Ball Python Striking

All snakes will strike, including pet ball pythons. If you’re wondering why your new ball python is striking or why your pet of years has suddenly started striking, then continue reading below.

Getting to know your pet, its behaviors, and how to identify when it will strike, can help you reduce the risk of a bite.

What Is A Ball Python Strike?

A ball python will let you know when it’s ready to strike. You will notice the body becomes tightened; it pulls itself into a spring position with the head being slightly raised. If you’re holding your pet, you can feel the body tightening and it’s about to strike.

When you get to know your snake, you will be able to identify the tell-tale signs before it strikes.

Ball Python Strike Speed

When a ball python strikes, it is at lightning speed. Research has identified that the average trike takes between 44 and 70 milliseconds, which means your pet can strike you four times in the time it takes you to blink your eyes.

Why Is My Ball Python Always Striking At Me?

There are a couple of reasons why your pet may strike at you, these include:

Feeding Time / Hungry Pet

One of the most common reasons for a ball python to trike is because it’s hungry or it smells food.

It’s important to ensure you wash your hands thoroughly after handling any rodents or using feeding tongs, which will make your fingers look and smell less like food when you have a hungry python on your hands.

When your pet is hungry, you will want to avoid putting your hand in the enclosure to feed it in a separate container. It’s not uncommon for pet pythons to accidentally strike at a warm object, associating it with food.

Use a snake hook to reduce the risk of your pet striking at you when it comes to feeding time.

Return your pet to his enclosure and avoid handling while it has a full stomach.


Ball pythons do not have a reputation as aggressive pets, they are relatively easy to tame and care for, but there are times when your pet may feel stressed, which can result in it striking.

Stress can result due to overhandling, changing of environment, having the enclosure in a high traffic area, and more. When your pet feels it has no escape, it will strike to protect itself.

When you have just brought your pet home, ensure you give it time to settle down and get used to its new environment before handling. Your python needs to get to know you and feel safe before you start handling.

Why Is My Ball Python Striking At Glass?

Many ball pythons take some time to settle down after feeding, which is why many owners choose to cover the front of the enclosure over the front of the enclosure for a day after the snake has eaten. This helps your pet settle down and digest its meal.

Why Is My Ball Python Striking At Everything?

Ball pythons tend to be on the grumpy side when they are hungry or when it gets nearer their feeding day, which increases your pet’s tendency to strike.

Always wait until your pet has either had a bowel movement or the lump caused by feeding is gone before you try and handle them again.

Why Does My Ball Python Strike But Doesn’t Eat?

This is a common concern among ball python owners. Their pet strikes, but doesn’t coil and constrict their prey. This can happen at any age and sometimes can simply be due to your pet not being interested.

Maybe you see your pet sniffing the prey, maybe it’s showing signs of hunger or it didn’t strike at all. In some instances, it may strike and miss, which can result in it losing interest.

Rather leave the prey in the enclosure for a few hours to let your snake gain interest and eat.  It’s not uncommon for pythons to return to their prey later.

In the event the prey is still in the enclosure the next morning, remove the prey and try again the next feeding day.


Striking is a natural defense action in ball pythons. The good news is that the cause is often hunger or stress-related, both of which can be quickly rectified.

Remember, even when you have had your pet for years and it’s comfortable with you, it is a wild reptile and will try and strike for a number of reasons from being tired of being handled to being hungry.

Get to know your pet, which can help you identify when it’s ready to strike and take necessary precautions.

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