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How To Tell If A Ball Python Is Stressed (Signs To Look For)

Have you noticed your ball python is not eating?

Are you worried because your snake is not behaving like normal?

Stress is a very common problem for ball pythons, but if you aren’t sure if your snake is stressed or has some other underlying health issue, you might wonder:

How To Tell If A Ball Python Is Stressed

If your ball python is stressed, their body language will be different from normal behavior, and they might not have an appetite and start hissing or striking at you.

Stress is detrimental to your ball python’s health, so it is essential to understand and make changes to relax your pet.

Keep reading for more information on how to tell if your ball python is stressed and what to do to help.

how to tell if a ball python is stressed

How To Tell If A Ball Python Is Stressed

If your ball python is experiencing stress, there are many health problems they could develop as a direct result.

Because their health is greatly affected, it is crucial to identify if your ball python is experiencing stress quickly.

You will notice your ball python is stressed for several reasons, but the first tip-off will be a lack of appetite and a change in body language.

A lack of appetite does not always mean they are stressed, but instead could be shedding their skin, so be sure you are checking for this possibility.

Rubbing their nose against objects is another tell your snake might display if they are feeling the stress.

When your ball python feels stressed, you might notice a change in their demeanor and become more aggressive by hissing or striking at their owner.

All snakes will be a little bit different, and your snake might outwardly display their stress differently, so it is best to know your ball python.

Regularly observing your snake will help you understand what their normal looks like.

How To Destress A Ball Python

If you have determined your ball python is suffering from stress, there are a few things to help.

Check to make sure the setup of their enclosure is just right.

Look closely at the humidity and temperature levels in the cage to make sure they are in the optimal range.

Humidity should be between 50% and 60%, and the temperature should be around 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C).

Read our post dedicated to tank humidity for ball pythons to learn some tips for keeping your tank in the proper range.

Make sure there are enough hiding areas and some plants to give your ball python a sense of security by not having to be out in the open.

When your ball python is experiencing stress, try to limit handling.

It is best to leave your ball python alone and don’t handle it for at least a week.

This will give it time to relax and reset in its surroundings.

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What Causes Stress In Ball Pythons

Stress can quickly happen to your ball python, even if you have a lot of experience with these animals.

The causes of stress are usually simple and easily fixed, but sometimes it could be something you’re going to have to dig a little deeper to determine.

Stress can occur when you bring a ball python into your home and transfer it into a new habitat.

This is a massive change in their life, with new people and things, so it’s no wonder this major move causes a certain level of stress.

Just be sure to give them time and space to acclimate to their new surroundings, and you are likely to see your ball python’s mood change in a short amount of time.

Stress can also be caused because of their environment.

It is important to provide them with an enclosure not too small or large, with a temperature and humidity level in just the right range.

Also, be sure you are handling your snake correctly and not too often.

While ball pythons are much more docile and open to regular handling, even they have their limits, too much will not work for them.

Other causes of stress include having to share their cage with another snake.

Snakes aren’t known for being social creatures, and even in the wild, they choose to live a more solitary life.

If you have more than one snake in your home, be sure you give them adequate space to reduce stress.

Stress will also occur when a ball python is feeling ill.

You will notice general unhappiness and a stressed attitude if your snake is not feeling well.

If you are concerned about an underlying health issue, be sure to contact your ball python’s veterinarian.

The earlier you identify the problem, the easier it will be to get your ball python back to feeling happy and healthy.

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Can Stress Kill A Ball Python?

Stress is not just something your snake can live with for an extended period.

Some of the most severe side effects of stress can cause your snake to die.

If your snake is so stressed it refuses to eat, it will develop health problems as the immune system is weaker and ultimately damaged.

Stress will also cause your snake to rub its nose on things in its tank, and while you might not realize it, this can cause a lot of harm.

If it rubs its nose long enough, abscesses and open wounds can form.

If these wounds become infected, they could be fatal to your ball python.

Again, if you notice your ball python is acting stressed, do everything possible to determine and resolve the cause so your pet can get back to its healthy life.


If your ball python has become stressed, don’t be too hard on yourself, but work quickly to find the root cause of the stress.

Knowing your ball python and how they usually behave will be your best way to determine stress early on.

Practicing good husbandry and understanding your snake will put you on the right track to reducing the chances of stress in your ball python.

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