Ball pythons are a small to medium sized constrictor native to central and west Africa. These equatorial reptiles are known for their ability to keep pest animals at bay in their local environments, and extreme popularity in the pet trade. With over 4,000 morphs available on the market, it’s easy to be entranced by the unique appearance of this animal and want one as a pet. However, first time owners may have questions about the behavior and temperament of this animal and wonder if it can truly love them back like other pets.
Ball Python Behavior
Like most constrictors, ball pythons are fairly low-key animals. They would much rather prefer to spend hours soaking in the heat or burrowed in a hide than taking walks or scratching furniture. They are not social animals, preferring minimal contact with most creatures, including other snakes. Generally, a healthy ball python should be alert but relaxed and slow moving – comfortable but somewhat indifferent to your presence. This makes them appealing as emotionally low-maintenance pets for many people.
What is Love
As pet owners, it seems as if we have the tendency to anthropomorphize our animal companions. We assign certain behaviors to certain emotions. We also assume that every animal has the same emotional range as another. Indeed cuddling, feeling excitement when we come home, and asking for attention all seem like fairly obvious signs of love. While that may be true to an extent, it is important to understand that different animals have different ways of communicating with each other. Some people who only have experience with more traditional pets may have slightly skewed expectations.
This is all to say that no, your ball python will likely not show overt affection or love for you. At least, not in the way we understand it. In fact, it is impossible to truly understand what your reptilian friend feels and thinks. This is not an animal to seek emotional validation from, or that you can expect to miss its owner in their absence. However, ball pythons for sale can still make excellent, docile pets. When properly socialized, it will be totally relaxed in your presence, and should enjoy spending hours wrapped around your shoulders. It is safe to say that as long as you pay attention to your snake’s needs and care for it properly, it will still see you as an important being in its life that it can trust.
It’s true that your ball python may never truly “love” you in the way you expect. But for many, that truly doesn’t matter. A relationship built on mutual respect and trust with these animals can still be highly rewarding and long lasting. Seeing a snake transform from a scared, unconfident baby to a relaxed, fully realized adult can very well be the highlight of your pet owning experience.
As long as you temper your expectations when looking at ball pythons for sale and take the time to understand your pet, it will reward you tenfold. With a little bit of patience, you can enjoy a long lived, wonderful bond with a really cool animal.