Owning a ball python means providing your pet with the care it needs from a habitat with optimum heating and humidity to ensuring it eats a healthy diet. One of the things that can tell you a lot about the overall health of your ball python is its poop. Knowing and understanding what is normal and what isn't, helps you quickly identify if there are any problems, such as impaction or disease.
What Does Ball Python Poop Look Like
In general, all ball pythons will have similar-looking poop. Knowing what is healthy and what is abnormal can help you quickly identify if there is anything you need to change.
Healthy Ball Python Poop
Healthy ball python poop is brown or black logs with chalky white, which is known as urates. These two will always be present in the poop of your pet. In some instances, you may see a small amount of mucous or liquid urine, this is not something you need to worry about.
It's not uncommon for pieces of prey to come out in the feces, so don't worry if you see a bone or some teeth, for example. In addition to this, the urates may be different colors, ranging from white to yellow or orange. If your pet’s urates are always a similar color, even if not white, don't' worry unless there is a significant change in color.
Healthy poop has a light smell to it.
Abnormal Ball Python Poop
Some ball pythons will poop yellow or green with every poop and if the vet has already declared your pet healthy, then it is no concern. You need to worry if there is a sudden change in the coloration of the poop.
While green urates can be healthy, you don't want your snake’s poop to be green, as this can be a sign of an internal infection.
It isn't uncommon to see some yellow coloration in your pet’s poop, urates on their own will range in color. Urates can mix with the feces, giving it a yellow color. If your pet never has yellow in its feces and you're confident it’s not urates, then have the vet check your python to ensure it is healthy.
Most ball python pet owners will be worried when seeing red in their pets poop. This is often an indication of blood. When your python digests its food, it will often turn prey blood a maroon or almost black color. Bright red means fresh blood and this requires immediate veterinary treatment.
Urates tend to be white, but you need to identify if the white is from the urates or poop. Old poop can turn white once dried. It shouldn't be anything to worry about as any prey that was recently digested with a high bone ratio can help to turn feces a white color.
How Often Does A Ball Python Poop
New ball python owners are often concerned, expected their pet to poop more often than it does. What you need to know is your pet is only going to poop once it has digested its meal, which can take several delays. Unlike mammals that will do numerous poops for one meal, a python will only poop after everything is digested, doing one large poop.
The size of the meal and the temperature inside the enclosure will determine how long digestion takes, which can be days or even a week or two. Once a python has had a poop, it is a sign it is ready for its next meal.
Why Is My Ball Python Not Pooping
Every python is different and while some may poop after every meal, others may not. There are a number of reasons why your pet may not be pooping, which includes:
Impaction is the equivalent of constipation in humans but it can be deadly to your pet ball python. Impaction can result due to low humidity and your pet dehydrating, making it harder to digest and excrete its food. Impaction can also be due to your pet eating some substrate when catching its prey, which can get stuck in the digestive tract. Impaction in ball pythons is considered a medical emergency
About to Shed
When your ball python is about to shed, it may hold onto its poop for a couple of weeks. It's not uncommon for your pet to have a bowel movement right after a shed. Ensure you provide ample fresh and clean water and the right humidity levels. If your pet struggles to shed, you can soak your pet in warm water for up to fifteen minutes to aid with hydration.
How To Make A Ball Python Poop
How often your python poops is determined by numerous factors. You can try a number of different things to try and encourage a bowel movement.
Reduce Prey Size
One of the options is to reduce the prey size you have been feeding your ball python, especially if your pet struggles to poop after meals. Rather than one rat, offer two mice instead. Smaller prey reduces the risk of impaction.
Give Your Pet Some Exercise
Moving around will encourage your ball python to have a bowel movement. It is probably the easiest way to encourage your pet to poop, as long as your python is friendly and not stressed at the time. If your pet is relaxed, let it use you as a jungle gym, allowing its muscles to get stimulated and encourage the bowels to poop.
Soak Frozen Foods
Did you know that frozen mice lose their original water content when thawed, which means you are reducing the amour of water your pet will consume? Dehydrated ball pythons will not poop. Prevent dehydration and help your pet stay healthy by soaking any frozen prey in warm water before feeding, helping your pet with natural hydration.
Soaking your Ball Python
Ball pythons are not aquatic snakes and therefore your pet may not enjoy the idea of a warm bath, but a fifteen-minute soak in warm water can help your pet poop. When soaking ensure you don't put your snake in cold water and keep a constant eye on the temperatures, ensuring your pet's body temperature remains warm and comfortable.
Provide Fresh Water
It's imperative to supply your pet with a water bowl and change the water daily to offer fresh and clean drinking water which can aid with hydration.
It is essential to provide your ball python with an environment that has optimum humidity levels ranging from 50% to 65%. Reduce the risk of dehydration by ensuring your humidity levels are within the specifications your pet needs by using a digital hygrometer. Regularly monitor the levels. If your humidity levels are on the lower side of the scale, move it to the higher side to help your pet poop.
Ball pythons, as with most reptiles, need to be warm in order to digest their food. Their digestion will speed up when your pet is warm enough, which is why you want to provide a basking area, where your pet can get to the warm side of its temperature scale. Slow digestion, achieved when the temperatures are on the low side, can lead to problems, such as impaction.
Visit the Vet
If your pet hasn't pooped and is showing signs of discomfort, such as loss of appetite and lethargy, then seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible.
How To Clean Ball Python Poop
It's important to remove your ball python poop as soon as you see it, or as soon as possible. Therefore, you are going to want to carry out a daily spot cleaning of the enclosure. This involves the careful removal of any substrate that may have poop on it, or removing and replacing the paper towel or newspaper, depending on the substrate you have chosen.
Once a month you are going to want to do a thorough clean of your pet’s enclosure, which will involve the removal of all the substrate, sterilizing the enclosure, and then replacing with clean substrate.
Getting to know your ball python’s poop is a fast and effective way to identify if there are any problems you may not know about, such as impaction, infection, or low humidity levels. Poop can tell you a lot about the health of your pet and once you have spent time together, you will soon learn what is normal and what is not, ensuring your pet receives the quality care it needs.