Odd Behavior

So, for the past 2 days both of my snakes have been up and active- trying to get out, slithering every inch of the cage. The bigger female mostly does this at night, but my small male has been doing it nonstop for both days, I’m a bit worried, what could be the causes? He might be hungry, his feeding day is in 2 more days, but he hasn’t acted like this before. They’re both under a year old, so I don’t think it would be any sort of breeding behavior?

Both have proper heating, and I’m buying new humidity gauges tomorrow for them (The digital ones). The female has nice big hides, and some smaller ones on both sides (She prefers the bigger ones though) while the male has a slightly “cramped” set up until we move him to the bigger tank.

1.0 Pastel Paradox Pied
0.1 Pinstripe Het Albino

Pretty common behavior when stressed. They likely don’t feel secure in their enclosure and instinctively try and find a small dark place to hide.

Besides the obvious trying tubs, you could black out The back and 2 sides of the tanks with tape and some black poster board or similar material. When I temporarily had mine in a tank before getting better caging that seemed to help.

Not sure what the light is for, if that’s part of your heating you may need it but if it’s just for light…they’d probably prefer it not be there. Lastly you can drape a towel over the tank or the half of the tank their warm side hides are in for the majority of the day until they come out at night and you want to observe them then take it off for a couple hours.

Based on the pics there’s a lot of adjustments you can make to darken your enclosure/make them feel more secure, And I’m sure many other things you can try as well besides the couple I mentioned. But I certainly wouldn’t panic or feel “bad,” you can improve a few aspects and they will be just fine.
Good luck!


I’ll certainly try blacking out the sides. They both became relaxed after I gave a single hide some generous misting (Maybe it was just a bit too low today? I know cold weather can really reduce humidity) The light is to help the ambient temp until summer hits, main source though for my male until his heat pad comes in. Just worried about towels since I don’t want to accidentally burn anything haha. But, I’ll try some cardboard (Painted/colored black) and see if that helps at all!

Do you know if backgrounds help? I don’t mind the black sides and such, but I’m curious if regular backgrounds for tanks help

I think anything that blocks light out would work really well if you have a cool background I say go for it!

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Thanks! I’ll have to look around for some, but until then I’ll find something for them! My female is going into shed soon too so I’m glad she’s in her humidity hide right now haha

My girl used to do this Alot when she was younger. We’d always either feed her a “snek snack” (a smaller meal) or take her out for a bit to explore. She never came off as stressed and to this day will every so often go poke around her tank for a way out.

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You say your tanks are properly heated. What are the actual temperatures on the hot and cold sides and how are you measuring them? Are you using a thermostat?

These are not at all the same behaviors. Consistent over activity/searching for an escape IS a stress indicator in a ball python. Could there be another cause of this stress? Of course.
But just going off the information and pictures provided it seems very, very likely that it is an enclosure security issue.

There is no reason to think taking them out for handling or feeding them “snacks” will help.

Take the most logical conclusion first, and work off that. If that doesn’t help, move on to another possibility.

Not the best picture since the tank has been updated but…


I have a 20 gallon tank to and this is how I have it set up:

  • Split Mesh tank top
  • Foil tape across the entire top except for the hole of the lamp
  • CHE (60 watt)
  • Under tank heat mat
  • CHE and Heat Mat both set to 91
  • 3 corner blacked out with heavy duty black cardboard
  • Reptichip used as substrate

One of my, by then new girls, had this very unusual active behaviour too. The reason with her were snake mites. After they where gone she became relaxed again. Two little ones always get restless in daytime when they are really hungry. I decided to upgrade the prey size and they became relaxed again. One was active because of a problem with her thermostat. I can give more examples but there is always a reason when they suddenly get restless.

Restless behaviour in daytime is in general caused by stress for one reason or the other. Your mentioned it was only since a few days. Try to find out wether something changed what can cause stress. Maybe a temperature drop or raise because of climate change, or their hide got to small, maybe there is poop in the tank which bother them, or they are simply hungry and it is time to upgrade the rodent size. It is a matter of trying things and watching their reaction. One thing is clear to me, a moving ball python at night is normal, but when I see one of them moving around a lott in daytime I start checking everything. It’s like a human staying up all night not being able to sleep. You only do that when you don’t find your rest ( our you simply want to enjoy some bar time or dancing , but I don’t think snakes stay up for that reason :grin:). Expecially is that is new behaviour and it is more than just one day.

Blacking out all sides except the front is always the best to me with almost all reptiles, even lizards. They always get far more relaxed. With the glass terrariums I use the background posters they also have for fishtanks ( there are some types for terrariums) you can stick on the outside of the enclosure. It even looks very nice, are cheap and because it is on the outside you have no problem with cleaning. I use them really with all our glass enclosure, even the gecko’s, blue tongue skink and bearded dragon.

Here’s an example


Good luck investigating!!!

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Thing is, she’s been this way since she escaped her cage. She never explored or tried to get out before that. She’s calmed down though, since she’s shedding, but at night she’s still really active. It’s not fast movements or anything, but I’m worried because the tank is a bit tall, that when she ends up falling she’ll get hurt. She’s fell many times, but never hurt herself except for a small scratch on her belly. The male is calmed down a lot, and I upgraded his food size too. Poor boy was eating small mice when the store had him, but I feed him rat pups and If I let him, he’d eat more than one haha. I’m not sure how hot is too hot for my girl. She likes it around 84-86. Once it hits 87 she goes to the cool side, or under the lamp (Which keeps it around 75-78)

At 91? I’m sure my male wouldn’t mind that but anything above 87 my female goes to her cool side. I’m not sure why, but I’m not sure how her breeders kept her either.

It cuts off at 91, but it says around 86-88 on the warm side.

If she is only active at night there is nothing to worried about. Most my snakes explore at night. Only some just lie down with their head out of their hide looking around. Those ones only go ad explore when they are hoping to find food. It might even be a good sign. I noticed that when I get new snakes they in the first weeks often don’t explore and keep on hiding but when they discovered everything is safe exploring starts. Or maybe she discovered there is something to explore?! I don’t know how it looked before but your new setup looks nice and there are corners a snake can look behind hoping to find something. I can not look in the mind of a snake but I noticed that most of mine go on adventure at night and the snakes of a friend who keeps them in a rack almost never come out of their hide. I wander what the experiences are of other snake keepers and what their experience is with snakes in a rack versus snakes in bigger enclosures and clutter because I only see my own snakes. Maybe we should make a new toppic about this to hear from other people what their findings are.

I’m simply trying to use some snake psychology, but since I’m not a snake I’m most likely terrible in it. But at least. Don’t worry, most of mine are also on the move at night and the oldest ones already going to two years and I never saw any problem with them. And yes, expecially in the beginning they do sometimes drop down while climbing but they do get better in it and none of them ever had a injury because of it.

I keep them at around 31 celcius / 88 to 89 fahrenheit on the hot spot. I did try higher but most where moving to the colder site, and still now some go up and down hot to cold and back. My adult male hardly goes to his hot spot these days, but he doesn’t want to eat either since breeding season started, and he is on the move every night. So I think his hormones are bothering him and he is “babe hunting” in the evening because he still looks healty. This is why we offer difverent temp zones, so they can thermo regulate themselves.

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Just wanted to put in that males can be ready to breed under a year old. Even at his age he could be exhibiting breeding behavior, especially if there is a female nearby.

I also keep my ball in a big tank with tons of hiding options/clutter and she comes out to check if we latched her lid at least once a night. When she was younger she’d be all over the tank all night long.

My corns I keep in tubs but they also have several hide options and clutter. I see them out and about often cruising and burrowing during the morning and definitely in the evenings. My Sands are in small tanks but have different depths of substrate to push through and buried obstacles. They also have scattered clutter up top. I never see them but I notice move patterns in the substrate and moved clutter.

I personally wouldn’t worry unless you notice rub signs on her head/nose. When she is restless let her out some? Let her stretch and move across a safe place for a bit. Might have mentioned before occasionally offering a small meal might make her less active as well. But again, to me, as long as there are no rub signs then let your girl do her roaming. As long as she eats, poops, and sheds then so be it. You got an active ball.

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I don’t think a snake under 3 months could be doing that so soon, right?

A mere 2 months old, turning on 3 months- highly doubt he would be in any sort of breeding mode yet too haha

Oh, oops, nevermind then… I didn’t realize he was THAT young. All I saw was “under a year old.” Yeah, 3 months is almost certainly too young for breeding behavior.