New Hatchling and worried about care in South Africa

Hi all. I recently bought a male Axanthic and he is a bit aggressive. I can’t seem to get the right temperature or humidity for his tub. Please help.

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do u have any heat source ( heating lamp, heat mat etc.) ? what are the temps? picks of the set up would be good even if im not familiar with BP


Welcome to the community :blush:

As David mentioned, pictures of your set up will help, along with any equipment you are using.

How long have you had him?


Thank you for the welcome :blush:

I’ve had him for 2 days. He is 6 weeks old.
I have a heating mat and a digital hygrometer. The plastic tub does have wheels but I made sure to put the heating mat right under the tub.

I had put coco husk substrate and that’s when the humidity was between 95%- 99%.

I removed the cocohusk and put newspaper and left the water bowl which is on the cool side. Now that I removed the coco husk, the humidity is lower than 50%

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So there’s a lot of things that I would recommend changing here.

Ball pythons love small dark, enclosed spaces and get very stressed out being out in the open like this, so you need to put several hides in there for him.

I’d put the cocohusk substrate back in there, you can always add a few more holes for ventilation. Make sure you have a "hot side’ with temps around 88-90 and a cool side of about 75. Is the heat mat regulated by thermostat? Heat mats can overheat and cause burns, so you should never use one unregulated.


Thank you so much. I’ll put the hides back and the coco husk. The heating mat has a dialing nob so that’s how I control it. But once I add the coco husk it becomes too humid.
I’m also worried he might not eat :pensive::pensive:

Before I removed the coco husk, he explored his enclosure and drank some water and after a few hours he went into the hide. But due to it being too humid he came out and sat on top of the hide.

I’ll have to add a few more holes.

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The only time I have seen my BPs sit on top of their hide is because they get too hot. You cannot just control the heat pad with a dial, and you need a thermostat. What brand of head pad are you using? The reason your animal is striking or hissing is because they are defensive and scared, not because they are aggressive. Also, you are not supposed to handle or really even bother your snake for 1-2 weeks after just getting it, as it stresses them and will make them not want to eat. You need a couple hides in there, if you want any chance of that animal eating and surviving. This is why it is recommend that you setup your enclosure and test it a week before getting the animal, else you run into problems like this.


I agree that the defensiveness probably comes from being young and new, but heightened agitation can also be a sign that your enclosure is too hot. I strongly recommend investing in a thermostat.

Thank you. I’m doing my best NOT to handle him but I was so worried about the humidity hence I removed all of the coco and replaced it with newspaper.

I’m using a digital thermo hygrometer that measures the temperature and humidity. It’s in the previous pictures and the brand is Repti Zoo I think.

I truly want him to thrive and be as happy as possible but I should have asked here first. Nowhere did they say I should set up the terrarium and test it before I get him. He’s my first reptile. I have done a lot of research and constantly reading up daily.

You need a thermostat to regulate the temperature, a thermometer just measures temperature. This is absolutely vital

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Could you please show me a picture of what you mean or send a link from maybe or other websites I can visit.

When I checked for thermostat it all showed what I have as the hygrometer. The heating pad with the dialing knob on it to control it.

The gold standard is usually Spyder robotics thermostats -

But something like this should work -

You need to plug every heat source (heat mat, heat bulbs, ceramic heat emitter, radiant heat panel, etc) into a thermostat, and then put the probe in between the heat mat and the bottom of the tub. You then can set the temperature on the thermostat to 90, and it will not allow the temperature to get higher than that


Perfect thank you so so so much
Im placing an order immediately


I’ll actually go to the supply store where I bought everything else and ask them to set it up once it arrives so that I don’t mess it up.
I’ll also look at getting a bigger terrarium. Perhaps wooden and they can set up all of that and I’ll decorate it and move him in a week or so.


That sounds like a good plan! Until it comes I would just try to use the dial on the heat mat to keep the temperature around 88-90F (31-32C) on the hot side, and give him his hides/substrate back


Thank you all for your help. I’ll keep you posted with any updates.

He’s young and hisses, any chance he’ll bite me?

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He might, but you shouldn’t be handling him for the first few weeks anyway, he needs that time to settle in


I don’t think that getting a bigger enclosure right now is a good idea. It will just add to his stress. Wait until he has grow significantly larger.


If you find you’re still having problems controlling then humidity, take out the coco chip and use paper towels. You can mist his enclosure and that will stay pretty humid but also allow faster evaporation so the humidity doesn’t reach such high levels.
If you need to handle him for any reason, tho I agree leaving him be for a few weeks will greatly calm him down, approach him from the side and not directly above him if possible. And when you go to pick him up, scoop him up from the bottom and support him as much as possible. Allow him to freely move through your hands with little restraint. Even 5 mins a day will help him get used to being handled, but I would just monitor him for a week or 2 and then start handling if he’s taken meals regularly.


Thank you all, I forgot my password and didn’t log in to give an update. he is thriving. My thermostat didn’t work with the heatpad so i chucked the heatpad out and got a new heatmat and it’s been smooth sailing since. he is so calm and gentle. my temps and humidity have been amazing. it’s winter in south africa so I’m always mixing water into the substrate as it dries faster.
I got a second ball about a month later, a female super butter BEL. she’s also doing great. they’re both 7 months old now with no problems. I have been sure to invest in the right equipment to make sure they are both happy and thrive.