Buying a BP with a recent RI

Just looking for a little advice. Experienced colubrid guy here, but fairly new to BPs. Here’s my situation:

I purchased a multi-gene BP here on MM in mid May. Two weeks ago, on May 21, got a call from the seller saying when he went to check on the animal he noticed some swelling in the face, and upon further examination it was found to have a respiratory infection. He asked what I wanted to do. Initially I asked to be refunded, but after some conversation I agreed to let him treat the snake and keep me posted.

Two days ago, on May 31, I had a voice mail from the seller saying that the RI seems to be gone, that he had gotten some antibiotics just in case but never had to administer them, and that he just wants to get one more meal into the animal and we can talk about shipping.

I’m VERY leery of taking this animal. In my experience, RIs can be stubborn and not easy to permanently treat under the best circumstances. In this case, with an animal which recently had a severe enough RI to cause facial swelling and which is about to go through the stress of shipping, I just don’t have a great feeling about the purchase any more.

On the other hand, the seller was honest about it when he discovered the RI, and has kept me posted through the process. And the genes in this female would be nice to have.

Just super torn on whether to go through with this transaction. Being new to BPs, maybe RIs are easier to treat in them than I am used to in colubrids. Maybe I’m just overreacting. But I don’t want to buy trouble right off the bat. I just don’t know. Any advice from folks experienced in BP RIs would be greatly appreciated!

Not knowing or seeing the snake then and now, I would follow your gut. The seller being honest with you about the health before they shipped, was a very good move. But you following your feelings is still the best thing to do. Taking advice from other is not always the best option. You could see if the seller will work with you for a certain amount of time if it’s health would change after shioping, or even delay the shipping for a month and see what the health is then, if you really want it.


Personally after speaking to MANY breeders recently with ri issues.

I would not touch, they also are not easier to treat and have wiped out many of their collection.
Also many have had them for over a year, looked better too, came back and then they died…

So me, myself.
I would say no, do not risk it.


In my experience an RI that’s serious enough to show symptoms will not go away without antibiotics. This hobby had a bad habit of forgoing vet care based on the excuse that most vets don’t know how to treat reptiles.

Without testing there is no way to know if the animal is/was suffering from nidovirus or paramyxovirus or if it was just bacterial infection. Bacterial is generally no big deal if doesn’t stew in the animal long term and do secondary damage. It still requires treatment by a veterinarian however to ensure it’s cleared up.

For me it would be a no on this animal. Granted I say that from a position of having a whole room full of ball pythons and I don’t know how bad you want this specific animal.

Another thing to keep in mind is that none of our collections are ‘clean’. Viruses and bacteria that your snakes are adapted to, can wipe out another collection and vice versa.


I personally in the best interest of the snake, I would not follow through. Stress weakens the immune system making it even more likely for it to come back. The fact that he didn’t give it the antibiotics seems a little red flag to me. It probably needs a round or 2 of antibiotics, swap to make sure the antibiotics he is using will work and a few months of recovery. He also needs to check his husbandry, we all make mistakes in this area so please I am not criticizing him at all. I have and the snake paid the ultimate price, I learned fixed it all and haven’t had an issue since.


Personally this is one of my big red flags that I look for when purchasing a new animal. So absolutely under no circumstance would I ever purchase this animal. I know it sounds rough, but now I have a collection to risk, definitely worth waiting this one out for me.