As a ball python owner, you might be looking for new and fun activities to stimulate your pet both mentally and physically. But you might not be sure what kinds of activities will be safe and fun for your snake!
So can I put my ball python in the grass? Absolutely! Just make sure the temperature is appropriate, that the area hasn’t been treated with chemicals, and that your ball python is safe from potential predators. You’ll also want to try to avoid your snake picking up any mites while it is outside.
Below, learn about the different precautions you’ll need to take before letting your ball python explore the great outdoors. You’ll also get to read about how to treat mites if your snake does catch them from being outside. Finally, we’ve provided you with some great tips to keep in mind if you decide to take your ball python out in public.
Taking Your Ball Python Outside
Taking your ball python outside and letting it explore a completely new environment can be very fun for both you and your pet! Your snake will enjoy checking out its surroundings, and you’ll love observing them in a more natural habitat.
Plus, your ball python will get to enjoy fresh air and real sunshine. Although the light you provide in its tank is definitely sufficient, nothing can beat real sunlight! However, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind if you decide to take your ball python outside.
Check the Temperature
It may seem obvious, but autumn and wintertime are definitely not ideal for letting your ball python explore. Instead, the temperature outside should be similar to the temperature in your snake’s tank.
This means you should select a day that is between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also want to make sure you have fresh water and plenty of shade available for your ball python so that it can regulate its temperature as needed.
Look Out for Chemicals
One of the biggest things to watch out for is whether the grass in the area your ball python is going to explore has been treated with chemicals or pesticides. For this reason, it’s best to let your snake roam in your own backyard, where you can ensure that the area is totally chemical-free.
It’s harder to know if public areas have been treated with different products to help the grass grow or kill off pesky insects. Unfortunately, these kinds of chemicals can harm or even kill your ball python, so this isn’t something to take lightly.
Be Aware of Other Animals
It’s ideal to take your ball python to an area where there are no other animals, but this isn’t always possible. Remember that large birds and mammals can see your pet as prey, so it’s very important that you don’t get distracted and take your eyes off of your ball python! It’s necessary to keep a watchful eye on your snake and its surroundings to make sure no harm comes to it.
Check for Mites
Perhaps the most common unwanted result of taking your ball python outside is that it returns to its tank with mites. Mites are parasitic bugs that feed off of your ball python’s blood. You should be able to tell pretty easily if your snake has them.
Snake mites are small and resemble poppy seeds. They can be black, gray, or red. Typically, they gather around the eyes and ears. Although they are pretty tiny, you should easily be able to see them with the naked eye.
Other Symptoms of Mites
Aside from seeing the mites themselves, there are some other indicators that your ball python is suffering from these parasites.
- Rubbing against surfaces in its tank
- Soaking for long periods of time
- Loss of appetite
- Black dots on shed skin
- Black dots on hands after handling your snake
- Ash-like dust on your snake’s scales (mite feces)
Treatment for Mites
If your snake has mites, it’s necessary to treat your pet and eradicate the mites from its environment. In some cases, you’ll need to take your ball python to the vet, but for the most part you can get rid of mites at home.
Mites reproduce very quickly and can be difficult to get rid of, so it’s important to take each step of the process very seriously. First, remove your snake from its tank and take out all accessories.
Fill the tank with hot water and dishwashing liquid, which will kill the mites inside. Then scrub it with a mixture of water and bleach. Thoroughly clean all accessories and dry them and the tank completely before reassembling your pet’s habitat.
Next, you’ll want to use Fipronil spray on the inside and outside of your snake’s tank. Spray your ball python with Fipronil as well. Then repeat the cleaning process twice a week, and spray with Fipronil every three weeks. At this point, the mites should be completely gone. If you still see them around your snake’s enclosure or on your ball python, repeat the process.
Another option for treatment is Nix, which is used to treat head lice in humans. Do not use both Fipronil and Nix–use only one or the other. You’ll want to mix a 56ml bottle of Nix with a gallon of distilled water and put it in a spray bottle.
Spray your snake thoroughly with this mixture. After cleaning your ball python’s tank with dishwashing liquid and bleach as described above, spray the inside and outside of the cage with the Nix and water mixture. Repeat this process once a week for three weeks.
Guidelines for Taking Your Ball Python Out in Public
Many ball python owners don’t recommend taking your snake out in public because of the negative reactions you might receive from people who are uncomfortable with or afraid of snakes. If you do decide to take your snake out in public, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Check Local Laws and Regulations
In most areas, it’s legal to take a pet snake out in public. However, it’s usually not allowed to take it into a busy place such as a public park, shopping mall, or grocery store. Before you take your ball python out in public, be sure to check all of the state and local regulations regarding pets. You don’t want to run into any legal ramifications such as possibly losing custody of your ball python!
Taking a Walk
Taking a snake for a walk is very different from taking a dog for a walk. You can’t just put a leash on your ball python. Instead, you’ll need to hold onto its tail or keep it around your neck. Whatever you do, never let go of your snake!
When choosing a place to go for a walk, try to find an area that isn’t heavily populated. It’s best to try to avoid other people and animals. Unfortunately, new laws and regulations that limit snakes owners’ rights are being passed every year. Therefore it’s best to avoid adding to the negative stigma by keeping to yourself while allowing your pet to enjoy some fresh air.
A reptile show is the best place to go if you’re looking to take your snake out in public. This is because the people who attend a reptile show aren’t going to have a negative or aggressive reaction towards your pet. You’ll be able to educate others on ball pythons and enjoy seeing and interacting with other reptiles as well.
If you’ve been wanting to let your snake slither around in your backyard, you definitely can! This can be a stimulating and fun activity as long as you take the proper precautions. Make sure the temperature is warm enough, that no pesticides have been used on the grass, and that there are no potential predators in the area.
If your pet picks up mites from being outdoors, it can be a bit of a nuisance to get rid of them. Cleaning your ball python’s tank with dishwashing liquid and bleach should exterminate the mites in your snake’s environment, while you’ll want to use Fipronil or Nix to treat your ball python itself.
Taking your snake out in public isn’t generally recommended, but it’s possible. Make sure to read up on local laws and regulations regarding pets, and stick to areas that are more private. Avoid letting go of your snake under any circumstances.
Letting your snake slither around in the grass can be a fun and rewarding activity! As long as you remember the guidelines discussed above, your ball python shouldn’t suffer any ill effects and will remain healthy and happy.