Ball Python Concerns-young new owner looking for advice

Hi everyone! My 11 year old got a new ball python, banana pied, about 5 weeks ago, his name is Filbert and he is about 5 months old. She has some concerns and I have found this community to be so helpful that I encouraged her to ask her questions/voice her concerns here.

Just to give the setup info: He lives in a 50 gallon glass enclosure, bioactive substrate with lots of live plants and several enrichment objects; two hides one on hot end, one on cool end; ambient temp between 81-85, hot end about 90-91 and cool end about 78-81; humidity has been a bit hard to control but we now have consistency of 60-70%, he eats rat fuzzies every seven days but at his check up a few weeks ago vet said he looks a little skinny so we fed him two fuzzies after that and are beginning rat pups this week.

Here are her questions/concerns:

  1. He doesn’t come out anymore. I use to see him come out every night as soon as his lights went out and he could climb on his tree but he hasn’t come out in about 3 weeks, he pokes his head out every now and then.
  2. I have not seen him shed yet.
  3. I don’t know if he has pooped, it’s hard to find in the substrate.

Thanks everyone!!


It sounds like y’all really did your research when getting ready for him, so huge props to you. All of his enclosure specs sound really good - I personally do a hotspot 88-90 degrees but I know plenty of people do a little higher and have no issues.

First things first - how big is he? We generally measure ball python weight in grams and we also look at overall body condition (how they appear). I absolutely will say vets do know their stuff generally, but with exotics vets it’s hit-or-miss and there’s a lot of misinformation out there that can be confusing to navigate. For instance, the breeding side of the hobby has normalized overweight snakes, especially females, and there are a lot of fat ball pythons in the world. We really don’t need to feed them in capivity as often most people do, but overweight animals have been normalized as the standard so many people may look at a ball python and see a ‘skinny’ animal when in fact it’s very healthy. In my experience, younger snakes appear skinnier than adults for two primary reasons: they haven’t been eating for enough time to build up the nutritional reserve that older snakes have, and they also are new to the world so a lot of the bulk snakes get as they age is muscle raher than fat, and that’s something he will develop the more he grows. If you were able to weigh him on a gram scale (or if the vet weighed him and you remember the number) that could help us reassure you about his weight, and it would also be incredibly helpful if you were able to take a couple of pictures of him to show what his body condition looks like!

In terms of behavior, I don’t think it’s worrisome at all that you’re not seeing him at the moment. The first couple of weeks he was there he probably did a lot of exploring around the enclosure - figuring out his new “territory,” exploring its boundaries, probably a bit stressed in a brand new environment which may have caused heightened activity. Now he’s likely in the “settling in” phase, which means he’s getting accustomed to his new environment and resting. I’m guessing that the longer he’s with you and the more you interact with him (cleaning, feeding, changing water, handling) the more you will likely see him out. The other possibility is that he’s getting closer to shed, and when in shed they can be more reclusive, hide more, and be more grumpy. This should pass after his shed cycle.

I think the possibility he’ll shed soon is pretty likely, given that you’ve had him for five weeks and in my experies babies and young juveniles tend to sed once every month to month and a half. In shed I would recommend bumping his humidity up to closer to 70-80%, and you can achieve this a few different ways - I find it’s easiest to bump humidity by pouring water directly into the substrate rather than spraying the enclosure. You could also create a humid hide - take one of his existing hides, put sphagnum moss under it and spray the moss directly so he has a higher humidity part of the environment with which to regulate his own humidity.

As for the pooping, I wouldn’t be worried about that either! Not only are snakes good at hiding poop (I’ve found it in some weird places) but if you’ve got a bioactive substrate, your cleanup crew is likely on top of it. Snakes can get constipaed but as long as your temp/humidity is in the green zone it’s rarely an issue. Also imporant to remember they have a much slower metabolism than mammals. My ball pythons will poop anywhere from once a week to once every couple of months. As long as you don’t visibly notice swelling near the cloaca or changes in behavior (lethargy, not eating, etc.) he’s likely doing just fine. If it helps, I have around 30 ball pythons and I don’t track poops for a single one of them. :slight_smile:

Sorry, quite a long response, lol. Best of luck with your new pet! He sounds like a sweetie. I have a banana pied, too - a girl named Pandora. I’d love to see pictures of y’all’s boy, and we can give you better advice about feeding based on the body condition as well.


@inspirationexotics basically has you covered!
As far as some extra reassuring…

If you are still concerned about the weight, a good guideline to follow when they are young is to feed 10% of their body weight as a meal every 7 or so days for a young hatchling. After a year you can re-evaluate the body condition and ease back to every 14 days and see how that does. As mentioned, many people tend to think overweight BPs are normal and healthy…lean males are perfectly fine when they’re adults

For a young snake, they do tend to poop more often, but with a bioactive that big for a young snake, they may be getting cleaned up pretty quick. You might just find some of the white urates from time to time until the snake is larger (and the bioactive may have trouble keeping up). If your little one is due to shed soon, a lot of ball pythons will wait to leave you a poop filled skin when they’re done, so that can be the case here as well.

I’m not worried about the little one hiding. BPs are ambush hunters and generally fairly shy by nature, so especially if going into shed… but he may just end up with a more quiet homebody personality. This is still a good thing. The one you do not want is having him out in the open and striking at everything. This is a defensive response and means your snake is VERY STRESSED.


Thank you so much for your reply!!! This is incredibly helpful and reassuring. Especially about the poop, I think one of her favorites parts about setting this up his enclosure was adding in the clean up crew. We last weighed him on the 19th and he was 167grams. I will try to add a photo so you can see how he looks.



What a beautiful little guy :two_hearts:
I love love love the name too!

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Just curious. Is he camped out on the cool side or the hot side? If he stays on the cool side all the time then he is probably too hot. Imo, your temps are way too hot. 85 to 88 is ideal for bps. Humidity 50 to 60 %. When in shed 70 to 80%.

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So….we checked on him after dinner and noticed he was no longer in his warm hide. We picked it up and found both his shed and poop! He is now hanging out in the cool side hide. We will be adjusting the temps and humidity now that he has shed. Thank you all so much.


That’s great news!

Everything sounds great but with humidity, I would recommend lowering it a bit closer to 50-60% and increasing it to 70-80% during shed. The temps are perfect as it is a very large enclosure for such a small little guy. Once he gets closer to adult size, you may want to lower the hot side to 86-90 as it is a lot more space when small compared to a larger snake.


I really cant add anything that has already been said. I donhabe to agree thst the temps are a little high. We kepp it around 86 on the hot side. This allowes some flexibility if it would happen to spike. Keeping it at 90 leaves no room for issues. Other then that, you received some good advice already. Feel free to ask more and check out other posts foe more information. This is a great place to get and give help and not get shamed or talked down to. Welcome and enjoy.


You’ve already been reassured by numerous other folks but based on this picture, I don’t think you need to worry at all about him being skinny, he looks very healthy to me! Glad he shed and pooped. :blush:

I personally have found that 50-60% humidity is too low and I keep all of mine at a minimum of 65, but you can definitely find what works best for you and him. As long as she sheds in one piece, your humidity is where it needs to be.


Just a handy hack from one newer owner to another:

A really good way to Weigh your snake is to have a cloth bag you can get him into, then use a luggage weigher scale to hang the bag on. I got mine online. Finnley now has a cotton bag I decal’ed his name onto for weighing checkups. I bought that on Etsy. (that one ties at the neck with the string but the one I have for my tiny snake is a zipper closure because frankly he can squeeze out of a drawstring closure.)

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