I have always thought snakes were neat; as a kid, I would pick them up without thinking. Thankfully, I was only bitten once, and I'm pretty sure that none of the snakes I just happened to grab were venomous.
A couple of weeks back, I acquired a Ball python from a good friend. I knew nothing about Ball pythons, but I had handled this little guy once and thought he was, well...nothing short of awesome. When I brought him home, I knew I would have to do a lot of learning, and quickly at that. I was willing to put the time in, so I just went for it, even though I would be the first person to say that such a situation is hardly the ideal way to go about getting a pet.
I named my little guy, Juju, after the snake in the Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog. His former keeper told me that Juju was about six-months old. I did not handle him for a week after I got him, and then fed him a live rat pup. He ate just fine, and I waited two more days to handle him. He is as sweet as can be but has had a hard time with his last shed, which was just ending when he came to live with me. I am amazed by his friendly personality, despite his shedding difficulty.
I bought a short book on Ball pythons, and I'm about halfway through. I have changed out Aspen for Eco Earth coconut fiber substrate, added a cool mist vaporizer to the room, and was able to boost the humidity from a paltry 35% to 50%. I have ordered an ultrasonic warm mist humidifier, which I hope will raise the humidity another 10%.
Juju also needs a new enclosure, as he is in a tall tank, with not much floor space. Right now, I am unable to create both a warm and a cool spot for him. He has only got a red light for heat, and I have just discovered that this is hardly ideal. I plan to add some belly heat for him this week.
I was a bit nervous last night, as he would not eat the second rat pup that I had purchased for him. This morning, his meal was covered in substrate, so I took the poor thing out and rinsed it off. I put Juju in a plastic feeding tub with some warm water and a folded hand towel. He seemed much more energetic after his half-hour soak (maybe spa-like for a snake). I dried out the tub, added the rat pup and put Juju back inside. About two hours later, I checked on him. I was scared to death to see him lying on his side at a rather awkward angle. I thought he might be dead. But he was rolled around the rat pup, and I could see his obvious breathing. About ten minutes later, I walked back in the room with my iPhone and captured him eating his meal, quite by accident. I uploaded the video to YouTube, but I'm not sure if there is a way to share it here. I know many people recommend against live-feeding, but that's what he was started on, so I intend to stick with it.
Of course, now I am hooked on these creatures called Ball Pythons, and snakes in general. I can't wait to get more.