BP personalities

I’m new to snakes. Ironically I’m a dog trainer, that specializes in aggression. My question is on snake personalities. My girl is a rescue. Got her from her third home, because she was a biter. For whatever reason she liked me, and was in horrible conditions, so I rescued her. Finally got in contact w the local reptile store my friend got her from. Took her in w me, and he remembered Atti. She had been in 3 homes before me, bc she is a biter. She has never offered to bite me, but still strikes at anyone else. My question is ppl keep saying I need to “socialize” her. She is in good health, not stressed. Husbandry is good. She is young, hatched last Sept. To me, it just seems her personality is just not social. Is there any good reason to try and force her to be more accepting of others?

Few things about BP

Young Ball Pythons tend to be defensive and see people as predators, they grow out of this as they get bigger and older.

They do sense people that may not be comfortable with them.

Heat and scent may also trigger that behavior.

They are wild animals and expectations should not be the same as owning a dog or a cat, they may tolerate interaction and handling but it is really is for the human enjoyment not theirs.

In my experience leaving them alone and watching their body language is key she will eventually grow out of this stage they all do.


I kinda figured the reason she is comfortable w me, is bc I was never scared of her. Worst thing that happens is she bites me, and that is really not a big deal. She is fine w me. Just defensive w others, so I don’t let a lot of others around, bc she doesn’t like it. Thanks for the info. I can see how these guys can be addictive. :grinning:

One point I’ll add is snakes aren’t “socialized”, they just tend to stop acting defensively when they don’t feel threatened. This tends to happen with just proper husbandry and the bigger they grow the less threatening we seem. Each snake will have its own personality. I have bps I can hand to kids and bps that would be in my best interest to use a snake hook to handle. They do their own thing.


@nikie I don’t think they are that smart…BPs would definitely be animals I would categorize as “instinctive,” but not very “intelligent.” I don’t think there is the same ability as dogs horses etc have to sense your stress or fear level lol.
But truthfully exactly what all is going on in their little brains is a mystery, every now and then a reptile study comes out and it’s interesting to see what new tidbit people have found out.
Hope she is getting better!

@thecrawdfather I think BPs are extremely intelligent. My first ball python, Penny, has learned his name. When I say it, regardless of where he is in his tank (usually in his cold hide) he’ll either poke his head out to look at me, or turn his head towards me. He has also learned that when I click my feedings tongs together that it’s feeding time. If he’s hiding and he hears the three clicks, he’ll come out from wherever he’s at and wait for the rat. I didn’t think BPs were that intellegent, or had any real intellegence to begin with, but that was before I owned Penny - and he seems to be the smartest one out of my current four snakes.

Margo is the spawn of the devils serpent. She hates my guts with a thousands suns. Goes for me EVERY chance she gets. She’ll follow me with her eyes, regardless if someone is right in front of her, she’ll instinctively follow me. She knows her name. She’ll turn when I say it. I thought maybe it was my voice, and that was a trigger for her to turn and look at me, so I tested it with my husband. She’ll turn to him when she hears “Margo”. I just figured that is her personality, and if she eventually tags me - she tags me. I think she’s also a very intelligent snake. She’s very observant. She is starting to understand the tong clicks, and when I open her tub she doesn’t just leap out at me anymore. If she see the tongs, she’ll actually wait.

Luna is terrified of the world and hasn’t shown any sign of intelligence, and Oliver is a curious snake. I’ve only had them for two weeks now, but I think if anyone will learn their name or the tongs it will be Oliver. However I don’t think those two will actually learn it, but one can hope. I never meant to click the tongs three times for feeding, but it’s something I would normally do with a clicker and a dog.

I believe each BP has their own personality. I think they can be smart, but also extremely stupid. It depends on the snake really, but I wouldn’t throw out that they aren’t “intelligent” completely. Maybe it’s just me reading WAY too much into my snakes, but it happens more than a few times for me to swipe it away as a coincidence.

Also if anyone is interested in Margo she’s free to a good home. She’s such a demon :rofl:
(jk I’ve invested way too much anxiety and stress into that snake to let her go already)

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The rats you feed your BP are significantly more intelligent than a BP lol. And no he can’t recognize his name :joy::joy:
I do agree they have some personality to them but as I said, they’re much more instinctive than intelligent.

I DID hear awhile back that there was some recent study that suggested that they may be able to hear a bit? Or more than previously thought? Not sure if anyone else knows more about what I’m referencing…but the common assumption has always been they more feel/sense vibrations than “hear” right?
(And yes before you science buffs come for me I am aware that hearing is technically sensing vibration but you guys know what I mean lol.)
But let’s be real if hearing clicks and knowing it’s feeding time makes an animal “extremely intelligent,” that’s a REALLY low bar lol. A goldfish can learn that.


@thecrawdfather Your right, snakes don’t seem to hear as we do, more feel the vibrations. Just incase you wanted to read up on snakes hearing here are some links I saved.

http://www.anapsid.org/snakehearing.html 2014

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.livescience.com/amp/32252-do-snakes-have-ears.html 2012

https://jeb.biologists.org/content/215/2/ii 2012

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080221105350.htm 2008

https://www.google.com/amp/s/phys.org/news/2008-05-snakes-stereo.amp 2008

Different snakes are used in different experiments but I think generally they are the same hearing wise. Although, @akirby91 depending on your set up/voice/acoustics/ many other facters, you could be producing frequencies that are triggering your snakes attention.


@eagleboas I do think it’s really interesting even doing studies on less “intelligent” animals because sometimes the stuff we learn about brain function is so subtle we would have never found it out otherwise.
Don’t get me wrong it’s fascinating to watch an octopus or magpie solve advanced puzzles but still…I nerd out on the snake study stuff just as much lol.


I saw a few snakes solving mazes and you would be surprised at how quick they will find their way out (when they are finished just chilling in the maze enjoying it :joy:). If little studies were never done then a lot of animals would have died by now from random small things.

The breeders we watch and the guys we read about on here don’t realised the importance of every bit of information that they give, even when they are just saying it passing or just personal experience… It all adds up to a greater study eventually and can be referenced by billions of people.
The new morphs and combos, no matter how subtle, are new areas of learning for us, they are the future breeders staring points. They are paving the way for the future of the hobby and the interest it generates.
The sciences behind reptiles and plants are the loves of my life and I could spend all my days being suprised by them.

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^ he knows what I’m talking about @thecrawdfather - it’s my voice, the sound of an angel :angel: :rofl:

edit; my snakes the smartest snake that ever snaked okay


@akirby91 you win :joy: hey whether he’s instinctive or intelligent if your snakes happy I’m happy lol



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If no one else is going to handle her, then no, she does not really need to be “socialized.” Regardless, I would still give her regular handling and practice things like stretching her out, touching her head, etc. There’s always a possibility you’ll need to bring her to the vet, and if the snake is not used to poking and prodding from anyone at all, it’s going to be way more stressful that it already would be. If you have a head shy snake needing to be looked at for mouth rot (god forbid)…well good luck.

That being said, when I working for the zoo back in college, we tamed down everything from skinks and geckos to snakes and monitors for the education department. You can 100% “train” reptiles to be handleable, but unless you’re working with monitors or tegus, it won’t be positive reinforcement based like you’d use with a mammal. Training in less intelligent reptiles pretty much boils down to habituation and desensitization, which you can do either via flooding or take a more gradual build-up approach. With enough time, patience, and consistency, most reptiles can be tamed down.

Except wild caught tokay geckos. Seriously we should militarize those things.


@thecrawdfather @eaglereptiles



Nice try not getting me with your trap links!


I took a bullet… It’s not a trap link :stuck_out_tongue:


:joy::joy: I’ll say he definitely looks like a happy snake if anything.

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Yeah, not a trap link at all :joy:

@akirby91 I gave ya a follow!