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General Herp Talk Can't figure out where to post down in the other discussion forums? Too many options and too complicated? Well post your herp related messages here and to heck with it.

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Old 07-03-2018, 03:26 PM   #1
samantharenee
Question Is this unfair to the snake?

Hi all,

Iíve been considering getting a ball python for a few months now, and doing as much research as I can. Iím confident I can give it proper living conditions (heat, humidity, hides, space, diet, etc). Iíve got enough money squirreled away for emergency vet trips as well as regular checkups, and thereís a competent vet in the area. I know how long these animals can live and am prepared to take care of it for the duration of its life. Iím not going to have a meltdown and get rid of the animal if it bites me. Iím not going to get bored with it when it doesnít want to play fetch or jump through hoops or do much beyond chill and hide during the day. I donít want to take it to the local Starbucks or use it to freak out/impress friends. I like snakes for the snake-y things they bring to the table, and not just because it seems cheaper than getting a dog. I want to keep it in a way that will let the animal live a healthy, contented life.

Hereís my hesitation. Iím currently right in the middle of undergrad studies going into my third year. I typically travel home in December. I typically leave town for a week or two in the summer. When I graduate, the plan has been to spend a year or so teaching abroad. So, Iím not traveling all the time, but Iím not super stable either. For most of those things, I would probably be able to find a neighbor or roommate willing to petsit, but that involves leaving someone who doesnít necessarily know a lot watching my animal. In other cases, itís going to mean transporting the animal either along with me to a new location or full days car ride to drop it off with my parents (the designated babysitters) who would have more familiarity, and are willing to learn, but still donít have any reptile experience (and momís not all that crazy about snakes anyways). Planned traveling aside, life happens and I will doubtless be moving around a fair bit for the next 5-6 years. Ball pythons are small enough theyíre not restricted anywhere I know of (though they could give a landlord pause) and not local anywhere in the US so you donít need special permits for them. Any long term moves abroad that are likely would allow me to move it with me (not huge, not endangered, not on any restricted lists that Iíve been able to find), but thatís a BIG trip for any pet. Medium trips are where my parents would come in as designated temporary caretakers, assuming no one who popped up with actual reptile experience could be found.

I know these snakes are relatively hardy. But that seems like (even with efforts to minimize it, and if nothing unexpected pops up) a lot of moving and a lot of stress on the animal. And unlike a dog or cat, thereís about a zero percent chance the snake sees a car ride as a fun adventure- to say nothing of a longer distance shipping experience. So my question, which is in the title, is to ask whether this is just flat out unfair to the animal and one of those things I should really be putting off until Iím in a more stable place in my life. Does anyone else have experience with getting a snake (and it would definitely just be the one) and having to move around? Strong opinions about it being a bad idea? Maybe opinions about it being a good one?

Depending on the day Iíve been jumping between these being totally manageable obstacles or proof that Iíd be a horrible keeper who would probably manage to kill the snake from stress or leaving it with someone unqualified. And really, it could go either way and kind of feels like one of those things where you do it and luck is what determines whether you get to look back on it as a good decision or a horrible one. Iíd just like to check in with some people who a) actually have snakes b) arenít other college students who donít really have a lot of experience to go on and have a well-established tendency to make dumb pet decisions and c) might have done this song and dance already.

What do you think?
 
Old 07-03-2018, 03:38 PM   #2
Robert Walker
Quote:
Originally Posted by samantharenee View Post
I’m confident I can give it proper living conditions (heat, humidity, hides, space, diet, etc). I’ve got enough money squirreled away for emergency vet trips as well as regular checkups,
These are the qualities that the snake is most going to care about, especially a ball python. They are extremely hardy snakes and very forgiving.

Snakes are an ideal pet for someone in your shoes. I was once there too. If you have to drop off your snake for a week with your parents, no problem. Drive the snake over, feed it and come back in a week. Don't...
feed it, drive over then leave or your new friend might.

I would do it and see nothing in your story that would stop me. If you only knew the conditions of what most snakes, held by individuals, live like, they would thank their lucky stars to live with you.

If push ever came to shove, I'm sure you would find it a happy home at that time. Great pets, great times. Enjoy!
 
Old 07-03-2018, 03:40 PM   #3
Robert Walker
Lastly do yourself a huge favor and purchase a ball pythons that will eat frozen-thawed rats.
 
Old 07-04-2018, 01:05 AM   #4
Randall Turner
I agree with what Mr Walker said above, especially the frozen thawed eater advice.
 
Old 07-05-2018, 07:47 PM   #5
paulh
Quote:
Originally Posted by samantharenee View Post
.... Planned traveling aside, life happens and I will doubtless be moving around a fair bit for the next 5-6 years. Ball pythons are small enough theyíre not restricted anywhere I know of (though they could give a landlord pause) and not local anywhere in the US so you donít need special permits for them. Any long term moves abroad that are likely would allow me to move it with me (not huge, not endangered, not on any restricted lists that Iíve been able to find), ....

What do you think?
Restrictions on pets are most likely to be at the city/town and landlord levels. Some towns are so uptight that all constricting snakes are prohibited. Including a 12 inch corn snake. Do your research. By the way, landlords are more likely to approve "aquarium pets" than snakes.

Have you looked at the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) list? All members of the family Pythonidae (including ball pythons) are on Appendix II. https://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php. That does not mean taking a pet python to another country is impossible, but it is far from a matter of putting the snake in a bag and boarding a plane. Airlines also have rules about transporting animals. Anyway, CITES is what makes me advise against getting a ball python at this time.

Good luck.
 
Old 07-05-2018, 08:09 PM   #6
Helenthereef
paulh makes a good point about transporting a snake. I remember a thread some time ago where someone was having a lot of trouble getting her pet from the USA to Canada. I think in the end she was advised to ship it to herself, as there was no simple way to travel with it.

Otherwise I agree it's not a bad idea - I would have chosen to keep snakes anyway, but they are by far the best pet for me as I constantly travel away from home for 1 - 2 weeks at a time, and they don't even know I'm gone.
You can't ask for a much more low-maintenance animal (sadly, it won't miss you ). But be very sure of the people you leave them with and/or ensure you have a good local reptile vet - most people won't know how to deal with a problem if something does crop up.

Also one further note of caution about leaving it with other people. If you cruise some of the BOI dramas, you'll find a fair amount of disputes over ownership of animals left in the care of others. Make sure the arrangement is clear, and possibly record it as a paper contract, covering some things like length of stay, who covers food or other expenses, exactly when you expect to collect your animal etc.
 
Old 07-18-2018, 10:40 PM   #7
hotlips
While snakes are fairly low-maintenance pets and not emotionally dependent on us the way more traditional pets (dogs, cats, birds) are, I'd advise against getting a ball python now for these reasons:

1. As already mentioned, travel abroad is not a good option: it may not be allowed, and shipping carries health risks. Depending on where you go, you also may not find veterinary support should your snake require it. Not to mention locals who don't welcome your pet.

2. Ball pythons require more heat & humidity than some more easily-cared-for species that would stress less from changing locations & caretakers. In addition, ball pythons can be very fussy feeders, even if they aren't when you first get them, & it's not fair to whomever you leave such a snake with unless they have real snake experience with similar snakes. How many of them will want to pull out a hair-dryer to re-warm the dead rat that your snake rejected twice so far? A good many BPs are picky eaters or may also have long periods of fasting: it's not fun to keep offering & throwing away food, wondering why they won't eat or if they are sick. Hard enough for many owners to deal with these questions, but not fair to a pet-sitter IMO.
 
Old 07-19-2018, 03:55 AM   #8
Helenthereef
In light of this, maybe a corn/rat snake or a boa would be a better option than a ball python?
 
Old 07-19-2018, 07:42 AM   #9
Robert Walker
OP posted and then hasn't been back.
 
Old 07-19-2018, 09:30 PM   #10
Helenthereef
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Walker View Post
OP posted and then hasn't been back.
Ah, thanks. I hadn't been paying attention.
 

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