Are ball pythons good beginner snakes? For the most part; yes. Ball pythons remain generally small, rarely exceeding 5 feet in length, they are slow-moving and fairly docile and they can sustain a fairly wide range of living conditions. Keep in mind however, that all snakes have certain requirements that need to be met to stay healthy and thrive. Should I buy a male or female ball python? Which ever you prefer. Some say that females tend to be more aggressive. Others say that males are more picky eaters. From experience, I disagree with both statements. There is generally no difference in behavior, temperment, aggressiveness, eating response, etc. from male and female, but female ball pythons do tend to get larger, and are generally more expensive. How big do ball pythons get? Females generally get bigger than males, averaging 5 feet, while males will average 4 feet in length. How long do ball pythons live? Ball pythons have not been kept in captivity for very long, so no definitive answer is available. The longest-lived ball python on record was a female who lived on display at a zoo to the age of 47. I would expect an "average" lifespan to be anywhere from 25-40 years. What should I expect to pay for a ball python? The cost of a ball python will depend entirely on where they are purchased and what you are looking for. For example, females tend to be more expensive than males, and wild-caught specimens are far-less expensive than captive-bred snakes. A breeder in your area breeding captive-bred specimens will generally sell normal juvenile males for $50-$75 while females of the same age will sell for $100- $150. Pet stores will sell juvenile ball pythons (male or female) for anywhere from $100-$200. Local reptile shows are also a great place to purchase a ball python for a great price. What do CB, CH, WC and LTC mean? CB (Captive-Bred): This means the snakes parents were both bred in captivity. These are the most preferred snakes to purchase. CH: (Captive-Hatched): This means that the eggs were taken from the wild and incubated in captivity. Not as preferred as CB. WC (Wild-Caught): Snakes that are wild-caught were removed from the wild and sold to pet stores and the general public. These animals are sometimes very unhealthy; having internal and/or external parasites. Least preferred of all ball pythons, and should be avoided. LTC (Long-Term Captive): These snakes are no different from WC specimens but were kept in captivity for a term. Just as unpreferred as WC. What does 1.2.3 in front of a snake's description mean? This is a terminology for distinguishing the sex of a snake. In the above example 1.2.3: 1 male, 2 females, 3 unknown/unsexed. If I had 0.2 balls, I would have 2 females and conversely 2.0 would be two males. Do ball pythons bite? This is a difficult question to answer. Ball pythons are generally not known to be a "bitey", or aggressive species of snake, but all snakes can bite. Snakes will only bite if they feel they are in danger, or as a feeding response. If you can learn to "read" your ball pythons behavior, chances are you will not be bitten. In the off-chance that you are, simply wash the bite area, and apply an antibacterial ointment such as Polysporin. Medical assistance is usually not necessary as a ball python does not have the fangs that other species do. Ball pythons have 80 or so teeth (40 top, 40 bottom) that are 1/8" long. Though there will likely be blood in the event of a bite, it's no more painful from being pricked with a pin (from what I've been told). Why do ball pythons hiss? Ball pythons hiss as a warning that they are stressed or scared and will usually end in a strike and/or bite if they remain that way. The hissing sound is caused by the inhalation of air by the snake to look larger to their enemy (your hand, etc.) the sound comes from them expelling that air. Can I handle my ball python? Of course! With proper conditioning, most all ball pythons will allow you to hold them. Too much handling on the other hand can lead to the snake becoming stressed which may result in a strike/bite. Try to keep your handling sessions to a minimum until you "know" your snake and can read his behavior. Can I keep more than one ball python together? This is a very common question. I would say no, unless you are pairing then up during breeding season (Oct.-Mar.). There are many reasons why ball pythons should not be kept together, which may include; medical problems, stress issues, feeding issues, aggressiveness, and the inability to properly monitor each snakes individual behavior. The list goes on. In my opinion, just not a good idea. updated Feb 1, 2011