Puzzling Python Facts Explained: How Often Do Ball Pythons Shed? | Kidadl


Puzzling Python Facts Explained: How Often Do Ball Pythons Shed?

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Royal pythons are popularly called ball pythons.

Ball pythons get their unique name because of their defense technique of coiling their bodies into tight balls with their necks and tails tucked in the middle. They are an interesting snake species to observe and study.

The scientific name of a ball python is Python regius. Ball pythons are a species of African pythons. Like the rest of the species of snakes, ball pythons also belong to the class of Reptilia. This means that ball pythons crawl in order to move from one place to another, and they lay eggs. The ball python is a non-venomous reptile. It is also categorized as a constrictor and is the smallest of all African pythons.

Ball pythons are indigenous to western and central Africa. A ball python's natural habitats include open forests, grasslands, and shrublands. These snakes prefer underground burrows and sparsely wooded places. Generally, a ball python's skin is dark brown or black in color, with light brown patches along the sides and the back. The belly of the snake is cream or white in color with scattered black markings. The maximum length of an adult ball python is about 6 ft (182.8 cm).

This snake species is considered to be an exotic pet and is sought and captured often for this purpose. If you have a royal python as a pet, you will need to learn about its eating, living, and shedding habits. Some of the facts that can help owners of these pets regarding the shedding process are discussed in the rest of the article.

If you find this fun facts article interesting, you might also enjoy finding out when do snakes hibernate, and how often do snakes eat here on Kidadl?

How often do baby ball pythons shed?

The concept of shedding is a natural process in snakes that aids in their growth. During the shedding process, snakes shed their skin and leave it behind. When the old skin sheds, new skin takes its place, thereby contributing to the growth of the snake. The shedding process commences when the new larger skin tries to break out of the old skin. If a ball python sheds like other snakes, then how often does a ball python shed its skin?

According to experts, an adult ball python sheds its skin every four to six weeks. Meanwhile, young ones of this snake species, called hatchlings, shed their skin every three to four weeks. Younger snakes shed more often than the older ones. When a young ball python matures at the age of three to five years, the frequency of shedding and growth rate slows down.

Moreover, the skin might be shed in one piece or in parts. The shedding process can be affected by some internal as well as external factors. Shedding might happen more frequently when the ball python is suffering from an infection, stress, or trauma.

Moreover, the shedding process normally takes place only twice or three times per year if the snake is not healthy. Therefore, proper shedding and the health of a ball python are interrelated.

How long does it take ball pythons to shed?

Typically the shedding process takes place every four to six weeks for a ball python that has matured. Younger snakes of this species have a faster shedding rate than adult ball pythons. The answer to the question of exactly how long it takes for a ball python to shed its skin is explained below.

An adult ball python shed its skin in about 45-60 days. This duration of shedding skin is longer than that taken by hatchlings. Young ball pythons take around 30 days to completely shed their old skin. This is because hatchlings are still growing and developing, meaning they shed more regularly.

Generally, the shedding process is completed within 14 days. The snake first goes through a pre-shed period which lasts for one to two weeks. There are various signs that these reptiles showcase, which can alert their owners as to when their pets in an enclosure are ready to begin the shedding process. The physical changes include the color of the skin of the snake's stomach starts turning pink, the snake's skin appears dull, and the snake enters a stage called the 'blue process'.

In this blue process, the eyes of a ball python appear cloudy or milky. These milky eyes then turn blue in color. The blue process or stage is part of the shedding process and is also considered to be a healthy sign in snakes. The stage of the eye color turning to a blue color denotes that even the skin of the eye caps is shedding the old one to make space for the new skin. However, the blue color can only be seen from certain angles.

When the color of the eyes returns back to normal, the skin is then shed in the next 72 hours. People who keep these snakes as pets should be attentive to such signs and provide a proper environment for snakes to shed their old skin.

Apart from this, there are also some behavioral signs that can be a warning that a ball python is ready to begin shedding its outer skin. The snake might experience a decreased appetite and will remain aloof. However, these behavioral signs are not entirely indicative of shedding as they may also be symptoms of some other health-related issues. Therefore, depending on the physical changes such as the much duller skin color and change of eye color is a better choice.

young ones of snake species are called hatchlings

Do ball pythons eat when they shed?

While shedding, ball pythons need a suitable environment to shed properly. We have already seen how long and frequently this reptile sheds its skin. The physical, as well as behavioral signs of shedding, have also been explored. However, there are still many questions that spring to mind regarding the care these snakes need while they shed their skin.

One such question is whether the ball python eats anything while it is shedding its skin. The snake might lose its appetite for food during shedding. This lack of interest in food is generally because, during shedding, the snake's vision becomes weakened. Due to this, this snake is unable to continue locating food for feeding.

People should also take care to avoid trying force-feeding the ball python as it is shedding.

You should also avoid touching or moving this snake species when you know it is going to shed its old skin. The snake acquires quite an aggressive attitude when it is shedding its skin. This snake might feel threatened and attack you if you try to handle it. Touch could also make the snake's anxiety rise and disrupt the shedding.

A ball python must be left alone when it sheds.

Can ball pythons die if they don't shed?

There are many factors that may disturb the frequency of shedding, of which some are already discussed earlier in the article. Moreover, the break in the cycle can also lead to other health-related issues.

Shedding is a normal and important process of a snake's growth and development that occurs regularly every few weeks. The snake's skin that is removed during shedding is the old dead skin. Although the ball python will not die directly from not shedding, the implication of the disruption of the normal cycle of skin shedding can lead to various other conditions. In turn, these complications can potentially cause the snake's death.

How long can a ball python go without shedding?

The ball python is a snake that, like other wild animals, prefers to live in the open spaces of the wild environment. Moreover, shedding is a normal process that a snake's body goes through in order to accommodate the growing length and weight of the animal.

As the ball python ages, the frequency of the shedding might change and become less. The cycle can also be influenced by some internal and external conditions. A ball python might not shed due to stress or a dry surrounding.

If you notice that a ball python is not shedding even when the usual time has gone by, then it is possible that there could be some problem with a snake. There are multiple ways you can help a snake to shed properly. One of them is to provide it with proper humidity levels.

The ball python prefers high humidity when it is shedding. In an enclosure, the snake might not receive the same humidity it is used to in the wild. Therefore, people with a pet snake must provide the right humidity range even in the enclosure. Another way to help the snake shed its old skin is to feed it with a fresh and constant water supply. You can keep a water bowl near the space where the snake is living and keep changing the water in it regularly.

Water can also be used to soak the snake when the skin is stuck. Soaking can help a snake's skin to become damp and soft enough to pull through. The water can also help to make the area where the snake is kept to become damp, which would be the cage or the shedding box. A shedding box is a box specially meant for a snake to live in during the week it sheds the outer layer of skin.

The cage must always be kept clean and damp. If there are problems still persisting in regards to shedding, then it is wise to take the snake to a vet and seek treatment.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked discovering how often do ball pythons shed, then why not take a look at why do snakes eat themselves, or banana ball python facts.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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