Ball Pythons are one of the most common pets that people keep. They are easy to take care of, and they have a lot of personality.
A ball python is a type of pet that is usually found in the African continent. They are often called “ball” because they curl up into a ball when they are scared or feel threatened.
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Ball Python Shedding
Shedding, or Ecdysis, is a natural phenomenon that ball pythons undergo for a varied number of reasons. As ball pythons grow, they shed old skin that’s replaced by new skin. Younger snakes shed more than older snakes because they’re growing at a faster pace.
It’s not uncommon for your young ball python to shed at least once a month. Shedding is healthy and natural and the shed skin should come off your ball python in one piece.
Ball pythons usually defecate and urinate right after they complete the shedding process. As they start to enter the shedding phase, they will darken up and become dull looking.
Their eyes will start to darken up and have a dark gray or blue color to them. It’s difficult for them to see during this stage of the shed cycle, so they can become nervous.
It’s best to leave them alone when they’re entering their shed cycle and make sure the relative humidity in the cage is conducive to a complete and proper shed.
The shedding cycle can last anywhere from 7 to 14 days on average. Although some ball pythons will eat in the shed, it’s not advisable to offer them food during this time as they may regurgitate the item.
After 3 to 5 days, the eyes and skin will start to clear, but will still look somewhat dull. They will often soak in their water bowl prior to shedding and will seek rough surfaces in the cage to rub against in order to help with the shedding process.
You can put sterile rocks or branches in its cage during this time to help it shed. They typically crawl around their cage pressing their face against the side of the tank or against hard surfaces in order to get the shedding process started.
How Often Do Ball Pythons Shed?
Ball Pythons are a type of snake that are popular as pets. They have a very interesting life cycle that includes shedding their skin. And one question that many new owners ask is how often do ball pythons shed? This is a good question since it can help you make sure that your pet is healthy. There are many different factors that can go into determining how often your ball python will shed so it’s hard to give an exact answer.
A healthy ball python should shed its skin every 4-6 weeks or so. But young ball pythons will shed every 3-4 weeks.
Ball pythons shed their skin to grow bigger and to also get rid of any dead skin cells that are stuck on their body. Shedding occurs at regular intervals, but it can also be triggered by stress, changes in the environment, or other factors.
Ball Python Shedding Tips
When your Ball Python sheds, the shed skin should remain in one piece. If it does not, you will need to check the snake carefully to be sure that the entire skin came off, especially around the tail and eyes. If the skin did not come off completely, try rubbing it gently with a wet warm washcloth. If that does not work, then try soaking the snake in lukewarm water for a few minutes, then try rubbing the skin with the washcloth again. If all else fails, there is a product called Shed Ease that should take care of it.
If your snake has had trouble shedding, it’s because there is a problem. You should try increasing the humidity in the enclosure, especially around the time you see signs the animal is about to shed. Providing a humid hide box would help as well.
My personal trick for ensuring a clean shed is to spray the snake with warm water as soon as you notice the fogging of the eyes disappearing. The Ball Python will shed within the next couple of days.
Soaking the Ball Python as soon as its belly begins to turn pink and its eyes begin to fog over is the method most people use. I find that even though it helps some of the back of the snake can still retain skin causing improper shedding.
Ball Python Shedding Process
Ball Python Shedding occurs naturally as a snake grows.
The Ball Pythons’ belly begins to turn pink and the eyes begin to fog over. Providing the proper humidity required by your Ball python is important to prevent non-problematic sheds. Maintain a humidity of 60%-70% during a shed cycle.
Baby/Juvenile Ball Pythons shed their skin every few weeks because they are continuously growing. While adult Ball Pythons may only shed their skin every few months. Some Ball Pythons may also shed their skin because their skin is irritated due to mites, If you notice mites or your snake is bathing more frequently or small black specs are appearing in the bottom of the water dish. I would recommend giving the snake’s enclosure a treatment or two with Provent-a-Mite.
Dysecdysis is a word used to describe a variety of shedding difficulties. It occurs when a snake attempts to shed but some old skin is retained on some part of the body. The definition is as follows.
Dysecdysis means an abnormal shedding of the dead outer skin of a reptile. It often indicates suboptimal husbandry, however it may be a sign of certain infectious diseases, such as external or internal parasites, septicemia, inclusion body disease of bodies, ophidian paramyxovirus, and internal abscesses, among others.
Whenever your Ball Python sheds, you should inspect it closely to make sure all old skin has come off, particularly in the eye area.
Ball Python Shedding Problems
Shedding problems may occur when the humidity is too low. Anything below 60% humidity is too low. There are several reasons why humidity levels could be too low:
Substrate to dry
Too much ventilation
No water in the water dish
The water dish is too small
Ball Pythons retained eye cap
I would not suggest trying the tape and dabbing method too much damage could be caused to the snake. Try putting the Ball Python in a pillow case with a damp cloth. That can help tremendously for the removal of retained eye caps.
Ball Python Incomplete Sheds
Low humidity is just one cause of incomplete or poor shedding by ball pythons. Incomplete sheds can also be the result of less than adequate husbandry practices on the part of the keeper, parasites or bacterial infections, trauma, over-handling and malnutrition. If the cage has proper humidity and your ball python still has incomplete sheds, you might want to look at some of the reasons just mentioned as a possible causes for the incomplete sheds.
There are several things you can do to help with the shedding process if you experience incomplete sheds. Soaking your ball python in lukewarm water for 15-30 minutes will help loosen up the dry skin in order to make it easy for the ball python to remove.
It will often rub its body against rough areas in its cage in order to free itself of the old skin. You can help this process by lightly rubbing your fingers over the loose shed and rolling it off your ball python.
Common Shedding Questions
Question: Is it normal for my snake to defecate while shedding?
Answer: Yes this is normal! The snake will defecate while shedding to use the weight to help assist in removing the old skin.
Question: What do I do if my snake doesn’t shed in one piece?
Answer: Soak your snake in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes to help loosen the remaining skin.
Ball Python Mites Treatment
Remove the snake from its enclosure. Snakes should be soaked in a dilute Beta-dine water bath the color of a light tea. Place it in a plastic, lidded container into which air holes have been punched, filling it 3/4 full of the Beta-dine/water solution. Place the snake in the solution for 15 minutes. Remove and repeat every two days until your snake’s mite free. This treatment also works well for snake scale rot.
Ball Python Enclosure Treatment
Remove and dispose of all the substrate in the snake’s enclosure. Treat the enclosure using NIX (an over-the-counter preparation for human lice infestations). After treatment clean the enclosure with 50/50 water to bleach mix. Allow it to air dry. Place clean paper towels down for bedding. Place the snake back in. Repeat every six weeks as needed to kill all mites.
And you can read a detailed article about ball pythons shedding and other care, from the link >> how to care for ball pythons.