Many pythons are often very docile snakes, but do ball pythons bite? Although they can get quite big in size, they are of little threat to a humans. Like all snakes, a bite every once in a while isn’t unheard of. However, usually a ball python will only ever attack its prey, or what they see as food. Ball python bites are generally not that serious and usually quite painless, on the scale of snake bites.
Ball pythons do however have very sharp teeth, but they seriously lack in jaw strength. Bites will typically feel like a series of pin pricks, which will feel like a scratch. The shock of a bite will be what causes your heart rate to raise. Once a ball python realises you’re not food, it will quickly let go. Try not to pull yourself away from the bite as this will cause you more harm, and possibly your snake.
Extra Useful Information
Ball pythons are generally very friendly towards humans and can be handled. Just make sure they are comfortable in your presence and completely stress free before trying to handle. Obviously snakes aren’t as playful and loving as a dog may be, however they will enjoy your touch. A ball python will enjoy using you as a climbing frame, and will even wrap itself around you arm or waist. If you are comfortable with that. It should be relatively easy to unwrap a ball put-on from your arm.
Ball pythons can actually go a very long time without a meal. It’s been known that in the wild ball pythons can go from six months, up to two years without having a meal. They are very well adapted to waiting. This is thought as to why they are able to live up to the ages the can. They tend to keep a very low profile until they want to eat.
So do ball pythons bite? No, not usually. Just always be a little cautious when handling them.
What To Do When a Ball Python Bites?
Do not panic
Ball python bites are not serious or harmful and are generally thought to be painless. Your first instinct may be to pull away instantly. But you should NEVER do this. Pulling away from a ball python whilst they are latched on will only cause a tighter hold. Ball pythons have teeth specially designed to keep hold of wriggling prey, which actually get deeper into the prey as it struggles. This is no different with humans.
Usually a ball python will quickly release a human as it realises you’re not food, or a threat to its safety. It may just be that it’s a little stressed and doesn’t want to be handled, or simply that it’s hungry and has mistaken you (your hand) for food.
Removal of a latched ball python
Give your snake a minute to calm down. Once latched the initial shock is over. Ball pythons jaw aren’t that strong, so the pressure afterwards will be very minimal. Most commonly they will release you pretty quickly.
If your ball python refuses to let go there are a couple of methods you can try to unlatch them. Firstly its recommend to try pouring some cold water over the latched area. The shock of cold water should usually be enough for the snake to unlatch itself.
If this doesn’t work, then option two is very similar. You just have to replace the cold water with something a little stronger. Vodka, Whisky, Gin. Any alcohol with a high concentrate. This is known as the most effective way to remove any snake from being latched, not just ball pythons. Alcohol is harmless to snakes, and they will definitely not enjoy it, so they will be quick to unleash themselves.
Treating the bite
You will likely not have to worry about visiting a doctor after a ball python bite. They aren’t venomous so there’s no need to visit a specialist. That said, snakes can carry some potentially harmful bacteria, so you could visit a doctor if you’d like to be on the safe side.
Alternatively, a ball python bite should be pretty harmless. It’s best to quickly wash the latched area and treat with an antiseptic wipe. If antiseptic wipe aren’t available, then pouring vodka over the wound will also sterilise the area. However this may sting a little.
Once treated, cover the wound with a bandage just to keep the wound safe from your day to day doings. This will decrease the chance of infections. After a day this can be removed. You shouldn’t be in any danger from infections after this point, once the wound has dried and healed.
If on the very rare occasion the bite does become infected, then please seek advise from a doctor.
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