Snake ownership is on the rise as people are starting to take more enjoyment from the ownership of more exotic type of pets. One of the most common types of these exotic pet that people are buying is the ball python.
Like all pythons the ball python is non-venomous and is a constrictor snake meaning that it crushes its prey. However this does not mean that the ball python doesn’t have a set of sharp teeth in its mouth. In fact it has a lot of sharp fangs as can be seen in the photo below!
As you can see they look quite dangerous but do ball pythons bite? And if so does it hurt? If so are there any ways that it can be stopped? Well in this mini guide I will tell you everything you could possibly need to know about ball python bites. Then you can be armed with the knowledge necessary to keep you and your loved ones safe from a bite.
Do ball pythons bite humans?
Lets start of with first question most people ask when enquiring about ball python ownership as a pet.
Do ball pythons bite? The simple answer to this is yes. They have teeth that are more than capable of biting down on you. However ball pythons are not malicious and there will always be a reason for a bite. This is usually down to fear, threat or intimidation, all of which can be controlled to stop a bite from happening in the first place.
Please read on to learn more about if a ball python bite hurts and how you can safely handle your snake so it does not happen.
Does a ball pythons bite hurt.
Ok so we know our pet snake has the hardware and ability to bite but is it any real danger to us humans.
Does a ball pythons bite hurt? In all honesty a ball pythons bite does not hurt to much. They do not have the most powerful jaw in the snake world, however their fangs are sharp. The main worry with a ball pythons bite is the shock factor of just getting bitten by a snake. For a first time snake owner this can be quite nerve wracking.
So as just mentioned a ball pythons bite is not the end of the world. To say it does not hurt at all is a bit of an injustice though to be honest. It feels like a lot of little pin pricks all at the same time, not excruciating, but also not something that is enjoyable. The main thing is that you will not need to take a trip to the emergency room for the bites treatment.
Quite literally the worst part of the experience is the heart sinking shock feeling that comes over you, heck you just got bit by a snake! Fear not though as it does not take long for the shock to subside as you start to remember that it is not venomous and you have read this guide and know how to respond. It may not settle you to know but after a few bites this shock reaction does not even occur.
This is why a ball python may bite you and how you can avoid it.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, ball pythons are not malicious animals. By this I mean that it will not strike at you for no reason. Because of this there are always way that you can adapt your behavior around the snake to stop it from happening.
These are some of the reasons a ball python might bite you:
- Fear of being attacked or feeling threatened.
- A hungry snake can lash out.
- A snake that is eating may strike.
- Mistaking your fingers for food.
Ball pythons are generally very docile snakes and do not lash out very often much preferring to take the pacifist approach. However the above reasons are why you could receive a nip on your hand. Now I will tell you the ways that you can avoid these instances from happening.
How to avoid a ball python bite:
- Fear- There are not many animals that like fast grabbing movements and snakes are no exception. Make sure that when you are going to handle your ball python that you make slow movements and do not startle the snake. Also when picking it up do it in a way that it can see you approaching and never from above as this simulates an attack by a predator.
- Hunger- Just like us humans snakes can get a little snappy when it is hungry. Set up a regular feeding schedule for your ball python so that it never goes hungry, especially around times that you would like to handle it.
- Eating- This one is common sense really but do not try to handle your ball python when it is feeding. They are quite protective over their food.
- Mistaken identity- When you are about to handle your snake always wash your hands first with soap and water. This will rinse off any food scents from your fingers which can confuse your ball python into thinking your fingers are prey.
This is what to do if your ball python does bite you.
The bite from a ball python rarely causes any serious damage but it is still necessary to make sure that the bite wound is properly treated. If left untreated there is always the risk of catching an infection and nobody like a puss filled wound!
The first step after getting bit by a ball python is to relax and let the shock feeling subside. Once that has happened you can gently and carefully place your snake back into it enclosure. Now it is time to check the wound and see what damage has been done. Usually there will just be some small pinprick marks with a spot or two of blood.
A simple wash with some antibacterial soap and warm running water is the first step of cleaning a ball python bite wound, make sure to give the area a good clean. I personally then like to apply one of them alcohol based hand sanitiser gels to the area to make sure any bacteria has been killed.
Now you are safe to apply a bandage or plaster to the bite wound and changing it periodically as and when needed. Make sure to keep a close eye on the wound and if you notice any major swelling or puss leaking from it take a trip to your doctor for further examination and treatment.
It is also worth keeping an eye on your ball pythons mouth to check out for signs of mouth rot.
Ball pythons are exceptional pets that are a real treat to look after and care for. They are quite harmless snakes and make a great first pet snake due to their docile nature. Bites can and probably will happen at some point but in all honesty are never very serious so try not to worry and just follow the tips you have learnt in this guide to minimise the chances.
I want to take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck in the ownership of your new pet ball python!