The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Ball Pythons are some of the most common pet pythons, if not the most common. They’re usually recommended for beginner reptile and snake owners since they’re pretty resilient.
Like all pets, though, ball pythons are vulnerable to many illnesses. So, snake owners need to understand everything about their pets’ behavior and how to keep them healthy.
One of the concerns new ball python owners have is why their new pet isn’t moving. Usually, this isn’t a problem and you shouldn’t be concerned.
However, lethargy might sometimes be a symptom of serious complications. So, it’s best to have a good understanding of your python’s behavior so that you know if you should be alarmed or not.
In this article, you’ll know all the reasons that might be causing your ball python to not move. Let’s begin!
Several reasons could be causing your ball python to feel lethargic or not motivated to move a lot. In most cases, this is normal and not alarming.
Don’t forget that ball pythons got their name because they’re famous for curling up into a ball when they’re shy or defensive.
Let’s discuss some of the normal causes that can make your reptile lethargic:
1 – New Environment
Usually, when you get a new ball python, you’ll notice that it’s very shy and might spend a lot of time balled up. Changing environments for a ball python is pretty stressful.
Moving is stressful and causes a lot of anxiety for many of us. The same goes for pythons as well. They’re moving from the only home they’ve known to a new environment.
It’s a normal thing for your ball python to be shy and stressed. And when you put your python into its new home, you’ll notice that it goes straight to its hiding spot and might spend a few days there.
The one thing that you can do to help your pet adjust to its new environment is to leave it alone for at least a week or maybe two. So, don’t try to handle the animal and don’t try to feed it.
Just change the water regularly and check on him with your eyes.
2 – After a Meal
A healthy adult ball python should be fed every two weeks. After it gets its meal, it might become lethargic.
Ball pythons use a lot of their energy to digest their food. So, they usually spend a lot of time sleeping after. Just give them their time until they poop, which can be within five to seven days after eating.
If your ball python is spending a lot of its time on the warm side, it might be giving you a hint that he’s cold. Ball pythons need a cool side of 75 to 80°F and 80 to 85°F on the warm side.
Ball pythons, unlike humans, are cold-blooded. This means that they don’t produce body heat. So, if your pet isn’t moving as it used to and it’s spending most of its time near the warm side, check the temperature and adjust it.
You might think that your ball python doesn’t come out of his hide or that it doesn’t move, but maybe it’s just asleep. Bear in mind that ball pythons are nocturnal.
This means that when you’re in bed having your best sleep, your pet is active and going on with its day. So, don’t worry if your pet is spending its daytime curled up in its hide.
5 – Preparing for Shedding
Like many reptiles, shedding is stressful for snakes. It takes a lot of their energy and they try to preserve as much as they can for the process.
This means that your ball python might not eat or move as it used to before starting the shedding cycle. It might spend most of its time curled up in its hide.
Ball pythons might have their shedding cycle every four to ten weeks. This of course varies depending on their age, size, health, and growth rate.
Over time, you’ll start to know the frequency and time of your ball python’s shedding cycle. What you should keep in mind is to not do anything that might cause him stress.
This includes force-feeding or handling it. Just leave your pet alone even if it’s been hiding and not moving a lot. This is normal before its shedding process.
Inactivity and hiding when it comes to ball pythons are normal and you shouldn’t be concerned about anything.
However, if this is accompanied by other symptoms, this could mean that the ball python is sick.
These symptoms include:
- Mucous in mouth
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Off-color or bloody stools
- Bubbles coming out of the nose
- Weight loss
- Discharge coming out of the eyes
- Abnormal posture, such as stargazing
Some of these symptoms could mean serious illnesses. In this case, the help of a vet is necessary.
Hiding near the heat source a lot while having bubbles and discharge coming out of the python’s nose and eyes could mean that the python is suffering from a respiratory infection which could be lethal in some cases.
Lethargy could also be a symptom of the stargazing syndrome. This is much easier to notice as the snake starts to make some weird movements with its head and neck.
Some of these symptoms accompanied by lethargy could mean that the python has some type of parasites or infection. In this case, it might fast and stop eating.
So, the best thing you could do to your python if you suspect any of these cases is to take it to the vet as soon as possible.
You shouldn’t be worried about your ball python not moving or hiding a lot as long as it doesn’t display any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
All you need to do for your pet snake, in this case, is to leave it alone and give it time. When in doubt, call your vet or give him a visit and check up on your python.