Ball Pythons are intelligent reptiles that are fun to have around the home. They’re mostly tame and easy to care for since they’ve been bred in captivity.
However, they may be a bit aggressive when they shed. But, how often do Ball Pythons shed?
Juvenile Ball Pythons shed every 30 days or so while Adult Ball Pythons shed once every 45 to 60 days. The older your snake gets, the less frequently it shed.
When they reach between ages 3 and 5 their growth rate slows which means there is no need for the high frequency of shedding.
This guide will help you learn about the shedding habits of your Ball Python so you know what to expect as well as the frequency of when to expect it. Let’s get started!
Why Do Ball Pythons Shed?
Ball Pythons lose their skin to become larger. The old, outer skin is essentially discarded to make room for the younger, bigger skin beneath.
Juvenile Ball Pythons grow quickly and shed significantly more frequently than adult Ball Pythons because of this.
How Often Do Ball Pythons Shed?
However, as mentioned earlier, juvenile Ball Pythons are at the peak of their growth rate, so they generally shed their skin much faster than older Ball Pythons.
For example, young Ball Pythons may shed as often as every 30 days, whereas adults may only shed every 45 to 60 days. At about 3 to 5 years of age, Ball Pythons reach maturity, when both their growth rate and shedding frequency slow.
When Is A Ball Python About To Shed?
When Ball Pythons shed, they require a specialized habitat, can get agitated and disturbed, and require more care (more on this later).
So, knowing the indications and being able to detect when your Ball Python is ready to shed will help you better care for it throughout the shedding process.
There are three primary indicators that your ball python is about to shed. Keep in mind that these symptoms aren’t always clear or visible, so you’ll have to be on the lookout for them:
- The belly of your ball python will begin to become pink.
- Its skin will appear considerably drabber and muted than normal.
- It will have a milky, opaque look in its eyes.
The Blue Phase
Because its eyes seem milky and blueish, this is known as the blue phase or “being in blue.” Ball pythons are nearly blind during this blue phase, which explains why they become cranky and reclusive.
Expect your Ball Python to shed in the next 36 to 72 hours once its eyes have cleared up. Again, these signs aren’t overt or obvious, so keep an eye on your snake to see whether it’s going to shed.
Is A Ball Python In Pain When It Sheds?
Shedding isn’t generally unpleasant for a Ball Python, contrary to popular belief. A layer of lubricating moisture builds between the old and new skin as they shed, making the procedure relatively painless.
Shedding is an uncomfortable and annoying experience for your snake, and it will frequently become more sensitive and aggressive at this time.
As a result, you should avoid touching your ball python when it is shedding.
What To Do When Your Ball Python Is Shedding
Shedding is a difficult and exhausting period for your ball python, but it also necessitates special attention and the appropriate environment for it to succeed.
Here are some suggestions for caring for your Ball Python when it sheds:
Because snakes require high humidity levels to shed correctly, one of the most essential things you can do for your snake when it is shedding is to keep the humidity levels in its enclosure consistent.
Aim for a cage humidity of 50 to 70%.
Using a hygrometer (or humidity gauge) like the REPTI ZOO hygrometer from Amazon is one of the simplest ways to manage cage humidity.
Add a big water dish to your snake’s cage, use a humidity-holding substrate like orchid bark substrate, or cover the top of its enclosure to maintain more humidity within.
Create A Shedding Box
A moist shedding box is another technique to help your snake through the shedding process.
Puncture holes in a box (like a shoebox), stuff it with moist paper towels and place it in your snake’s enclosure. This provides a wet, humid environment for your Ball Python to shed.
Mist Your Snake
Misting your snake before it sheds is another technique to assist it shed. Fill a clean spray bottle halfway with lukewarm water and spray it near your snake a few times.
However, some snakes will not allow you to spray them directly, so you may need to mist their cage instead. This will still raise humidity levels and aid in the shedding process of your snake.
Fill A Basin With Water
When your snake starts to shed, provide a basin of water inside its enclosure for it to soak in. When it takes a bath, its skin begins to peel away more easily.
Fill a bowl large enough to contain your Ball Python’s whole body with just enough water to totally submerge it, but not so much that it completely emerges.
Bathing your Ball Python is another method to help; our how-to here explains how to do it safely.
Set Coarse Items In Your Snakes Enclosure
Snakes lose their skin by rubbing against abrasive things in nature, such as stones, tree branches, and other rough materials.
Add tree bark, a few branches, pine cones, and other outside items to the cage to replicate this natural process.
Handle With Caution
It’s also a good idea not to handle your Ball Python when it’s shedding. As previously said, shedding may be an uncomfortable and even stressful experience for a snake.
It’s best to leave it alone and let it shed its tears in peace.
Ball pythons drink a lot of water when they shed, so keep an eye on their water levels during the shedding process and be ready to replace as needed.
You’ll most likely need to replace its water dish much more frequently when it sheds.
Organize The Cage
You’ll see mounds of extra skin in your Ball Python’s enclosure as it loses its skin. After your snake has finished shedding, it’s critical to remove these extra mounds of skin to keep its cage clean and fresh.
After shedding, snakes frequently defecate, so remove any feces and extra skin using gloves.
How Long Does A Ball Python Take To Shed?
The complete shedding process usually takes less than 14 days. For the first 1-2 weeks, your ball python will go through a pre-shed period.
Its skin will get dull and darker at this stage, its tummy will become pink, and its eyes will become milky and opaque (this is the “blue phase”).
It should lose its skin in the following 72 hours once its eyes have cleared up.
How Can You Help Your Ball Python Shed?
While most Ball Pythons shed their skin on their own, they occasionally have issues and may require assistance. The tips of their tails and around their eye caps are two trouble locations to keep an eye on.
You’ll need to assist your ball python if it sheds partially (meaning that most of the skin has shed but some remains).
Why? If your Ball Python’s skin doesn’t shed completely around specific regions, like its eyes, it might hinder its eyesight and create stress and health concerns, so make sure it does.
If your Ball Python is having trouble shedding, consider the following suggestions.
Keep in mind that you should never try to remove your snake’s extra skin on your own, especially the skin surrounding its eyes and mouth.
It Should Be Soaked
Start by soaking your Ball Python in shallow water if it has just partially shed. Placing your snake in a big pillowcase and tying a knot at the top to keep it in the case is one technique to soak it in water.
Then, while still in the pillowcase, immerse your snake in a big dish tub filled with 1 inch of warm water. Once a day, submerge the pillowcase and snake in shallow water for about 20 minutes.
As the snake moves around in the damp bag, the remaining skin will start to peel off.
Make Use Of Paper Towels.
Another method for assisting your ball python’s skin shed is to dampen several layers of paper towels and position your snake between them.
Allow it to wriggle and wiggle for several minutes between the cloths. The wet cloths, along with the friction of the motion, should assist loosen and remove the partial shed.
Consult A Veterinarian
If you’ve tried at-home methods to help your snake shed its skin but it’s still hanging on after one to two weeks, it’s time to take it to the doctor.
A veterinarian can assist you to remove the excess skin, but they’ll also inspect your snake to make sure there aren’t any underlying health problems causing the shedding.
Heather is an animal lover that has many of them herself. She currently has her Blue Nose Staffy named Bootsie, but she’s catered to many animals over the years including guinea pigs, alpacas, cockatiels, cockatoos, bunnies, chinchillas, hedgehogs, and more. She believes that knowledge should be the foundation of caring for any pet.