Ball pythons are constrictors native to west and central Africa. They have a gentle nature which makes them a favorite pet snake among many hobbyists. When I first encountered a ball python, I was apprehensive about their nature. Many new snake owners often wonder if ball pythons are aggressive. I have prepared this article to answer some of the questions you may have about ball python aggression.
Are ball pythons aggressive?
Ball pythons are gentle snakes that got their name from their defensive nature where they coil into a tight ball. They are not aggressive and rarely bite. They however can potentially lash out and bite whoever is handling them if stressed or agitated. There is no drawing line between female and male ball pythons in terms of aggression. Ball pythons have different temperaments, as such; one ball python may tend to be more aggressive than the other.
What is the temperament of a ball python
Ball pythons are snakes which are well tempered. They have a gentle nature which makes them great beginner pet snakes. Due to their docile nature, ball pythons are easy to handle and care for.
Ball pythons that have been reared in captivity are especially more docile. On the other hand, wild ball pythons captured and reared as pets may have a tendency towards aggression. Do not capture wild ball pythons instead purchase them from local breeders.
When purchasing a new ball python we recommend you go to the pet store in person. As such, you will have the opportunity to handle the ball python you intend to purchase and test out its temperament before purchasing. Ball pythons have different personalities and therefore different temperaments. Some may be gentler than others.
Can a ball python bite?
Most snakes will strike out and bite as a defense mechanism if they feel threatened. Just like a millipede, the ball python prefers to coil into a tight ball with the head firmly tucked in the middle when threatened. Ball pythons therefore make good snake pets even for families with children as they rarely bite.
Although captive ball pythons are docile and curl up as a defense mechanism, there are instances when they may bite you or anyone handling them.
What are the instances that a ball python may become aggressive?
A ball python is a gentle snake that makes a good pet snake even for beginner hobbyist. However, when stressed or agitated a ball python may become aggressive and could possible strike out and bite.
There are a number of instances that a ball python may become agitated and bite whoever is handling them. You should be weary of these instances and avoid handling your ball python then.
- Before and after feeding – most snakes become aggressive when it is near feeding time. They may lash out and bite whoever is handling them. Ball pythons are defensive even after a meal. It is best to avoid handling a ball python before or after a meal to avoid being bitten. You can handle the ball python after they have had a bowel movement or after the lump of feeding is no longer visible.
- During the shedding process – Ball pythons just like other snakes become aggressive around the time of shedding. Avoid handling your ball python if you notice they are about to shed. Additionally, the snake’s new skin can be very sensitive and if handled they may bite, it is therefore best to wait until a day or two after shedding before handling your ball python.
- A female ball python may become aggressive towards anyone handling them when they are protecting their eggs. It is best to avoid handling a female ball python with eggs if you notice the tale tell signs of a ball python that is about to strike.
- A ball python may strike and bite you if they smell the scent of their potential prey on you. Avoid handling a ball python after handling their potential prey or after handling chicken and chicken products. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your ball python.
Ball pythons are docile snakes native to west and central Africa. They gentle nature and relatively small size makes them a favorite in the exotic pet industry. Unlike other snakes, when threatened they prefer to coil into a tight ball with their head firmed tucked in the middle.
Ball pythons are not aggressive snakes, however, when stressed or agitated they may lash out and strike whoever is handling them. There are several instances that a ball python may bite their handler including.
- Before or after feeding time
- During the shedding period
- When a female is protecting her eggs
- Handling them after handling their potential prey
Ball pythons like other snakes will warn you before they bite you. It is best to be weary of the tale tell signs of a snake that is about to strike to avoid being bitten.