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Posted by oldherper on April 17, 2003 at 07:58:56:
In Reply to: Great post np posted by snakeguy88 on April 17, 2003 at 07:00:14:
Add to that the fact that most of the people who are selling Ball Pythons in pet stores have NO IDEA of the origin of the snake. Others that do know will outright lie to you. They'll take a fresh import ball python, stick it in a display and put a sign on the front that says "Great feeder! $79.99!". Then when you come back 2 months later and say "This ball python I bought from you won't eat.", the standard response is "It was doing fine for us, besides the guarantee is only for 48 hours." The fact that ball pythons can be so finicky and often do fast makes them much more susceptible to these sorts of problems than, say, a corn snake. Also there is the fact that wild ball pythons don't eat mice (especially white ones) as a part of their natural diet, and may not recognize it as a food item even if they are hungry....especially one that is already dead. Some people have had success starting them on live gerbils, then slowly switching them to f/t mice. A ball python that is not feeding from the get-go can be a real problem, particularly if it's a juvenile and doesn't have a lot of body mass to carry it over until you figure out how to make it eat, and you can rest assured the pet store you bought it from isn't likely to take it back if you can't get it feeding.
::I am one of the reasonably experienced people here who doesn't believe ball pythons make a good beginner snake. I have kept captive bred and born ball pythons and wild caught ball pythons over the years.
::If you get a guaranteed captive bred and born that is eating f/t mice, you will have a great pet (I have one like that right now and it eats like a pig, every time I offer food). Males may occasionally miss a meal if it is breeding season, but otherwise they are easy to feed.
::If you buy a wild caught or farm bred (hatched from a wild caught female) snake, you are likely to have problems. I would hate to imagine how many baby ball pythons suffer agonizing deaths in this country every year from these baby farms.
::How do you tell?
::Buy a Ball Python from a reputable breeder who will guarantee it is captive bred and born and that it is eating f/t mice. However, many beginners end up with baby ball pythons from Petco or some other pet chain that was farm hatched, shipped across the country, crammed in a cage full of other babies, and offered live adult mice as food. BTW - those baby BPs in Petco, Petsmart, local pet stores, etc that retail for $79.99 or even on sale at $49.99 wholesale for $6 each if you buy 20.
::Go to an expo or find a reputable breeder and buy a captive bred snake and your experience will be great. Buy a petco special, and you will be one of the dozens of folks posting their problems on the ball forum every month.
::And feeding is only part of the problem. Ball Pythons have more rigorous husbandry requirements than say, a corn snake. Many newbies don't fully appreciate the temperature requirements of ball pythons and get horrendous advice from a local pet store and end up having trouble because of poor husbandry.
::Most beginners aren't aware of these things, get bad advice from pet stores (and assume the baby balls in the pet store are captive bred) and end up disappointed. That's why many of us don't recommend BPs for beginners.