When a snake is set up properly with the right temperature and right humidity and fed the proper food item on a regular interval things will rarely go wrong. One of the things that can go wrong are parasites and the other is shedding problems. Parasites can be external as in the form of mites or ticks. Internal parasites can be found in the intestinal tract or blood and organs. This page deals with the discovery and common cures for most of these issues. Treatment and diagnosis of internal parasites should be left to the veterinarians in your area that deal with exotic animals. Although there are household cures for a number of reptile related ailments it is in the animals’ best interest to make sure the problem is diagnosed and treated properly.
Ball Python shedding problems are probably the easiest thing to fix once it is encountered. The normal shed cycle of a baby Ball Python is about once a month if the animal is fed properly. This rate decreases as the feeding cycle is moved farther apart or the meal size is decreased. It is normal for the snake to show signs of irritability and to seek shelter in the hiding spot or water bowl during the time leading to the shed cycle. The eyes take on an opaque blue color and the overall look of the snake is cloudy or dusty. If the shed cycle is interrupted the snake will suffer a dry shed and this problem is easily fixed. You can either get a shed ease solution from the store and follow the instructions for severe cases, or you can put the snake in a container with a damp or wet warm towel for up to 15 minutes for less problematic cases.
Ball Python Mites and Other Parasites
Ball Python Mites are a more severe problem that has been known to drive keepers to tears. Some keepers have gone so far as to consider getting rid of their entire collections due to mites but if you follow instructions it is a simple thing to get rid of. Mites are a parasitic problem that can be spread from snake to snake or from colony to colony by exposing your animals to an already infested host. To prevent mites you should always keep your snake and snake room clean and avoid bringing new animals in without first treating them for mites. To treat sakes for mites it is important to understand that they follow a 14 day cycle of birth and reproduction. Once you break this cycle you can eradicate the mites for good. First you have to remove the snake from the enclosure and clean all surfaces with a diluted bleach solution. Once you have the cage clean you can treat the snake with any mite product that contains pyrethrins. This process involves coating the entire body surface of the snake and allowing the mites to suffocate or be washed off of the snake. Once you have killed the visible mites it is necessary to repeat this step in 10 days to kill the mites that have hatched and again in another 10 days to be sure no mistakes were made.
Ball Python ticks are easier to deal with than mites and are much less likely to occur since the problem is mainly connected to animals imported from the wild. It is possible to get ticks on captive born animals as well so a visual inspection of your snake is recommended periodically. Once you have found a tick on your snake it is important to note that removing it can be a bit tricky. The best way to deal with this problem is to coat the body of the embedded tick with Vaseline. Once the tick has suffocated it will fall off or can be easily removed with a pair of tweezers. You can follow cage cleaning procedure used for mites to make sure there are none hiding in the cage lid or rough surfaces of the hiding spot or water bowl.
Ball Python internal parasites are an entirely different matter. They can occur in captive or imported wild caught animals and visual inspection will rarely diagnose the problem. If your snake has trouble maintaining weight or looks and acts like it is lacking in any way there is a chance that it has internal parasites. The best option is to search for a vet that treats exotics and with a simple fecal search they can determine and treat most intestinal parasites. If you have trouble locating a local vet that treats exotics you can refer to your local reptile store or herp club to see what other patrons have done that works.