Ball pythons may appear to humans as innocuous creatures, but they have a lot of personality and a lot of curious traits. These traits delight and often surprise – the Indian Express highlighted one python who somehow laid 7 eggs despite having no male company for a decade. This is not common, but happens more than you think, it would, and is called parthenogenesis and we’ve had it happen under our roof, where a female had been bred to a super Butter, so all the babies should have had butter, but instead they all looked just like mom.
The curiosities of the lives that ball pythons lead are not just something to enjoy as a ball python owner, but are also something that can influence how you look after these amazing creatures and care for them in a way that benefits their long-term health.
Ball pythons are, like many of their kin, nocturnal creatures. They prefer to spend the daytime curled up inside of holes and tunnels, and often spend the evening hours exploring and hunting. What’s less well known is just how lazy ball pythons can be. Owners might suspect they have a relaxed aura, and that’s for good reason. Ball pythons can sleep for up to 20 hours a day. Snakes do sleep for long hours, but this is a long period even among similar creatures. The reason for this is down to thermoregulation, but ball pythons also get up and move around – they will happily get up to drink. You can tell a ball python is happily snoozing if their tongue is hanging slack.
Man’s best friend
Snakes are often kept at arm’s-length – they have a well regarded fearsome reputation. Ball pythons, on the other hand, are definitely the opposite – they love to be handled just as any lapdog might. Indeed, some ball pythons enjoy being handled at least once a day, when they will coil around arms or drape around necks in a relaxed fashion. What’s more, they have historically served important purposes when it comes to pest control – farmers in northern Africa, who first ‘domesticated’ them, would use them as a very effective way to keep mice and rats out of their crops and homes.
Perhaps most intriguing about the ball python is its longevity. Snakes have a huge variation in life span – several sea snakes only live to around 9 years. The ball python, conversely, is regarded as having a good life in captivity if it reaches 20-30 years old, and one zoo has recorded a ball python living to 47 years. Lifespans can get longer as owners become more in-the-know and sensitive to their needs. Taking on a ball python is a lifetime task, then, and one that requires constant care and attention – but you’d give that to any other animal, and you should do that for a snake, too.
That’s especially true when you consider how fantastic and unique ball pythons are. They are truly a fantastic and curious species that deserve every bit of love and attention. Owners can be sure to have a truly fantastic pet that returns the dedication it is provided with, and will continue to do so for years to come.