You may be thinking, why do ball pythons yawn? That seems a bit strange. Well, maybe not.
Yawning is completely normal behaviour for ball pythons. You will commonly see this after your ball python has eaten. In order to swallow their prey whole a ball python has to twist and stretch its mouth into may different positions and directions. After they have finish digesting their food, a ball python will naturally want to get its jaw back into a comfortable position. Sometimes it can take a bit of time to find the right spot, so this may cause your snake to mimic the action of yawning.
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It has even been seen that a ball python will yawn before a meal also. It’s believed that in this instance, a ball python is having a little warm up. Stretching and loosening up its jaw muscles, just before a big feast. Very similar to sportsman before a big game.
So that’s the answer to, why do ball pythons yawn. Now let’s look at some other reasons to be cautious of.
So they don’t yawn like humans do…
No, the “yawning” that you see isn’t actually yawning. It’s more of a stretch.
However, if you see that happening quite often then you should be a little curious, as this isn’t a natural actions for a ball python. Yes from time to time you will see this happen (specially before or after a meal). But it could be something a little more serious than a stretch.
Sometimes a ball python will open its mouth to sneeze. Yep, that’s right, sneeze. Ball pythons sneezes are usually very quiet and not very distinctive like a human sneeze. Snakes sneezes sound like little clicking noises, very faint.
Is this anything to worry about…
Yes, it should definitely concern you. Specially if your ball python isn’t eating. Yawning and not eating could be a bad sign. Signs like this could be link to respiratory problems, for example lung inflammation.
It’s very important that you try notice this as soon as possible. When your ball python yawns, look inside its mouth. What you are looking for is mucus, a slime like substance inside your snakes mouth. If you see this, take your snake straight to a veterinarian. Sneezing is a method used to clear a snakes airways. If they can’t clear them, they most likely can’t breathe properly either.
This could happen because the temperature inside the vivarium isn’t correctly set, or the humidity is too high. Remember that ball pythons don’t come from tropical areas. They actually come from quite dry areas, so the humidity doesn’t always need to be that high. Mainly only through the shedding process or breeding process.
Can I do anything to help without needing to visit the veterinarian…
We understand that many ball python owners don’t have a reptile specialist veterinarian in close proximity. And we also know that veterinarian bill can be pretty expensive. But your snake’s health, and wellness should come before any price tag. You may have read a few theories that seem to be plausible, however, if not treated correctly and promptly, it could have serious consequences to its future health. In some extreme cases can even cause death.
So in conclusion to this article, if you see your ball python is yawning, it’s nothing to worry about to start off with. It’s completely normal. However keep monitoring that it’s not yawning too often. If you do find it’s happening more often than you think it should, and your snake is showing signs of illness, then please seek professional advise from a veterinarian as soon as possible.
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