Do Ball Pythons Like to Be Held and Pet?

Ball pythons are a snake species that are famous for being excellent pets. Known for their shy and docile demeanor, ball pythons make up for excellent pets. While they make up for excellent pets, there is more to petting them than you would expect.

A ball python in its natural environment is likely to be non-receptive against human contact. However, things change when you had it from when it was young:

Do ball pythons like to be held?

do ball pythons like to be held

Yes, ball pythons like to be held and pet, primarily based on the average amount of human contact they receive. Traditionally, snakes are fearful of humans, which means that ball pythons don’t like being held. However, the same concept does not apply to captivity because the snake gets socialized differently.

The regular human contact seems to change their perspective of being held and petted. However, there might be times when the python is likely to become uncomfortable. You have to hold your snake regularly to improve its manageability and tolerance to human contact. Part of good animal husbandry is always gentle and alert when engaging with pets such as snakes. You have to hold the animal in an upright position and be in touch with their comfort needs.

The other important aspect of holding the snake would be ensuring you give it some incentive each time you meet. The incentive can be in the form of gentle petting, grooming, and even feeding. Doing this will ensure the snake associates positive experiences with you which is vital in animal husbandry.

When should you not hold a ball python?

A ball python is a reptile with sharp teeth, and it’s good to be careful when handling them. Below are some of the times you should not hold a ball python:

When it’s Stressed

A stressed snake is probably going to be defensive as a way of showing its state of mind. One of the indications of stress in a ball python is hissing it sticks to a section of its enclosure, or generally seems uncomfortable. The discomfort usually arises due to poor temperature control, which can lead to digestion issues. Ensure that your snake is free from any form of agitation, and this can include sources such as pets or your kids. Anything that agitates the snake is likely to make it non-receptive to human contact.

When The Snake is Ill

Like all other animals, pet snakes are also prone to various health issues. You have to be on the lookout for any signs to determine when your snake is sick. Some good examples include when the snake is lethargic, weak, or lacks a good appetite.

When The Snake is not Well Socialized

Avoid petting a snake if it’s the first time you have acquired it, or you perhaps recently captured it from the wild. The reason is that snakes are naturally defensive to human contact. The snake may require a period of socialization to help make it receptive to human contact.

When its in New Environment

Ball snakes that are in a new environment are also likely to show some level of aggression. Usually, this occurs because they still want to become acquainted with their new environment. Snakes have an excellent sense of position and scent, which helps them learn more about their environments. So, this means that they are likely to detect when they are no longer in their homes.

READ ALSO: Ball Python Temperament

How long can I hold my ball python?

You can hold the python ball for as long as you both feel comfortable. Since you probably know when you feel like putting the snake down, the key focus here should be on the comfort of the snake. Once you have held the snake around you for a while, it’s probably going to get tired and need a surface to rest.

So, be on the lookout for when the snake shows any form of aggression after a while of petting. Naturally, snakes don’t mind human contact for long durations, but you should also know that their mood can change instantly. Ball pythons are wonderful pets, but you still have to tread carefully with their presence.

You should also avoid handling the snake when it’s from feeding because this can easily agitate the snake. Snakes prefer to sit and rest for some time after feeding to help with the breakdown of food.

Pet snakes that like to be held

Aside from ball pythons, there are various other types of snakes that like human contact, including:

Corn Snakes

Corn snakes rank high up among the popular pet snake breeds, and they are also easy to handle. Over time, and with consistent handling, corn snakes become receptive to human touch. The snakes live primarily in the Southeastern sections of the U.S.A. However, many people who are into animal husbandry sell Corn snakes.

King Snakes

These snakes have the same tendencies as corn snakes because they love human contact. The Kingsnake is also a docile brand, just as the corn snake. They also have vibrant patterns on their skins, which makes them excellent pets. The Kingsnake is also available in different species, including the Red Milk and Mexican Milk Snakes. Some Kingsnake species also have distinct patterning that can make them seem like dangerous reptiles.


The ringneck snake species is also native to North America, and it has a unique orange and yellow pattern on its body. The snake also has a small body, which can reach the one-foot level. The diet of the snakes mainly consists of small birds and earthworks.

Unlike the Ball Pythons that can withstand extensive human contact, Ringnecks are different. They tend to get irritated after extensive contact with a person.

Rainbow Boa

Refers to a snake that is native to the South America Region. However, novice snake pet owners should be careful with the snake, thanks to its shy and nippy behavior. Still, the snakes make up for excellent pets or additions to your animal husbandry collection.

The snakes also have delicate requirements that the other alternatives on this list. They require enclosures with well-balanced temperature and internal conditions. While these snakes tend to be high maintenance, they are still excellent companions.

Overall, bally pythons like human contact, but you still have to be careful with them because they are pets. Ball pythons require a safe approach and care because you never know when they will get irritated. If you are looking for other pet snake options, the list of species you can consider is immense. Remember to learn more about your preferred pet first before adding it to your pet collection.

READ NEXT: Ball Python: Size and Weight

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