How to tell if my BP is stressed

Just getting into Ball pythons and bought a gorgeous sub-adult male Pied Het Clown. He’s beautiful and the seller said he’s never even attempted to strike at her. When I opened the bag yesterday he shot out and pulled my glasses off my face. I know he was really stressed from shipping. He was sold to me as 307 grams but I think he’s more like 500. Was so excited I didn’t weight him before I opened the bag. Yesterday he spent most of the day in a ball at the back of his hide. Could barely seem when I peaked inside. This morning he was snaked out like a couple of S’s stacked on top of each other. Does that mean he’s more comfortable/confident this morning? He wasn’t striking just kind of chilling. The temperature is a constant 90 degrees on the warm side. It was too dark to read on the cool side. Humidity was at 65%. Thanks.

You need to give him 5-7 days as undisturbed as possible to acclimate. What does your enclosure look like? He should be pretty much hidden during the day and maybe come out at night if he is like most ball pythons.

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So far that’s the case. He was completely hidden in the hide yesterday after he settled down. I get up at 4:00 a.m. to head to work. When I lifted the drape to look inside, he was stretched out with half his body in the hide. The enclosure is completely covered with a drape. Really only peaked to check the temps. Getting a wifi camera this weekend so I can see inside without lifting anything. I think the enclosure is too big but will be getting a rack soon. The hide seems to fit him perfectly.

If he is out wondering around a couple days after being brought to a new enclosure, there is a chance he might not feel secure in his surroundings. If you disturb him while he is hiding/acclimating then this can happen. They need at least a week to settle in, some even need a full month. It all depends on the snake.

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There’s lots of ways they can exhibit stress and some of the behavior could mean stress for one bp and not for another, so it can be tricky to assume what is stress and you’ll make yourself overthink if you do that.

Boiled down very simply a healthy and “happy” ball python hides, eats, and poops. If he does those things then you’re on the right track.

I cringe a little when people start interpreting activity like slithering a certain way and say their snake is happy or angry wants to play…stuff like that because that’s not how their brains work.

But really it sounds like you’re doing great he was probably stressed from the trip like you said. I would give him at least 5 days (just my rule of thumb) before handling, and give him fresh water every night or every other night for the first week.

Sounds like a beautiful animal! Congrats!

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Thanks. We’ll be giving him his privacy. He was really wandering around yesterday for an hour or two then retreated to the hide. I decided to cover him. When I peaked in he was in the hide and out of site. This morning he wasn’t really wandering just unballed with his head out. He’s got plenty of water and I’ve got the prob where I can see the temperature so we’ll leave him alone until next Tuesday.

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That will be really good. You’re gonna do great. After that you can do some handling then maybe offer a meal the next day or so and hopefully you can check the eating box off and you’re off and running.

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Personally my girl who’s nearly two is active every night, usually roaming or making designs in the mist her humidifier leaves on the side of her tank. I don’t think there’s ever a thing as a “tank to big” as long as you provide adequate heat, humidity, and cover. If the snake is eating, pooping, having healthy normal sheds, and not out at odd hours (middle of the day for instance) then the occasional wander is nothing to worry about.

Give your snake a week of 100% undisturbed solitude (checking Temps and water only) and then try and feed them.

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For some BPs there could definitely be a tank too big. Depends on the snake. Adding more cover can definitely help, but some just won’t do as well in a big enclosure. Why it’s important to judge each animal individually.

Hide. Eat. Poop. Shed. Repeat. :slight_smile:


When I first brought home Penny he lunged for me after my husband took him out of the bag. I wanted nothing to do with him after that. We put him in his tank (that was setup to shit) and during that week he got use to me adding stuff like clutter and a new heat source, and multiple hides I kept switching out. Overall he did very good at adjusting. He’ll poke his head out now to see what we’re doing.

The back of his tank is blacked out completely on three sides and I just switched him over to reptichip since that seems to be the “in” thing at this point in time. Overall he never really tried to strick at us again (he did at my husband on the second day we had him for adjusting something in his tank) but that’s been the only time.

That snakes has been through a lot (having an owner like me is already stressful) but he’s been nothing but a puppy dog now. You know your snake is stressed when they hiss, strike, or are breathing extremely deep. That’s when I know to leave them be. I go by their breathing as my first indicator.


Although they are exotic reptiles and have nothing in common with puppy dogs physically or emotionally I get what you’re saying. Lol. Anthony’s pet peeve. :upside_down_face:

Yawning can be a stress thing too if it’s not after feeding. I tried to give one of mine a bath the other night even though I know there’s zero need and she balled up in the water then started yawning so I took her out of there right away and I’m never doing that again lol.


Why you bath? Stuck shed?

Soaking can help with stuck sheds or snakes that seem dehydrated. If you have a snake that is impacted or sick sometimes a nice warm soak helps them poo or make sure they are getting moisture. Several reasons someone could soak a snake.

Yeah I’ve never had a bad shelf with any of mine but it has been getting drier and drier with winter coming on so I thought I might try one but I don’t see the need at this point not worth the extra stress. In general it’s not necessary if they feel they need to they’re perfectly capable of soaking themselves I prefer to shoot for good husbandry not intervening to “help out.”

My snakes will not be dehydrated or have stuck shed if I keep with good husbandry.

(Tho I totally get with a rescue or new animal there may be other circumstances.)

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Our Ball has already had one crappy shed and we soaked her in some warm water. But it wasn’t a bath but a couple of cheap white dish towels that were soaked in the relatively warm water and put them and her in a sealed container for 30 min. She didn’t seem stressed and the “sauna” had her stuck shed off by that morning.

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If I ever have a bad shed I’ll use that method, sounds like it works really well. I really think I should have done that instead of a couple of inches of water in a bucket I should know better.

Just not personally a fan of regular bath times Etc. or some stuff I have seen on Facebook groups where people are literally putting them in “swimming” situations and even say they “love” it.
Totally asenine lol.

The sauna method is a really good idea I’m going to use that if I ever need to thanks.

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Nah I never dunk any of my snakes in water. It’s always a nice warm sauna in a sealed container with enough room for them to move in. Most snakes I have know exactly what it is for and waste no time using it to their advantage. Even my sand boas who hate any sort of depth of water seem to know when it’s sauna time.

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I have moss in case something like stuck shed happens, but I haven’t experienced any yet thankfully!


We actually put in a small electric humidifier that we run twice a day on six hour cycles for our ball during the winter. Often times she comes to drink the mist that collects on the side of the tank. But even with it things aren’t always perfect.