I am seeking scientific studies done on ball pythons in the wild. I have conducted a preliminary literary review and haven’t found any that focus on habits, interactions with same species, if sexes and different age classes prefer different habitat, food sources etc. Something concrete and not anecdotal. A source that has spent considerable time in the field, studying them. (Not just someone who saw some once in the wild, or someone who quotes what they have read or seen on YouTube, or has only kept them in captivity.)
I am hoping to utilize the data to help improve husbandry practices, as I love my ball pythons and want to do what is best for them.
I am a scientist who focuses on interactions and the relationships between environmental issues and animal health.
Thank you for any suggestions.
Not much has been done at the depth you’re looking for. It’s a tough area(s) for travel and a species that no one (except the hobby) stands to gain from putting real research dollars into so it’s been largely neglected.
Dave and Tracy Barker did write about their time in habitat in one of their publications but I can’t recall if it was a paper or in their Pythons of the World book.
This may not be exactly what you are looking for but Dav Kaufman did an orignal film of Ball Pythons in the Wild and it is on Youtube. It is not going to go into the depths you would like but may give you some general information you seek.
There are a couple papers out there but you need to be critical when reading them and realize that they study a very small number of animals over a very short time frame in a very small portion of their range. And, as such, the conclusions they come to are not even remotely close to concrete or absolute for the entire species (despite what a certain part of the hobby will assert)
Also I think something akin to “survivorship bias” happens in most of these kinds of wild observation studies. Where anomalous behavior is observed more often because it happens in more observable situations. e.g. ball pythons sleeping in hidden burrows are much less likely to detect than, say, a BP climbing around in a small tree. So if you’re trying to count to establish frequency of behavior over a population you’re far overcounting some behaviors due to observational biases.
This!! You worded it so well
I have posted my request on multiple forums and have been overwhelmed by the suggestions and ideas.
Thank you all for the recommendations!! I am extremely grateful for the assistance. I will continue reviewing literature and reaching out to those currently or hoping to study wild ball pythons. I have made contact with some individuals who are in Africa or have been. I will keep everyone posted as things progress.