So I was sold a adult female ghost (hypo) ball python, she’s been fine but as of the past few days had a severe wobble, I’m nervous as I haven’t read that this morph has a wobble at all… any suggestions?
Severe temps (too hot, too cold) can cause neurological damage. Did anything happen recently? Thermostat malfunction, or even mite treatment? Some chemicals can also cause neurological damage
Everything has been fairly consistent as far as that goes, the only recent change has been switch from coco fiber to a mix of coco and aspen
She’s still eating and acting normal other than the wobble. Should I be worried about it?
Can you add a picture of the enclosure along with temperatures and humidity?
I’m not currently home right now unfortunately, she’s in a 40 quart rack with a mix of aspen, coconut fiber and a bit of sphagnum moss. The humidity is typically around 50% and her heat tape is set to 91%
Have you taken temperature readings with a thermometer or infrared temperature gun?
I haven’t lately, let me go do that
So the cool side is 85 and the warm side was 93
Those temperatures are way too hot. The hotspot should be no more than 90* or it can cause neurological problems (which is likely the cause of the wobble). Turn it down so it’s at least no more than 90*, I’d recommend 87-88*.
Shoot, thank you! So as for this girl, what do I do for her?
All you can really do is decrease the temperature and hope for the best. Stress can also be a factor so if the wobble doesn’t go away covering the clear front of the tub might help (I would wait to do this until after you know if the temperature decrease helped).
A 93 degree hotspot should not cause neurological issues. Extreme temps (maybe around 100+) for extended periods of time, unable to escape, is what causes neurological issues. I see 93 recommended a lot for treatment of RIs or even just as basic hotspots. It is on the higher end of recommended hotspots, but it’s nothing extreme
Often what I see says that >90* causes issues (which likely varies on the individual snake and environment). If the snake was in those high temperatures for a long time then it would increase the likelihood that this is the problem. Each snake is different and what might affect one snake might not affect another. From what I’ve read snakes do better at lower temperatures (85-87*) so lowering the temperatures can’t hurt, it’s worth a try.
It will only cause issues if they cannot escape those temperatures. Of course there are exceptions with individuals who do prefer lower temperatures which can cause a change in temperament, but it will not cause neurological issues. I do agree that lowering temps won’t hurt and is worth a try
In the mean time, I would do everything you can to lower stress. Add hides, clutter, no handling unless absolutely necessary. I would even take her to the vet to narrow down any possibilities. I would also switch to paper towels in case there might be something in the substrate that’s causing her issues. Have you used any cleaner recently in the tub? Maybe even something in the room, not necessarily in direct contact with her
I agree, lowering stress would help. However it might be best just to stick with a phone consultation for the vet (unless they think it’s necessary to bring the snake in). Taking the snake in would be stressful and I’m not sure how helpful it would be to bring the snake in (the vet can provide information over the phone and seeing the snake likely wouldn’t change that).
To add to the possibility of chemicals there are lots of things that could cause issues. Mite prevention, cleaning products, pet flea treatments, candles, scents. They wouldn’t even have to be in the same room to possibly cause harm (depending on what it is).
I kept my snakes at 94 for a few years as that was what the caresheet I read at the time said. Highly unlikely temps are the issue. However the temps should be lowered to 86-88 on the hot spot, in my experience ball pythons just do much better in that range just observing behavior, feeding response, breeding, ect.
Get your husbandry on point as best you can, check the suggestions above. Clean everything (with soap and water) Maybe see if she’s sensitive to one of the substrates. if the wobble still persists. I’d assume it’s permanent probably from a previous overheating or mite treatment. It’s rare outside of the known wobble morphs but they can just be born with it. Ive had a normal or 2 wobble. You’ll probably never know the reason honestly. If they are eating and behaving normal (short of the wobble) I don’t think you have anything to worry about, if you’re plans were to breed it’s highly unlikely to be genetic. Enjoy your quirky snake.
The one observation I have here is the snake appears to be keeping its mouth open. It may just be when then picture was taken but a snake that’s keeps it’s mouth open constantly usually there is an underlying cause.
That’s a good observation. Do you think it could be from overheating? The only reason I say this is because I think most lizards (like bearded dragons) keep their mouth open when basking.
Usually that’s a sign of a respiratory infection in snakes.