I’ve always wondered why are ball pythons usually a new keepers first snake?
Is it because of the variety of morphs available? Because so many people produce them each year they are more available overall? Or because they are relatively tame from the start or they take less work to tame down if they are defensive? Or could it even be because as adults, they stay a manageable size overall?
For some issues they can create, as picky eaters and highly stressed snakes if husbandry is off, why do so many choose this species as a good beginner snake?
With many common kept colubrids, why don’t more people start off with a species from that pool instead of jumping in with balls?
Ball pythons for me are a fun species to keep, a little boring most the time, but still fun. At the same time there are many others I find to be more interactive during handling and much more fun to watch feed. Which are the 2 top reasons I keep snakes.
What are some of your opinions or info you all have on balls as a first snake? Do you think other species are overlooked with the popularity of balls? Or do you think it’s completely justified as why they are so popular?
Always has been a curious thought of mine, and I’m interested to hear different views and opinions on the matter.
Unpopular opinion here.
I honestly believe that the reason balls (among a few others) are pushed as beginner species is because they are so easily produced that they are basically viewed as disposable. The morph factor is an easy hook to pull a newer keeper in and wow them while brushing over the troubles they can present. And if the animal dies, oh well. Always more where that came from. Basically, they are the carnival goldfish of the herp world
That’s a good way to think about it.
Bring them in with the morph and completely disregard the husbandry issues. Interesting thought process. Thank you.
It’s probably a combination of all the things you listed. My very first snake was actually a corn snake, my grandparents got him for me since my parents wouldn’t let me have any at the time. I got into ball pythons for pretty much all the reasons you said lol. Colubrids are still popular, I think that just the amount of misinformation about how to keep ball pythons (them being a pet rock and not needing any enrichment, not needing as much space, etc), and the availability of them make them more accessible to new pet owners. That’s my opinion on it anyway.
I get where you are coming from a lot, though I don’t believe that is the case with everyone.
I believe it has a lot to do with both availability of media and information.
You can find 100 different sources for how to care for a BP but only a handful on how to care for more advanced reptiles.
This thread sort of touches up in why boas are less common … Are boa constrictors just more difficult to breed? Why are they consistently so expensive?
Thats true, could very well do with the fact they don’t require as much space as other species.
Thank you for bringing some stuff up I haven’t thought about. Appreciate the feed back.
That’s a really good point Tom.
Now that I think about it, there is only a handful of care sheets and knowledge of care on the other common species. Another good view and great input, thanks for making me think.
I agree with that to a certain extent but it will definitely depends on the people to just like back in the days everyone wanted a green iguana.
For the right people, that have the right expectation, have made the right research they are a great first time pet and a good looking one at that considering the choice people now have compare to 20 or 30 years ago.
The size make them apealling bigger body but not big and impossible to manage alone, their nature makes them appealing as well.
When I started keeping snakes here in the US (no just rehabing animals temporarily anymore), I really wanted a cornsnake not a BP but being illegal in my state, BP were my second choice as something I could find easily and already had knowledge of.
Now do I found them boring? Yes but it’s like looking at a colorful painting for me a piece of living art which many would find boring to do so as well.
It’s all about expectations and many have to high of expectations for that specific species.
I really like that analogy Deb. Very interesting.
Good points overall, and I didn’t think of the possibility of having some of these other commonly kept snakes as being illegal in certain parts of the country. Which would make a ball python stand out even more.
Nice everyone, I like how this is bringing aspects into play that didn’t cross my mind.
I think what people are exposed to plays a big role, as well as convenience and laziness. Almost everybody knows someone who has a ball python, so when they think of getting a snake, rather than doing the research to see what species would be the best fit for them, they go with a ball python because it’s familiar. A lot of petsmarts/petco have ball pythons as the only snake species readily available, so people will just get one because it’s there and they want a snake. I think the variety of morphs is just the icing on the cake
I can’t speak for the reason at large but I never thought about getting a snake until 2 months ago and I chose a ball python for a few reasons. For me in no particular order:
They have a color for everyone and I found one I visually liked. I was originally going to get salt water fish so I already wanted a bright display animal. (Yeah he hides all the time but when I take my snake out I find his colors pleasing. And I can turn his terrarium into a nice display.)
They don’t musk
I found their low energy and tendency to not be aggressive attractive. I wanted a non squirmy and chill snake.
I felt more confidant about getting their care right the first time since there’s far more information to compare and contrast on them than other pet snakes.
Kind of weird but I like that they have a more defined head while other small pet snakes look more worm-like.
I read about all the cons and didn’t find them a big deal. I educated myself made sure to tell breeders I was looking for a snake that was an established eater and on F/T. So far I have had no issues with feeding or husbandry.
Another good point I didn’t list.
They are very chill for a first snake, and I could see how many would find that appealing.
I think that’s really Important. And nice work putting in the time to research before you bought a BP. I think that’s highly overlooked as they are so available.
Now that I think of it, I’ve seen corns and boas sold out at some commercial pet stores like that, but they do always have balls.
Thank you. I find part of the fun of getting an animal is learning about them.
Oh heck yeah. I read as much as I can on snakes, especially before I decide to invest in one.
I used to catch garter snakes and some other colubrids all the time when I was younger. Thought they were the coolest things. I’m not sure why I didn’t start out with those, though.
Once I was an adult I bought my first ball python in August 2018 as an impulse buy… and I had not done any research on them prior. Boo on me for that.
Luckily the pet store I got her from had employees that also kept ball pythons and were able to point me in the right direction in terms of basic needs.
It spiraled from there once I got home, since I started doing research on them and watching YouTube videos and all that. Then I discovered that they had different morphs, which sparked my interest in breeding them as well.
Now I have 18 individual ball pythons and have so far produced 2 clutches of eggs, with 2 more on the way. I also got into keeping hognoses (and produced my own clutch of those as well)… I also have a bci and two garter snakes. I’d like to breed the garter snakes in the future as well, since I grew up with that species in particular.
I wanted an animal that didn’t need a lot of space, didn’t need a lot of interaction, who was also cute.
Very solid point. If you’re looking for a snake that doesn’t require a lot of interaction, balls definitely fit the bill.
I did certainly decide to get into snakes because they don’t require as much attention in general, at least compared to pets like dogs, cats, or even birds. Lets me enjoy having a pet while also not having any negative impact on my mental health.
They definitely are very low maintenance for the most part, especially balls. It’s always cool to see what draws people to certain species, so many different views which is always fun learning or hearing about.