  • Marshes
  • Oak hammocks
  • Sugar cane plantations
  • grassland near pond
  • swampy area

General Information on Enclosure Setup

  • This snake needs moderate humidity.
  • Always keep the vivarium at the level of humidity if you keep it as pet.
  • Deep bowl of water needed for snake soaking and drinking.