Signs of a Happy Ball Python + What Makes the Snake Happy

Unlike dogs, monkeys, and even humans, a ball python does not possess the intellectual ability to feel or demonstrate emotions such as happiness in a manner you are used to. Still, it is possible for your snake pet to convey its feelings via its behavior. It is only by understanding the behavior of a ball python that you can recognize whether or not it is happy. Note though that behavioral trait tends to differ from one ball python to another. Consequently, below are some of the potential signs of a happy ball python.

Casual Flicking of the Tongue

A ball python often flicks its tongue lazily in the air to taste and ingest chemical cues. Like other snakes, a ball python lacks a sense of smell, utilizing the sampling of air chemicals to successfully cope with a lack of smelling capability. A relaxed, calm flicking of the tongue is a sign that your pet snake does not worry about anything and is happy and comfortable.

No Hurrying Around

By its nature and if it is not worried about anything, a ball python often casually and lazily moves around its habitat. Often there are not that many reasons to make it move quickly around unless it is uncomfortable and feels threatened. A sign of a happy snake is when it drapes over rocks or branches.


Periscoping refers to the act of a ball python lifting its neck and head when exploring its surroundings. The neck is toweringly positioned while the head is put forward in a manner to imply as though it wants to strike. If you have noticed your ball python periscoping, do not be fearful of being bitten since that is not aggressive behavior. Worse, having fear may scare your snake pet into being defensive. Note that a ball python may display the periscoping behavior when you are handling it. 

Casual Alertness

It is in the nature of a snake to always be alert. A ball python that fails to respond to the introduction of a new item in its enclosure may serve as an indication that it is uncomfortable and not happy with something that needs to be addressed such as the level of humidity. If the snake is happy, it will respond casually to a new item and not avoid it. Understand though that there is a difference between an alert snake and a worried snake.

In terms of what makes the snake happy, they may include:

  • When handled appropriately such as about two days after feeding.
  • A comfortable cage or enclosure. Spot clean the enclosure often, maintain the right temperature level, maintain appropriate humidity, supply quality substrate, etc.
  • Provision of adequate water and food. Avoid feeding your captive snake with live prey since rodents like mice have a history of attacking and hurting or killing ball pythons.
  • Nourishing your snake pet on a schedule is essential to having a healthy pet and allowing you as the pet owner to detect any appetite changes. Feed young ball pythons once or twice a week. For a fully-grown ball python, it should be fed once every 7 or 14 days.
  • When it sheds without any difficulty.

READ NEXT: Ball Python Temperament

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