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Q: Ball Python (a foster pet) all of a sudden can't get enough of his water bowl....
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Hey all!

So I foster for a local exotic animal rescue, and until recently I have fostered only exotic birds.  However, I recently volunteered to care for a 3 year old Ball named Severus Snake.  

He is such a great snake, and fit's every positive note about BP that I have read.  However, over the last week, I have found him in his water bowl at least three times.  

HIs terrarium is setup with two heat zones.  

Water side (bowl) is temp at 75-80 degrees

Hide side (log hide) is 80-85 degrees.  

65% humidity on the regular.  

Substrate is currenty paper towels, but has been newsprint until yesterday. 

I have read up on the mites/shed options.   I have looked closely, and see no mites, though I would take reccomendations on how to check precisely.  And his belly about mid length to tail is "pinking" up.  HIs scales have taken on a recent "purple" sheen in certain light. 

It FEELS like a shed, but I want some thoughts before I take him in to the exotic animal hospital and charge the rescue a new vet bill....

Attached Photos:

Points: 150
Topics: General Health , Skin , Parasites
Tags: Mites, Shed, Waterbowls
Administrative: Show/Hide

Member Comment 7/3/2017 3:24:38 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

When I suspect mites, I like to soak in a clear tub (with lid) for at least a couple hours. Afterwards, I look real close for what will look like pepper on the bottom of the tub - may be black or slightly red in color if very young mites. I will even bring the tub outside to get a better look in the light. I think keeping him on paper towels is a great idea for now - will make any possible mites easier to see.

Author Comment 7/3/2017 3:38:43 PM

How long is too long as far as staying in the bowl? Just got home and he’s still in the bowl. His skin has a decidedly blue hue to it....which again makes me think shed but I can’t be too careful.
Member Comment 7/3/2017 3:55:40 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

Even if he's in shed, soaking in a tub of water isn't gonna hurt at all. Some snakes will also "hide" in their water dishes if they are stressed; which he may be due to transfering to the new evnvironment?? 

Author Comment 7/3/2017 4:27:58 PM

I’ve had him about two months. Shouldn’t he have acclimated by now?
Member Comment 7/3/2017 9:26:12 PM

Does he have hide boxes? Ball pythons can get stressed from too much open space. An undertabk heat pad may be a better option for him as opposed to a heat lamp, and giving him more hides and places to escape to may help too. Is he in a 20 gallon long?
Member Comment 7/9/2017 1:33:27 AM


First double check the temps, maybe telling to warm. Check humidity, maybe saying too dry. Hide spots maybe to big and feel more secure in bowl. Balls tend to like tight spaces feeling surrounded. Good job listening to snake and change in behavour. It's double checking everything to find why, all may be fine and has decided it like this space now?

Member Comment 7/9/2017 1:34:59 AM


Also follow Sonja's advice!

Member Comment 7/10/2017 8:42:00 PM

Great answers already. I just thought that I'd add that I have a lot of snakes and one ball python just loves his water bowl. No mites, not shedding, healthy as a horse... just loves his bowl.
Member Comment 7/13/2017 5:16:30 PM


yes to all of the above. also, if he's on a paper substrate I doubt his humidity is at a constant 65%...you'd have to keep the paper perpetually damp to make that happen, especially in a tank with a heat lamp. are you using one of those stick-on hygrometers you get from a pet store to check the humidity? those are notoriously inaccurate.

it sounds an awful lot like an imminent shed, but all the advice above is excellent and certainly won't hurt him.

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