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How To Pick Up a Ball Python for The First Time | VenomousSnake

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How To Pick Up a Ball Python for The First Time  It’s an exciting moment, filled with anticipation and wonder as you prepare to interact with these gentle and captivating creatures. The Ball Python, also known as the Royal Python, is a popular choice among reptile enthusiasts due to its docile nature and beautiful patterns.

But when it comes to handling these snakes, there are a few important steps to keep in mind to ensure a positive and safe experience for both you and your scaly friend.

So, let’s embark on a journey of discovery, where we’ll learn the art of confidently and respectfully picking up a Ball Python, forging a bond that will leave you in awe of the wonders of the reptilian world. Get ready to unravel the secrets and embark on an adventure that will forever change the way you view these captivating creatures.

How To Pick Up a Ball Python for The First Time

How To Pick Up a Ball Python for The First Time

  • Wash your hands: Before handling the snake, wash your hands with mild soap and warm water to remove any scents or residues that could startle the snake.
  • Let it scent you: Place your hand near the snake’s head and let it investigate your scent. This helps the snake become familiar with you and establishes recognition.
  • Approach slowly and confidently: Avoid sudden movements or loud noises that may startle the snake. Move slowly and deliberately towards the snake, maintaining a calm and confident demeanor.
  • Properly pick up the snake: Support the snake’s body by gently sliding one hand under its midsection. Keep its head away from your face to prevent accidental bites.

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Sign that a ball python is ready to be handled

  • Relaxed Body Language: Observe your ball python’s body language for signs of relaxation. A relaxed snake will have a smooth body without tension, often seen lying in a loose coil or resting comfortably in its enclosure.
  • Active and Alert Behavior: Look for active and alert behavior from your ball python. If it is exploring its environment, displaying curiosity, and engaging with its surroundings by flicking its tongue, exploring its enclosure, or observing movements outside the enclosure, it may be ready for interaction.
  • Consistent Feeding: A ball python that consistently feeds well and maintains a healthy appetite is generally in good physical condition. This can be an indication that it is more inclined to engage in handling sessions.
  • No Defensive or Defensive Behaviors: Pay attention to any defensive behaviors displayed by your ball python. If it hisses, strikes, or tightly coils into a defensive posture, it indicates that the snake feels threatened or defensive. In such cases, it is best to give the snake space and avoid handling until it calms down.

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Handling a ball python for the first time

  • Wash Your Hands: Before handling your ball python, it’s crucial to wash your hands thoroughly with mild soap and warm water. This removes any scents or residues that might be off-putting to the snake, ensuring a comfortable interaction.
  • Be Gentle and Patient: Approach your ball python with gentleness and patience. Make slow and deliberate movements to avoid startling the snake. Remember, ball pythons are generally docile, but they may need time to adjust to human interaction.
  • Support the Body: When picking up your ball python, provide proper support for its body. Place one hand under the front third of the snake’s body, ensuring that its weight is evenly distributed. This helps the snake feel secure and prevents unnecessary stress.
  • Lift with Care: Lift your ball python slowly and smoothly, allowing it to coil around your hand or forearm. Avoid any sudden or jerky movements that might cause the snake to become anxious or defensive. Maintain a relaxed grip without squeezing or constricting the snake.

Handle a defensive snake

It’s perfectly normal to watch a defensive snake and second guess the decision to handle it. However, if you are trying to tame an aggressive ball python, the following tips will help:

  • Use a snake hook to remove the snake from its enclosure
  • Be safe when picking up the snake
  • Keep the snake’s head angled away from you

Confidence is key when handling defensive ball pythons. Hesitation when picking up a snake, such as shaking your hand back and forth, can accidentally cause the snake to defend itself.

Pick up and gently support the snake. Once you have a snake in your hand, there’s little chance it will bite your handunless you think you are food.

Handling an injured snake


To handle an injured snake, you have to be quick and gentle. Avoiding the wound, pick up the snake with your hands. Support the mass of the snake as best you can until you can place it on a surface.

The only reason you should handle an injured snake is to administer treatment, clean its casingor take him to the vet. Handling a snake while it is injured can overload it.

Handling a Baby Ball Python

A reputable breeder will only sell a ball python when it eats regularly and has shed at least once. This allows the breeder to make sure he is healthy and growing.

Handling a baby ball python follows the same method as handling adult ball pythons. You just have to be more careful when picking it up.

A baby ball python may also be more defensive, as it hasn’t had as much time to get used to being handled like an adult snake.

When not to handle your snake

There are several occasions when you should avoid handling your snake. Unless necessary, don’t handle your snake when the following conditions apply:

In the shed

A snake in shed he’s likely agitated or defensive because he’s vulnerable right now. One of the final stages of the shed, called “in blue”, also causes severe impairment of the snake’s vision. Even the ever-docile ball python can act strange during this stressful time because it can’t see.

Just eaten

Handling a snake right after it has fed can cause it regurgitate his meal. This may be due to discomfort or anxiety.

A snake that has just fed will want to relax in a safe place to digest its food. Interrupting this by handling the snake can make him feel insecure. One answer to this is to throw up so he can move faster. This is a predator avoidance tactic seen in many snakes.

Avoid handling your snake for at least 48 hours after it has fed. Ideally, wait a full 72 hours.

If your snake regurgitates, wait 2 weeks before attempting to feed it. The regurgitation process damages the inside of the snake’s throat.


Can holding a ball python for the first time be dangerous?

Holding a ball python is generally safe as long as you follow proper handling techniques. Ball pythons are non-venomous and rarely bite. However, it’s important to be cautious and handle them gently to avoid any potential stress or defensive reactions.

How often should I handle my ball python?

Handling frequency depends on the individual snake. It’s generally recommended to handle your ball python for short periods, a few times a week, to allow it to become comfortable with being held. Avoid excessive handling, especially during shedding or after feeding.

What should I do if my ball python seems nervous or defensive during handling?

If your ball python appears stressed, defensive, or shows signs of discomfort during handling, it’s best to give it some space and try again later. Ensure the snake’s enclosure provides adequate hiding spots and a sense of security to help reduce stress.

Should I handle my ball python while it’s in shed?

It’s generally advised to avoid handling your ball python while it’s in shed. During this time, their vision may be impaired, and they may feel more vulnerable. Wait until the shedding process is complete, and their eyes have cleared before attempting to handle them.

Why managing your snake is important?

Handling your snake is important to keeping it socialized. Regular handling sessions acclimate the snake to human contact and prevent it from associating enclosure opening with feeding time.

Just as important as handling a snake to keep it tame, you must avoid overhandling it. In addition to taming an “aggressive” ball python, limit your handling sessions to 4-5 times a week.

Overhandling a snake, even a docile ball python, can overexert the snake. This can lead to a slew of others Health problems.


In conclusion, handling a ball python for the first time is a remarkable experience that allows us to connect with these incredible creatures in a unique and personal way. By following the proper guidelines, we can ensure a positive and safe interaction that fosters trust and mutual understanding.

If you’re eager to learn more about the world of snakes and expand your knowledge, we invite you to read more on our Venomous blog. Dive deeper into the captivating realm of reptiles, explore their diverse species, and uncover the secrets of their intriguing behaviors.