When it comes to keeping reptiles as pets, shedding is often an anxious time. It can cause some peculiar behaviour in your pet and also make them look strange for a while. However, the ball python shedding process is relatively easy compared to other reptiles.
Ball pythons usually shed their skin relatively well, especially if there are no major health issues. As with all reptiles, ball pythons shed to accommodate for growth and to renew the cells in their skin.
It’s sort of a grumpy time for your snake as it doesn’t look so good and gets a little self conscious about it. How would you feel if your skin suddenly started peeling off and someone decided to start looking at you and picking you up…
Only joking of course. The real reason is that your snake also sheds the skin on its eyes. This makes it difficult for them to see and thus a little more defensive.
Want to learn more about ball python care? Check out our ball python care sheet!
How often should my ball python shed its skin?
Your ball python should shed its skin roughly every 4-6 weeks. You will notice that they lose their coloration a little bit and their skin gets quite a lot duller.
After a while they’ll go wrinkly and the skin will start to peel off slowly. In most healthy snakes, the skin comes off in one consistent piece. However, pieces can rip off or break from time to time and this is usually not too much of an issue.
Ball python shedding signs
Along with a duller skin tone, there are more signs that your ball python is shedding its skin. Their eyes will turn to a blueish grey color and they will often lose their appetite. They’ll also generally spend a lot more time in their damp hide.
If you don’t have a damp hide for them, make sure you create one before they start the shedding process.
Also, ensure that your ball python has a large bowel it can soak itself in. They will feel when they need to use their hide and their water bowel/bath themselves.
Ball python shedding process
The shedding starts about 1-3 weeks before the actual shedding of the skin starts. I know I know… Sounds strange.
However, your ball python will start to show signs that it’s getting close to shedding its skin.
Your ball python will change its behaviour prior to actually shedding. It may start refusing food or being a little more grumpy than usual.
Once you start noticing these signs, you need to make sure they have a moist hide if they don’t already.
Also, you should start cranking the humidity up to about 65% to 75% in preparation. This will help them to feel more comfortable, and shed easier once the big day arrives.
The shedding process
After some time, your ball python will actually start shedding its skin. In most cases, they will fluently remove their skin, like Austin Powers removing his bathrobe. After this, they usually strut around their enclosure for a while hissing: “Groovy baby!”
Again… Not a good representation of reality.
They really just spend an hour or two rubbing themselves on the rugged surfaces to try and break away from their skin. It doesn’t take too long before they’ve achieved this.
Two things are really important for your ball python to shed. The first is humidity and the second is something to rub up against.
Ball python shedding problems
Most of the time, you won’t have any large shedding problems. If you do encounter really big problems with shedding, then go and see a vet.
That being said, if the shed doesn’t come off in one go, there’s usually no need to panic. If this happens, it’s usually because the enclosure didn’t have a high enough level of humidity. Increase the humidity in the enclosure for a little while and see if the shed comes off.
If it doesn’t come off you can try to place them in a very moist hide for a little while. Take them out after 30mins to an hour and them leave them be. The shed should come of in a day or so.
Ball python shedding tips
- Make sure they have a rough surface to rub up against in their terrarium
- Ensure the level of humidity is high enough (65-75 percent)
- Provide your ball python with a moist hide
- Leave them be around the time they are shedding and don’t stress them out too much
- If they don’t shed in one go, place them in a moist hide for 30-60mins and then place them back in their terrarium
Why do ball pythons shed their skin?
Ball pythons shed their skin to accommodate for growth. It also helps them remove parasites and old cells. Humans shed their skin too, only we do it slowly. IA lot of the reasons are the same.
How often does a ball python shed?
A ball python will shed roughly every 4-6 weeks, but it could be a little longer or shorter depending on the snake.
Can I handle my ball python while shedding?
It’s best not to handle your ball python when shedding. Since their eyes also shed they often don’t see as well and can get stressed out if you get too close.
Should I feed my ball python while shedding?
Ball pythons generally lose appetite when shedding. You can try but the cances of them going for it are slim.
How long does it take a ball python to shed?
The actual shedding process shouldn’t take too long (a few hours max). However, it can take up to a few weeks if you include the pre shedding process.
As you can see, ball pythons aren’t all too difficult when it comes to shedding. As long as you give them what they need, they’ll be fine and should shed without any problems.