Some ball python owners will tell you that you must soak your pet, while others will tell you that as long as your humidity levels are at optimum, soaking is not necessary. Remember your python is not aquatic and being soaked may even be uncomfortable, which is why you want to know if you should soak them, when to soak them and how to do it safely, ensuring your pet remains calm and comfortable throughout the experience.
Should You Soak Your Ball Python?
Ball pythons do not need to be bathed on a regular basis, as with many other snakes. They should only be bathed for certain conditions. Being submerged in water for long periods is not comfortable for your pet, but when it's necessary ensure you provide them with a safe bath that isn't too hot or too cold.
When Do You Need To Soak A Ball Python?
Some ball pythons will enjoy a good soak in a warm bath from time to time, while others may not be interested at all. There are some times when you need to soak your ball python. These include:
Shedding doesn't always go according to plan and your ball python is going to shed every few weeks. If the skin doesn't come off easily, then a bath can help your pet rehydrate and help to remove the skin naturally. The most common reason why your pet may not complete its shed is low humidity levels. Keep humidity between 60% and 85% and you will find your pet probably won't need a bath.
Impaction can be very serious in ball pythons and is the equivalent of constipation in other animals. Impaction is often caused by accidentally eating substrate when catching prey to eating something too big to digest. When you notice your pet is impacted, a warm bath may be all that is needed to help your snake relieve itself.
It's not uncommon to find some mites in your ball python enclosure, they get transported on the food and in the substrate (depending on the substrate you are using). Bathing is an excellent way to drown the mites and help your pet feel happy and comfortable again.
How To Soak A Ball Python Properly?
Some ball pythons will welcome a soak now and then, while others will panic when they get into the water. Don't cause unnecessary stress for your pet. Never push your ball python into a situation it's not happy with. No two ball pythons are the same, they all have their own personalities.
If your python is relaxed when going near the water, then you'll be pleased to know that soaking is really an easy job. Remember your ball python is cold-blooded, so never put it in cold water, always use warm water. By placing and leaving your pet in cold water, the body temperature of your pet will decrease, so will their bodily functions, causing serious health issues, possibly even death. Then again, if you make the water too hot, your pet can be burned.
Make sure you provide water between 80ºF and 85ºF. If you have a heat gun, you can use this to measure the temperature before introducing your pet.
Close any windows and turn off the air conditioner during soaking to reduce the risk of your pet getting cold and increasing the likelihood of respiratory infection.
Bath or a Tub
Use the bath or a large tub and fill it with an inch of clean filtered or spring water. Remember that any chlorine can irritate your pet’s skin. Using a bath can ensure your python can really stretch out and move around in the water with ease.
Don't walk over and just dump your python in the bah, be gentle, lower your snake gently into the water, so they know what to expect. Then let them swim around and have a soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
Gently remove your pet and using a clean and soft towel, try it off. Bear in mind that it's not uncommon for ball pythons to defecate after a bath, so keep your spot cleaning for after bath time or using a holding tub before returning your pet to its enclosure.