Ball pythons are a species of pythons that are known for curling themselves into a ball. They are characteristically solitary creatures; they are shy, and they prefer to be alone. Therefore, you will rarely find two ball pythons together in the wild except when they are breeding or if they must share a burrow. Several things could go wrong should ball pythons cohabit. If you are considering rearing ball pythons in the same tank, this article will give you insights into whether it is a good idea, how many ball pythons you should put in one tank, and the problems you expect from cohabiting ball pythons.
Can ball pythons live together?
Yes, ball pythons can live together. However, the bigger question here is, is it safe? The answer to that is no. The risks of rearing your ball pythons in the same tank are far worse than the benefits you intend to gain. Therefore, we do not recommend putting ball pythons together.
How many ball pythons can live together?
We have already seen that there are potential dangers to placing ball pythons together. Therefore, if you have to put these snakes in the same tank, keep the number to only two ball Pythons per tank.
Most of the time, the need to put ball pythons together comes from wanting to breed them. That begs the question; can male and female ball pythons live together? The answer is yes, but it is still not safe. The potential dangers of placing them together are far worse than the advantage of breeding them. To start, you may succeed at getting them to copulate. However, this is as far as it goes. Female ball Pythons are known to stop copulating several months before they lay their eggs. If the two snakes are still cohabiting, the male ball Python may harass the female for copulation. What happens is that the female ball python may retaliate, and we will have two snakes fighting.
We recommend that you hire a professional breeder for your ball pythons. Alternatively, if you insist on doing it on your own, only introduce the snakes for copulation. Consider checking if both male and female ball pythons are ripe for breeding. After they have copulated, separate the snakes and let them live separately.
Limiting the number of ball pythons to two is not the only hack to house two ball pythons in the same tank. Here are a few more tips. Before we jump into it, note that you should only use the information if it is necessary for the ball Pythons to live together. It is also important to note that implementing these tips does not entirely erase the dangers of ball pythons cohabiting
- Use a spacious tank that can house the two sakes and still have enough space to allow movement.
- Have an ample outdoor space to allow the snakes to enjoy some alone time when they need to.
READ ALSO: Do Ball Pythons Like to Be Held and Pet?
Problems and Dangers of Keeping Two Snakes Together
Other than ball pythons, it is rarely a good decision to put two snakes together. This section will look at the problems and dangers of housing ball pythons together and with other species of snakes.
- The danger of competition
Ball pythons are innately competitive creatures. Their competitive nature is easily seen when breeding. First, males compete against females by having wrestling matches. After the males have fought, the female has to choose a male snake then she drives the other male away. Therefore, placing a male and female ball python together for breeding may not necessarily lead to breeding. Your male of choice may not be the female’s choice. In addition, placing two male ball pythons in the same tank increases the competition mood and the number of fights which could easily lead to wounds or even the death of the snakes.
- One snake could establish dominance over the other.
As we have mentioned before, ball pythons are highly competitive. They, therefore, tend to mark the territory of their resources by establishing dominance over the other snake when forced to cohabit. Dominance could exhibit itself as the two snakes having a favorite position in the tank. On the outside, it looks like the snakes have adjusted and are getting along. However, more often than not, the dominant snake has acquired a spot with the right warmth for its optimum survival. The other snake is denied access to such resources, and they, therefore, have to do with what is available. It may lead to the submissive snake developing stress or health complications due to poor quality of life.
Still, on dominance, the dominant snake is likely to steal food belonging to the submissive snake. Over time, the submissive snake becomes underfed, and it may eventually develop health complications.
- The Snakes could develop stress
Stress among ball pythons could happen to both the dominant and the submissive snake. The more competitive snake, and the snake that is chased away, could develop stress when they keep sharing a home. Stress in snakes could lead to health complications.
It can be hard to tell when the snake is experiencing low-level stress. Here are some of the signs to look out for
- The snakes stop feeding
- Excessive weight loss
- The sakes become too restless. They are constantly exploring, especially during the day
- The snakes become aggressive. They may rub their nose against things
- Any other behavior that was not there should be a cause of alarm
- The danger of cannibalism
Although cases of one ball python eating the other are rare, it is a potential danger. The danger of cannibalism increases if your ball pythons are not of the same size. In most cases, the enormous python could cannibalize the smaller one. It is recommended that if your ball pythons have to cohabit, they should at least be of the same size to reduce the chances of cannibalism
- Spreading of diseases becomes easier
It is easier for one snake to spread diseases to the other while they are cohabiting. As such, should the disease be severe, you risk losing both snakes at the same time. However, if the snakes are in different tanks, you can identify the sick snake and treat it before spreading the disease to the other snake. Moreover, treating two sick snakes is more expensive than treating one.
- It is more work to keep two ball pythons in the same tank.
As you have seen from the discussion above, one of the tips for keeping two ball pythons in the same tank is that you need a spacious tank. Cleaning the tank and the waste from the two snakes will require more effort. In some cases, to avoid issues with dominance while feeding, you might have to feed the submissive snake away from the dominant one. By doing so, you are adding to the list of things you have to clean when rearing your snakes
- It is more expensive to keep two ball pythons together.
If you cannot avoid cohabiting your ball pythons, you must be ready to incur the cost. Some of the expenses will result from needing a spacious tank, spacious outdoor space, and more food to counter dominance. It will also be more expensive to treat two snakes when they fall ill instead of only one.
- The danger of egg binding
This problem cuts across generally keeping snakes together. Egg binding is whereby snakes try to lay eggs, but the eggs are too big for them. The problem of egg binding starts when a female and male snake are kept together, and the female is not mature for mating while the male is. Should the two snakes mate, the female will not lay the eggs since they are not big enough for that, nor do they have the energy required. The result is a condition known as egg binding. In some server cases, it could kill the snake. Therefore, you want to make sure that your two snakes are compatible.
The point of keeping ball pythons and other types of snakes is to pet them. Therefore, it is almost given that you are looking out for them to provide them with optimum conditions to thrive. If this is the case, keeping them together is one of the ways to cause them stress, health complications and expose them to fights and cannibalism. That is not a good life, and therefore, you should not cohabit your ball pythons.
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