For novice ball python owners, handling your snake for the first time can be very exciting. Give it a few days to settle in its new home before you start picking it up.
Since ball pythons are generally shy, do not force your snake to be handled immediately if it doesn't seem to be up to it yet. When you try to pick it up and it moves away, it will bluff you with hissing and threatening its tail. Be persistent but gentle.
With daily contact sessions with your snake, no matter how brief, it will establish confidence and trust between you both. Once comfortable with your presence, you can start touring it around your house. However, do not assume loyalty right away. Seeing an opportunity, it will slither and run away from you.
Just be gentle, avoiding sudden movements. If it wraps around your neck or arms, unwind it by carefully gasping it on the tail. Then, carefully unwrap it from around your arms or neck. Never unwrap your snake via moving its head. There are sensitive snakes with a bad temperament after eating. Put the python back in its tank after feeding.
The IBD or Inclusion Body Disease is a type of virus affecting most boids (pythons and boas). It is fatal in pythons. Some stores still sell pythons and boas even with IBD due to high demands of these pets. Therefore be careful in what you buy. Here are basic guidelines to help you detect healthy boids.
Spend some time observing them first in a store. Observe the movements, eyes, scales and tongue. When adding a new Boid to your other snakes, observe stern quarantine procedures. IBD can take some months before it begins to manifest.
Take your Boid to a reptile vet if you notice that it is not acting very well. Symptoms include regurgitating meals, loss of appetite, respiratory infection, mouth-rot, stargazing and contorted body positions. Warn your vet that you are suspecting your snake of having IBD. This way, the vet can secure the premises for other Boids that may get infected.
It is important to know more about IBD. This way you will understand what triggers it and how deadly it is for your Boids. It does not entail snake-to-snake contacts for IBD to spread.
Most viruses are airborne, so you need to think twice before taking your Boids to places, where in, you can encounter snakes with careless owners.
When infected with IBD, try using nolvasan or chlorhexidine diacetate. It is used for thoroughly cleaning enclosures and disinfecting the water and food bowls, sinks, tubs and hands among other areas.
Use betadine (iodine/povidone) to cleanse wounds and scratches.
Always set aside water and feeding bowls, as well as food storage bowls, tubs or soaking bowls and even the sponges used by your snake.
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