What size to probe?

So, I was kinda wondering this for awhile now and it probably a noob question but how much should a baby ball python weigh when you probe it?

You can probe straight out of the egg.

Or just pop them…

Well the baby I have weighs 40g and I feel like if I pop it I’ll hurt it.

As I stated in a totally different thread earlier today, I readily and easily pop 7g colubroid hatchlings. Trust me when I say that baby balls can be safely poped


Ok thanks for the help

Does this apply to other snakes, Like water snakes

Yes, but water snake babies really like to musk, so good luck managing it without your hands smelling worse than a skunk after it.

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I would think you have more of a chance accidentally injuring it by probing then poping. If you don’t have the experience, I would find someone who does and let them show you first.


I’ve popped before, I’ve just never done it on anything so small.

I have never worked with Nerodia but I have popped alterna and corns as hatchlings so I do not see why you could not do it with them as well

Would you say that one could pop baby boas?

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I would assume it is possible, but since you can sex them visually but the presence/absence of spurs I probably would go the easy route

You can? I have not heard of that from other boa breeders.

Yep. Males have spurs, females do not

Sexing boas via spurs, especially babies, is not a reliable way to sex them.

With the hundreds of boas I sexed I always used the “rub” method, never had to probe or pop. Only once did I misidentify (sold a male as a female). I felt so bad I sent the guy a free female from my holdback rack and let him keep them male. These were sunglow boas valued at 2.5k at the time (mid 2000’s), so the guy was pretty surprised and happy. Customer service for the win :slight_smile: .

Here’s a quick video I found explaining the method:

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That’s not true. They both have spurs. Females are generally smaller than males but there are exceptions to this rule. As they develop into adults the larger spurs of the males become more apparent.

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This had me very worried because Willow has spurs. And when t_h_wyman said that females don’t have spurs my heart dropped into my stomach.


If they’re very large spurs I’d be concerned “she” might actually be a “he” and I’d use the rub method or to be absolutely sure probe.

Another less reliable way to determine sex in boas is the tail length. Females have shorter tails and taper off to a point very quickly while males are longer and dont taper off the same. But again, there are exceptions to these rules and the sure way to tell is probing, popping, or “rub method” (in order of reliability). Spur size and tail length are considered unreliable ways to sex a boa.

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Thank you :grin:

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I misspoke. You are correct, it is just that the boa species I work and am most familiar with the difference is readily observable on neos/hatchlings

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