Are you worried about your ball python’s teeth?
Do you want to learn more about your scaly pet?
One of the things most people are frightened of with snakes is their teeth.
But ball pythons and their teeth and bite are nothing to be afraid of.
Still, you may wonder:
How many teeth does a ball python have?
As an adult, the royal python or ball python has 30 barbed teeth in four rows on top and two rows on the bottom. As babies, they also have an egg tooth to help them break out of their shells, but this is lost early on in their lives.
Check out the rest of the post for more details and information about ball python teeth and bites.
Table of Contents
How Many Teeth Does A Ball Python Have?
Reptile teeth, and specifically the ball python’s teeth, behave much differently than human teeth do.
For one, the teeth are surprisingly small for such long snakes.
The teeth are barbed and angled backward to help hold on to the prey when they bite.
This makes sense, given the python’s style of eating.
As a python, the ball python captures its prey by wrapping its long and strong body around the prey and strangling it.
Then, it swallows the food whole.
The teeth’s main job is to hold the food inside the mouth as it swallows.
Ball pythons, as with other snakes, don’t chew their food.
They swallow it entirely and digest it over 1-2 days.
Handling your ball python within 24-48 hours after eating may result in regurgitation.
You also won’t see the large fangs most people think of when they picture snakes.
The fangs are only useful for injecting venom, which is not what the ball python does.
As a baby, the snake doesn’t have many teeth, but it will have an egg tooth.
This sharp tooth is oversized for the snake’s head and is useful for breaking the eggshell at birth.
Soon after, this tooth is lost.
The number of teeth a ball python has tends to fluctuate depending on size and age.
Larger and older pythons will have more teeth than younger and smaller ones.
The typical adult will have around 30 teeth in four rows on top and two on the bottom.
Ball pythons lose their teeth all the time and replace them quickly.
They never stop losing and replacing their teeth.
Do Ball Pythons Have Venom?
No, ball pythons don’t have venom.
Pythons don’t have venom as a rule.
Venom is used by other snakes to immobilize and kill their prey as they eat them.
Pythons, as we mentioned before, trap and kill their prey by wrapping around them.
As such, there isn’t any evolutionary reason for them to have venom.
Ball pythons have one of the most harmless bites of any snake.
They rarely bite, and when they do, they don’t hold on and break skin often.
How Often Do Ball Pythons Bite?
Ball pythons bite rarely.
Their instinct is to curl up in a ball when threatened.
During their hunting process, ball pythons won’t bite their prey first.
The first thing they do is wrap their bodies around the prey and squeeze.
Once the animal has stopped fighting or mostly stopped, they’ll bite the prey and slowly swallow the food entirely.
What To Do In Case Of A Ball Python Bite
The first thing to do is not panic.
Ball python bites are very rarely serious, and taking sensible action will minimize the already-low damage.
If the snake is holding onto you, you need to remove the snake from you first.
Though it may not be your instinct to do so, hold as still as possible.
Your python will most likely release you quickly at this point.
Some owners have success spraying or splashing water on the animal’s head.
Don’t pull the snake off of you.
This will cause the backward-facing teeth to dig into your skin deeper and cuts deeper and larger cuts.
This is exactly what you want to avoid.
The initial bite may not even break the skin.
Most people describe the bite as feeling like a bunch of small pinpricks.
You may find it useful to learn more about what a ball python bite feels like.
As we said before, the teeth are small, and the ball python doesn’t have a powerful jaw.
Once the python has released you, calmly put the python back in its tank.
Go and wash your hands quickly with anti-bacterial soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
If needed, apply an anti-bacterial ointment and an adhesive bandage.
Reptiles are known to carry salmonella on the outside of their bodies, so you want to take care of the chance of infection as soon as possible.
Other than this, there’s nothing you need to do.
Even when yanking the snake off, they won’t cut deep enough to warrant stitches or anything.
Remember, they don’t have any venom either, so no worries there!
How To Avoid Getting Bitten By A Ball Python
If your ball python bites you, it’s probably on you for not paying attention to their signs.
Ball pythons are extremely mild in their personality and rarely bite.
Even when they feel threatened, ball pythons are more likely to curl up in a ball or s-shape protecting their heads.
This is where they get their name the “ball” python.
Still, you may get bitten if you pressure the python and ignore the snake’s warning signs.
When you see these signs, give the python a break and handle it at another time when it isn’t so stressed:
- Mouth open
- Head up
- Eyes locked on you
Don’t feel hurt; this doesn’t mean the python doesn’t like you.
Your ball python probably likes you as you provide the food.
However, they can get in moods where many owners describe them as cranky.
This may be due to several reasons, but the most likely is shedding.
Shedding tends to make ball pythons crank to the point where they won’t even eat.
Learn more about how often you should handle your ball python.
How To Keep Your Ball Python Calm
Ball pythons stay calm naturally.
The first thing you should do is make sure to set up the tank properly.
When you go to pick up or handle the python, watch for angry signals, as mentioned above.
Your hand motions should always be slow and approach from the front of the snake, never behind.
You want to avoid surprising the snake with your movements as much as possible.
Keep the cage far from where other animals are, and make sure it’s not in a high foot traffic area of your house.
All the movement and sound may increase its overall stress level, which isn’t good for the python’s health.
Will My Ball Python Lose All Of Its Teeth?
Yes, and no.
Ball pythons lose their teeth all the time and replace them quickly.
However, you shouldn’t expect a ball python to lose all its teeth at the same time.
If you notice the ball python has no teeth, this may be a sign it needs to go to the vet right away.
One of two things have happened:
The python tried to eat something hard.
With a weaker jaw, if the snake eats something tough, it may lose its teeth in the prey.
When eating the correct prey (rats and mice), this won’t happen.
But if the snake loses all of its teeth at once, you probably fed it something it wasn’t supposed to eat, or your python found something dangerous to its health.
See if there’s a way to figure out what it ate and contact your vet.
The ball python has mouth rot.
Mouth rot is an infection in the mouth tissues.
This just sometimes happens, and there’s no good way to avoid it.
But making sure the substrate is clean, the tank has no mold, and the humidity is 50-60% in the tank is a good start.
You’ll also notice other signs of illness such as lack of appetite, lack of movement, and “weeping” or pus around the mouth, nose, and eyes.
When you see these signs, you must take your pet to the vet.
It won’t easily fight off such infections, and even if the pet does, the stress will have shortened its life span.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how many teeth a ball python has.
Thirty may seem like a lot, but it won’t look like it.
These teeth are small and face backward to help hold in the food, but they’re jaws aren’t very strong.
By the time the prey gets in the python’s mouth, it’s already been strangled by the ball python’s strong and muscular body.
With four rows on top and two rows of teeth on the bottom, they may sound fearsome, but they rarely bite and have no venom.
The ball python is one of the safest pets, let alone snake, to own.