Ball pythons (also known as python regius) are a unique constrictor native to west and central Africa. Renowned not only for their docile temperament and stunning looks (with over 4,000 morphs to show off), these snakes are exceedingly popular with reptile keepers new and experienced.
Due to their popularity, a variety of newcomers flock to the reptile world in search of their charms. At this point, it’s natural for people who may be more experienced with other varieties of pets to ask if ball pythons are “cuddly”. In other words, do they demonstrate what we think of as affection as seen in other pets and people.
The Ball Python’s Natural Behavior
While many people assume that snakes are naturally aggressive in the wild, the truth is a bit more complicated than that. Ball pythons, contrary to popular belief, aren’t terribly large animals, measuring in at around 3-5 feet as adults. This means that they don’t typically want to cause trouble to animals that can potentially be a threat to them.
To avoid predation, ball pythons are normally shy and prefer to tuck away in a burrow that other animals have made. Snakes are typically solitary, and ball pythons are no exception. In other words, they would prefer not to mingle with another member of their species or others for an extended period of time.
Ball Python Behavior in Captivity
Because of the non-confrontational temperament of these snakes in the wild, ball pythons for sale typically make for docile pets. When properly accustomed to human contact and handling from a young age, they are a very tolerant animal that may even enjoy the company of owners.
Now, while these are generally relaxed, docile animals, the question of whether or not they are “affectionate” as far as humans define the concept is another matter entirely. Snakes do not typically cuddle, or beg for attention, or show obvious excitement at your presence.
With that being said, every animal is different. While snakes aren’t always terribly easy to read, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that they do enjoy our company. Ball pythons are known to be responsive to their owners and may even have preferences for the people they interact with. For instance, it may poke its head around the top of its enclosure in anticipation of food, or perch in a more relaxed manner on the arm of someone it knows well.
If you’re looking at ball pythons for sale, you want to get a better read on what your snake is thinking. After all, it is always important to know the basics of its body language when relaxed. The next time you’re observing your snake, look for the following signals to make sure it’s up to being handled:
- Slowly tasting the air.
- Focusing on its environment rather than on one specific thing.
- Relaxed grip when handled.
- Slow movements.
Final Thoughts on the Cuddliness of Ball Pythons
In general, ball pythons for sale from a reputable breeder can make for excellent, easy to handle pets. Over time, with proper consideration towards their needs and body language, you can develop a unique, special bond with your snake that rivals those of owners with more traditional pets. You may even find that they prefer you over others in your household.