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RE: New snake questions!

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Posted by: markg at Wed Jun 8 13:22:35 2016  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by markg ]  
   

Just saw this post now in June, you probably made your choice already, but here is some info anyway:

Cal kings are ground-dwelling snakes that do best in cages with a substrate like aspen or soil that they can burrow into, belly heat, and hiding opportunity. Even laying newspaper or packing paper over some aspen makes a great cage as they hide under the newspaper. Branches do nothing, these snakes live in grassland typically in rodent burrows. Lights are not good as they dry the snakes out - kings dry out easily, a water bowl does little. A moist hide is better. These animals do not need high temps for general maintenance - 82-84 deg is fine for the heat pad, the ambient air can be anything from 60-80 because these snakes use belly heat even in the wild.

Cal kings are often nervous but many calm down with age. They feed often during certain seasons, and very little in others. Do not expect "once-a-week" all year. Reality is more like 2x a week during some months and zero during others. They feed heavily typically in early Spring and often in Fall. They do not feed much in Summer. In Winter, if your ambient temps are in the 60s, best to not feed at all and turn off all heat. If a king is biting your hand then it wants food in most cases.

Ball pythons are also ground-dwellers that hide all day and in the wild feed at night. They need warmth to digest more so than a Cal king because of their larger mass. In Winter, they need ambient temps to be above 70 deg typically, and they always need a basking spot. They also need tight hides and the ability to retain moisture. Radiant heat panels work better than lights for ball pythons. I would do belly heat and then an RHP during cooler months. Plastic cages like sweater boxes work best for ball pythons - they like low-height and low-light.

Ball pythons I have had are great feeders when young, then go into more of a seasonal mode where they feed well during some months and not in others. No problem, they are fine. I got mine to eat frozen/thawed food by warming the food before offering. I have never had to feed live food to a ball python, but I have only had 6. One was given to me as a live-only feeder, and it took a thawed rat in the 1st try. People, sheesh.

Ball pythons are more susceptible to getting sick if allowed to get too cold and too dry in Winter, whereas Cal kings are better built to handle cold. You need to consider that. If you are willing to make sure that you keep proper temps and humidity, then ball pythons are really cool because of their perfect size - not big but not small, laid back and not squirmy like a kingsnake can be.


   

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