Do you ever worry your ball python might bite you?
Are you concerned about having young children around a ball python because you are worried they will be bitten?
If you are worried about the safety of you or your children, if you bring a ball python into your home, you might ask:
What does a ball python bite feel like?
A ball python bite is not too painful because while they do have sharp teeth, their jaws are not very strong at all. The bite has typically been described as feeling like tiny pinpricks.
For more information on a ball python bite, what it feels like, and what might have caused your ball python to bite you, keep reading this article.
What Does A Ball Python Bite Feel Like?
When it comes to the bite of a ball python, you will find the feeling doesn’t rank very high on the pain scale.
This is mainly because ball pythons don’t have a very strong jaw.
Even though they have sharp teeth, with a weak jaw, they cannot use those teeth to full advantage.
Their bite is often described as feeling like a serious of tiny pinpricks on your skin.
In addition to having a weak jaw, the ball python is a relatively small member of the snake family.
This means when they do bite; they rarely cause much damage at all.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule as if they bite you in the face, throat, or another sensitive area.
Breathe a sigh of relief because ball pythons are not counted among the list of venomous snakes, so if you are bitten, you won’t have any venom entering your body.
Because they are not venomous, they don’t have the stereotypical fangs you might see in movies or other images of snakes, but instead have rows of small, but sharp teeth on the top and bottom parts their mouth.
Why Did My Ball Python Bite Me?
If you are on the receiving end of a ball python bite, you might not understand why or what you did to provoke the animal.
Ball pythons are known for being shy and very docile, but even still, on occasion, you might experience a bite.
There are usually only two reasons they will bite whoever might be handling them.
The first reason a ball python might bite you is they have mistaken your fingers or your hand for prey.
Your ball python might also feel threatened and are acting out defensively.
When the snake is afraid, they will bite in self-defense as a way to protect themselves and allow them to escape.
Reducing The Chances Of Being Bitten
Food or fear motivates the snake to bite, but knowing this will help you reduce the chances of being bitten.
To avoid being seen as prey by your ball python, be sure your hands don’t smell like prey.
It is best to wash your hands before handling the snake, especially after touching the rodents you will feed your snake.
You will also want to wash your hands after touching any other family pets, like dogs, cats, or birds, you might have in your household.
It’s also a good idea to learn to read the body language of your snake.
If you know the animal is hungry, you will know to be on alert for potential bites.
When a ball snake is hungry, you will be able to tell because they will often stay in their hide box and bring their neck into their body to form an “S” shaped coil.
It is best not to handle your snake when they are hungry, but if you have to handle it, be sure to use extra caution.
Keeping your snake well-fed is another way to avoid having your hand look like a delectable dinner.
You should be feeding your ball python approximately every seven to 10 days just as part of good animal care practices.
Once you have a feeding schedule established, be sure to keep to it, and you will reduce the likelihood of having your snake mistake you for food.
We also recommend not hand feeding your snake.
Doing so will have them associating your hand with food, something you don’t want.
If they do, it will just take once for them to get overly excited and attack your hand even if it doesn’t have a mouse in it.
This mistaken identity is not uncommon for any snake, but taking these precautions will help reduce the chance.
Bites done in self-defense are a little harder to predict.
Again, watch for the body language of your snake to let you know a bite is coming.
If, as you are holding the snake, you notice it has a very tense body posture, or it begins hissing, it is likely your ball python is feeling afraid or threatened.
When you notice this, place the snake back in its cage.
Doing so will allow it to feel safe again and give them comfort by being in their normal surroundings.
Is It Common For Ball Pythons To Bite?
Ball pythons are a very popular choice when it comes to owning snakes, partially because they are so mild-mannered.
These snakes are docile creatures who don’t mind being held by their owners.
It is also difficult to antagonize these easy-going snakes.
With this more adaptable and laid back attitude, it is not at all common to be bitten and attacked by a ball python.
A bite from a ball python will happen, but it is unlikely to be a daily occurrence, especially if you are caring for the animal properly.
How Should I Respond When Bitten?
Your ball python doesn’t understand it has done anything wrong.
It is only reacting to two feelings: fear or hunger.
While it is important to understand and take caution to avoid being bitten, it isn’t always possible to completely avoid the situation.
Reacting in the right way will help determine how large of a wound you get and how severe the bite ends up being.
This is a hard thing to learn as you will naturally want to behave a certain way.
When you are bitten, try to remain motionless and not make any abrupt movements.
Doing this will likely result in the snake releasing you very quickly after the initial bite.
If the snake releases, you will only have two small puncture wounds created by the bite.
Jerking away from the bite might be the more natural reaction, but try to avoid it.
By jerking your hand away quickly in response, your skin will tear, and you will be left with larger slashes.
This can pull out teeth from the snake’s mouth, causing problems and hurting your snake in the process.
A calm reaction is much easier said than done, but doing so will keep your pet safe and also lessen the severity of your wound.
How Do I Care For A Snake Bite?
As discussed, bites from a ball python are not going to be huge, and they normally don’t create a lot of damage.
Even if you don’t have a large wound, you will still need to properly care for it to ensure it doesn’t become infected.
Proper care will also mean a shorter healing time.
After you have been bitten and have returned the snake to the cage, immediately wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
You will need to examine the area to make sure the snake’s teeth did not get lodged in your skin.
Use your fingers to feel for any teeth in the wound gently, and if there are, use a pair of tweezers to remove them.
Disinfecting the area with a mild disinfectant from a first aid kit is an important next step.
Once it is dry, apply an antibiotic ointment and bandage the area.
The wound should heal within a matter of days, but if you notice swelling, redness, discharge, or streak like marks, it is best to contact your doctor.
If you have been bitten in a sensitive area, like the throat or face, go to the doctor first thing for care.
You will also want to see your doctor right away if the wound is extensive.
Ball Pythons aren’t known for their painful bites.
Between their smaller size and weak jaws, the bite of a ball python will most likely feel like pinpricks on your skin.
Proper care and handling of your ball python will reduce the chances of you even experiencing this bite, but it is important to remember to try to react accordingly if and when a bite does happen.
Remember, ball pythons make great starter snake pets and are known for their docile and shy nature, so bites are not going to be a regular occurrence.