Has your pet ball python escaped its enclosure?
Or maybe you’re just preparing in case it happens in the future?
Ball pythons are professional Houdinis (aka escape artists), and it just takes one loose latch or a few minutes with the door unlocked for them to sneak away to some hard-to-find hiding place.
But don’t worry! If your snake has escaped, we’re here to help.
Today we’re sharing with you our best tips and tricks for finding a lost ball python.
Start by systematically searching each room in the house beginning with the last room you saw your snake. Seal off each room once you’ve finished scouring it, and move on to the next. If you still can’t find it, consider setting a few traps like flour, penny, or heat to help locate your escaped ball python.
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How to Find a Lost Ball Python
With their strong slender bodies and propensities to hide in secluded, dark corners, Ball pythons are pros at hide n’ seek, so it’s challenging to find a lost ball python.
But never fear; if your pet snake has escaped, there are lots of tried and true ways to find it.
First things first, don’t panic.
More than likely, your ball python is close by and is curled up and resting in a dark corner or hard-to-see spot.
If you run around the house frantically or make a lot of noise, your snake is much less likely to come out and may even retreat into a darker, more secluded space.
So try to stay calm and collected.
Secure Other Pets
If you have other pets in the house (especially cats), make sure to keep them away from the area your snake may be.
Some pets can prove to be a threat to loose snakes, so if possible, keep them outside until you find your ball python – unless you suspect your ball python is already outside.
And if you leave the house, always lock your pets in a safe room where you know your ball python isn’t hiding.
Let Neighbors Know
If the weather is warm and your windows or doors weren’t secured when your ball python went missing, let your neighbors know your snake is lost.
Ensure they are in no danger whatsoever and show them a picture of your snake, so they are on the lookout.
Search the House
The next step is to search the house thoroughly.
You may end up having to turn the entire house upside down, but you want to do it methodically, so you aren’t just going in circles.
How to Search the House
When searching each room, start by sealing the room off by stuffing a towel in the crack under the door and sealing off any large vents or cracks.
You don’t want your snake to slither under the door or vent while you’re searching the closet or bed!
Once you’ve thoroughly searched the room, shut the door and seal it by once again stuffing a towel under the door crack.
Where to Search
Search everywhere, but start your search in the last place you saw it (probably in the room with its tank enclosure).
Don’t give up on a room until everything has been thoroughly combed through.
Snakes are notorious for hiding in the most out-of-the-way places, so don’t leave even one proverbial stone unturned.
Keep in mind snakes don’t like open, light-filled spaces, so look diligently in dark corners and behind furniture.
Some of the best places to focus your search include:
- anything hollow (shoe boxes, kleenex box, pizza box, even the garbage disposal!)
- inside vents (you may need to take them apart)
- window sills
- on the tops of curtain rods
- firewood piles
- baseboard heaters
- behind toilet tanks
If your snake has ever escaped before, search the locations you found them hiding in the past.
They may hide in the same spots again.
When to Search
While it’s best to start searching for your escaped python right away, if you aren’t having any luck finding it, you may want to wait until nightfall and search again.
Ball pythons, like many other snakes, are most active at night.
So if you let the house go quiet and turn out all the lights, you may have better luck finding it.
If you’ve turned the house upside down and still can’t find your pet ball python, you may want to consider setting a few traps.
Below, we’ve detailed a few of the best traps to set for catching an escaped ball python.
A flour trap allows you to see if and where the snake travels in the house.
Scatter a visible but thin layer of corn starch or flour on the floor (think across each room’s threshold, entrances to closets, and along the walls).
When your snake slithers across it, he’ll disrupt the flour and leave a trail.
Even if you can’t identify precisely where he’s hiding, you’ll at least know which room to focus on.
If you don’t fancy dusting your house with flour, head to the bank and exchange $10 for 1000 pennies.
Next, arrange lines of pennies at the entrances to each room, the thresholds of closets, and on top of furniture like counters, tables, and couches.
When your snake slithers across these surfaces, it will disturb the penny line, alerting you to its location (if you’re around to hear the falling pennies), or at least letting you know which room to narrow your search to.
You can also use plastic grocery bags and tape to create movement-tracking traps to find your escaped ball python.
Another way to find your ball python is to lower the temperature in your home to 68° degrees Fahrenheit (20°C), then cut a small, snake-sized hole in a shoebox or other small hollow enclosure and place a shipping warmer (like this one) inside.
Leave the box in the room where you last saw your snake and check back in the morning.
More than likely, if the box is the warmest spot in the house, your snake will choose it as its next hiding spot.
Keep the Snake’s Enclosure Open
During all your searching and trap setting, don’t forget to leave your snake’s enclosure open with the heat lamps on.
If the terrarium is open and comfortable, your snake may eventually slither back in.
You may even want to set the tank down on the ground if your snake is not much of a climber.
Locating Your missing ball python
If your ball python has escaped, remember not to panic!
The first step to finding a lost ball python is always to remain calm and start by systematically searching the entire house.
Think like a snake, and comb through the darkest, out-of-the-way places in your house, like behind furniture, in the vents, and inside of closets and boxes.
If you search diligently (and maybe set a few traps), you’re sure to find your lost snake!