by Richard Adams
I've always been fascinated by the more exotic and
unusual pets and over the years have kept virtually
everything from scorpions to parakeets, tarantulas to
toads however the pet that I really want to tell you
about today is my ball python.
I've had Monty since he was a tiny hatchling and I bought him from an experienced and highly knowledgeable breeder, carefully picking him out of a whole host of other youngsters, carrying out a full health check and then transporting him home in a tiny container.
When I say tiny, I don't mean that he didn't have room to move - rather that I still struggle to believe just how small he really was in those days! Today, some 5 years later or so, he measures over a metre and a half in length and is almost as thick as your wrist at his widest point. From the small baby mice he used to eat as a hatchling he now chows down a couple of grown rats each week without breaking to a sweat!
In many ways ball pythons are one of the very best exotic pets in my opinion. They are normally docile and easily handled, reaching a size that is large enough to make them impressive and to allow safe handling, yet not being so large that they cannot be suitably looked after in the home. They are stunning snakes to look at and a wide range of different patterns and color forms are now available meaning that it's alost certain that you can find a ball python that appeals to you.
There are really only two downsides to keeping ball pythons as pets (besides some of your friends screwing up their faces when they hear you own one!). The first is that the adult snake will require a decent-sized vivarium so you will need to not only have the space for such a thing but also the money to invest in such a cage.
The other potential downside is that ball pythons do have a habit of going off their food for weeks or even months at a time, most notably when they are coming up to moult and/or in the cooler winter months. While Monty has done this several times he never seems to get unwell or to suffer from it or lose any noticeable weight. Soon enough he starts feeding again as though nothing had happened so whole it seems to do these snakes no harm it can be both a little bit stressful and rather frustrating to keep providing food for your pet only to have him turn his nose up at it!
Besides these two aspects, for anyone who is considering getting a pet snake my own experiences suggest you could do a lot worse than to take a closer look at ball pythons as the ideal starter snake.