Keeping Ball Pythons as pets... Are we right?

I agree with you on this point 100%, just arguing that it is a slippery slope and not entirely black and white to determine which animals are considered domesticated vs wild animals in captivity. Which ones are thriving vs surviving? I think everyone here agrees that ball pythons are thriving in captivity, but are Anacondas? Tegus seem to be doing great, but what about the guy in my hometown who h as three alligators in his basement in the mountains of Northern PA (not kidding here)?

This is arguably the worst argument I have ever heard, plopping domesticated ball pythons back in the wild is not a band-aid for demolishing natural populations. While undoubtedly the ball pythons that have been in captivity for generations are very similar to the ones found in the wild, generations of selective breeding and husbandry have undoubtedly contributed to genetic drift from wild populations. They may have less resistance to parasites, starvation and no fear of natural predators. Snakes that have been fed F/T or even live pet store mice/rats may not know how to hunt for themselves, and individuals that show unique coloring or patterns are at a higher rate of death by predator.


Not to mention that we could just as easily introduce pathogens into wild populations of not only BPs, but animals that eat them. That is why if I were to go out and catch a garter snake and keep it for longer than 6 months, I would not be allowed to release it. Protecting wild populations is better than removing them only to try and repopulate later with potential disastrous results. I personally don’t see why people still even import BPs given the thousands upon thousands that we have captive bred.


You’re 100% right. I love ball pythons and see nothing wrong with raising and breeding them in captivity, but I think we also need to do our part to ensure the survival of wild populations as well. It seems hypocritical otherwise to see people talking about how much they love their ball pythons but not caring if the species in the wild is decimated. We should be an advocate for the species as a whole.


Well although I dont agree that we could just reintroduce captive ball pythons to the wild it has been done with many species of animals, just look at fish hatcheries for example. I also see it as it being our responsibility to maintain a species population so if we must raise a certain species to be released back into the wild then so be it because without doing so it could cause decline in that population and possibly extinction. My whole point being that the existence of a species survival is on us because we are the ones dominating the planet and hundreds if not thousands of animals go extinct because of us every year so if we must save them by means of releasing some back into the wild then I am all for it. Will some of those animals die? Yes, yes they will but many will survive as well and go on to reproduce.

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Spot on.

Making mars hospitable is a ten million times harder job than saving the planet we already have…

Repopulation would also lead keepers to think “I don’t want my snake anymore, I’ll just set it free for the good of the species”… Look at the Everglades.

Known snake catchers claim that they release 10% back into the wild.
So they catch a pregnant female/recently layed eggs and release 10% of the offspring back where they came from.

Is this enough to keep the species afloat in say 100 years or will we see ball pythons on a wild animal endangered list at some point?.. Genuine question.


This conversation has been derailed significantly.

There is a significant difference between the original topic and drawing a parallel with zoos. With only a couple exceptions I do not disagree that most zoos are not setup to adequately provide for the full range of needs for larger mammals. However, comparing the keeping and breeding of ball pythons to zoos or even keeping lions and tigers is a false equivalency.

As far as wild populations that is a fair point and would be curious to see if anyone has any actual data regarding the population impact on native specimens. As to releasing captive bread ball pythons back into the wild how many do you think would survive predation considering the number of flamboyant color and pattern combinations? There is also no way of knowing what other things we have affected such as natural immune systems. We tend to keep our snakes in “ideal” conditions reducing the exposure to diseases and parasites. What happens when you release a breeding age adult from captivity back to its “native” environment? While I made the argument earlier that this was a bonus, and I maintain that it is for the snakes we care for, it would have an inverse effect releasing them back into the wild. It may seem like a strange dichotomy, but one that needs considering when discussing releasing back into the wild.


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Again let’s get back on topic the false equivalency arguments are getting as bad if not worse than the original video.

Releasing phenotypicly altered ball pythons back to their native habitat is in no way the same as Burmese pythons released in Florida. Burmese Pythons in Florida have NO natural predators and as such are apex predators.


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I just wanted to point out with the discussion on importation/releasing captive-bred pythons.

Importation serves the purpose of introducing new genes to avoid a lot of genetic drift and bottle-necking in the captive populations. In theory, it will decrease the number of deformities seen in hatchlings. I have read somewhere on this forum that breeding completely unrelated cinnamon ball pythons together seems to greatly reduce the number of kinked spines. Eventually all of the animals of a certain color/morph/line (as that’s the point of line breeding) will have similar genetics and it is beneficial to the population as a whole to have “wild-type” genetics added back in.

Along with that thought, the majority, if not all, of our beloved morphs originated from wild-caught imports. That means that some of these combinations do exist in the wild. Albinos exist in almost every species of animal and enough of them survive to adulthood to reproduce. I’m not saying I would elect my bananas or my leucistics to be released, but as a whole, I think we all produce enough normal or classic ball pythons, that those could be safely released.

I also agree with @shugr231 that the ball python is not truly domesticated. I have little to no doubt that enough of them could survive in their natural habitat. Their baser instincts have not been bred out of them.

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Although regarding the video, I wish they’d made more of an effort to take into account that the conditions and time spent at an expo is only a fraction of the animal’s life. Or to examine the conditions of an animal in a pet home. I have seen more and more that people looking into getting a ball python as a pet are wanting to keep them in a bioactive enclosure. While these are typically vivs, inside them is as close to a “natural” environment as anyone can provide for them.

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Back to the video. The elephant in the room here is that as keepers of captive bred animals we have had a hand in someway to the capture of wild animals, we also have confirmation biases because of what we hold dear to our hearts in the same way the makers of this video do, the difference is the large majority of the reptile keepers community are constantly learning from science, experience with our animals and the facts of our passion where as the vast majority of PETA members are blinded by beliefs and purposefully create misinformation to perpetuate their cause.

As an environmentalist I share some of peta’s underlying principles but they have such radical beliefs they have become fundamentalists, using any means necessary to fuel their cause, something I cant ever get behind as someone who uses scientific evidence and experience based knowledge which allows my opinion to change based on fact and not belief.

Which leads nicely toward the cutting off of snakes heads for ceremonial medicine… We only need to look at traditional chinese medicine which is a faith based folk medicine to see the horror of allowing people to go unchallenged in their beliefs for the sake of not upsetting the believer. Educational institutions are the only way we can get them to change their beliefs about using rhino horn or python heads.

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The poster literally says they “ posted this video because of its controversial and BS content.”

What the what?!

Why throw a match on an incendiary topic just to watch it burn?

Do we really need another issue to argue about right now?

Debate is great; however inciting a discussion based on self-confessed BS is an excercise in time-wasting near trollish behavior.

And come on? Ball pythons?! The cats of the reptile world? that has been bred so successfuly into so many lovely morphs?

And the comments about some people not needing a bp. lots of people are unqualified for any pet — I hardly see that as a reason to condemn the ownership of that animal.

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I see no issue with posting controversial subjects. This isn’t collecting train sets, these are living animals that need discussion.

Here is probably the most controversial subject in the hobby … Yeah let’s do this: here’s the Super Spider … We’re adults, we can do this properly.

So because it is a emotional topic we should just brush it under the carpet?

A lot of the way the video is displayed is the exact same way certain organisations behave, how are we going to form a organised and clear argument against them if we have never discussed the subject.

When would be a preferred time to discuss this? A global pandemic has no effect on this subject.

If you find it time wasting, you are free to ignore this thread and have a look around others, but I’m sure as you do you will find I am far from a troll.

Welcome to the forum :blush:


A little interruption as some will notice a few posts were removed by the staff and others were edited, our mission here is to elevate the discussion and this is definitely not accomplished by name calling, criticizing, making fun of and/or picking on someone’s attributes.

So if this is how one thinks he/she must preface their side of the argument I will encourage them to take a good look in the mirror first.

Debate intelligently and respectfully whether or not the other side you are debating is present.

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Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend.

Now back to your regular programming.


I have no argument. I saw absolutely nothing wrong with this video. Ball Pythons deserve to live short lives in the wild and die a natural death, like being chopped in half for voodoo or eaten by a small cat or a monkey alive, slowly. Keeping snakes in clean comfy cages and feeding them sufficiently so they live long lives is abuse, full stop.

I’m obviously kidding. This was a complete waste of 24 minutes. Took real patience to get through.

I made sure to contact the musician who’s music was used to let them know their creative content was being repurposed for bullshit propaganda. Not sure how the comments became an argument when we can all agree.


No access to food at an expo? So cruel. Lol. Don’t let these people know about shipping snakes through FedEx or they’ll lose their minds


That depends.

With the exception of a new morph popping up, I do not really see the need for WC ball pythons.

But tell me, how may captive bred mainland phase Oligodon purpurescens have you seen available in the industry? I will save you the effort of looking, the answer is: ZERO. So, if I would like to work with this species and establish it in the hobby, how would you suggest I go about that?

There are two sides to the coin and you cannot paint with a broad brush that what applies to one species must apply to all.


For species already established in captivity, absolutely not. However, for some species, taking a reasonable number to establish a safe and legal pet trade would reduce the demand for WC specimens of that species. Hopefully then, future specimens would be CB and there would be no need to take animals from the wild any more.

(Example: Crested gecko, which were thought to be extinct until they were re-discovered in 1994 and introduced to the pet trade, where they thrived).

Obviously we should always be very careful capturing animals from the wild for the pet trade. Must be done responsibly with regards to wild population etc… etc…