Now that you have picked out a nice healthy snake, the fun part starts: bringing your new pet home. But wait… Have you set up its enclosure or cage properly? Before you even consider bringing home a ball python, you need to make sure that your cage is set up and ready for its new inhabitant. Having the cage set up before your python comes home speeds up the acclimation process.
Once you have made your purchase, take some time to inspect the bag or container that the ball python has been placed in. Make sure that it is secure, so that the snake will not escape on the way home. Ball pythons and other snakes have been lost in cars on more than one occasion when the transportation bag or container was not secure enough for the ride home. Do not place the container or bag in an area of the car where it will be in direct sunlight or under a heater vent. The ball python can seriously overheat and die within a relatively short time when exposed to temperature extremes. Stopping for a bite to eat on the way home during a warm or a cold day could also pose a threat to your new ball python. If the trip home will be a long one, bring an insulated transport container with you, one with adequate ventilation holes. This will help protect the ball python from temperature extremes. When possible, go directly home with your new snake.
If this is your first and only snake, then quarantine procedures will not be as important for you. However, if this is not your first and only snake, then you will need to quarantine your new arrival. All new ball pythons (and all reptiles in general) that you bring into your home should be quarantined for at least 30 days and perhaps as long as 60 days. This process is a must and could possibly save you headaches in the future. It is best – if possible – to house your new acquisition in a different room, away from your established collection. This snake should be fed last and cleaned after your other animals to avoid spreading any disease the new snake may have. Any tools or equipment that you use to work with this snake should also be thoroughly disinfected after you are done using them. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your newest snake.
During quarantine, you will be able to thoroughly observe your new arrival to make sure that it eats properly, has well-formed stools, has no signs of a respiratory infection or other illness, and does not harbour mites. Following proper quarantine procedures can save you and your other reptiles a lot of trouble by preventing mites (or worse, a deadly virus) from being introduced into your collection. Once the time allotted for quarantine has passed and you are satisfied that your new snake is healthy, introduce your new arrival to its own proper place in your collection.