The extremely attractive and distinctive patterns and colors of the spider ball python make them a very sought-after snake. They are one of the several variations on the common ball python.
A genetic mutation that modifies a snake’s appearance is called a morph. Thus, all snake morphs belong to the same breed. They simply come in so many wonderful patterns!
However, the genetic alteration that gives spider balls their colors and patterns is linked to a neurological condition called head wobble syndrome. Among those who love snakes, this is a contentious issue.
Some people find this feature endearing and don’t find it problematic. Others, though, contend that using animals for breeding degrades their quality of life and is inhumane. Let’s find out more information about the Spider Ball Python.
Spider Ball Python Scientific Name
The scientific name for the ball python and its variants, such as the spider ball python, is Python regius. Royal refers to the Latin word regius. The word “regal” comes from the myth that Queen Cleopatra wore ball python bracelets because the snakes were so docile.
This snake is a member of the class Reptilia and family Pythonidae.
Fun Facts About The Spider Ball Python
The Igbo ethnic group in southeast Nigeria holds ball pythons in great respect. In their well-kept settlements, the snakes are allowed to travel freely. So much so that the Igbo people create a coffin and have a funeral when someone passes away.
Predators of ball pythons in the wild include bigger snakes, birds, and carnivorous animals. Frogs and spiders can pose a threat to young ball pythons.
Female ball pythons incubate and guard their eggs, unlike the majority of snakes. They encircle the eggs with their bodies and do not move until the eggs hatch; this process takes around two months.
The Spider morph was one of the first morphs of the Ball Python
The history of morphology among the many reptile species is extensive. Owning reptiles and amphibians has long been a common habit, as has breeding them for their distinctive markings and colors.
It is a little overwhelming to see all the different colors and designs available now. However, there was the Spider Ball Python before these tens of thousands of additional morphs appeared. One of the oldest and most prevalent morphs of the Ball Python is the Spider morph.
Insect Ball The heads and tails of pythons are mostly affected by a pattern. They feature ropy patterns over their bodies that nearly droop, giving the impression that they have more lines and webbing.
These are easily distinguished from many other variants because they are speckled rather than lined. They are so well-liked and well-known because of this.
Where Does the Spider Ball Python Come From?
Africa’s western and central regions are the origins of the ball python. They may be found in Savannah grasslands and open forests because they thrive in warm tropical temperatures.
They typically reside in regions where there is access to water so they can cool themselves. Additionally, they are typically found atop or underground in seized burrows. Although they are quite capable, ball pythons rarely climb trees.
They destroy their prey by encircling it with their bodies and squeezing it to death as constricting snakes do.
They are one of the smaller python species and are quite well-liked as exotic pets. Especially considering their tranquil demeanor and lack of malice.
Ball Python Appearance
A variant of the common ball python is the spider python.
Large brown and gold patches on these pythons are divided by slender black patterns, giving the appearance of a spider’s web. The spider ball python derives its name from this.
However, since they are being produced and sold professionally more frequently, spider ball pythons have shown a wider variety of patterns and markings.
The range of morphs and color/pattern variants has been further expanded through crosses between conventional spider ball pythons, commonly referred to as smaller spider ball pythons, and other morphs. The albino and banana spider ball pythons, for instance, are two well-liked variants.
Spiders have a long, broad body and a thin head, just like the original ball python.
They often reach lengths of 3 to 6 feet, while males seldom exceed 4 feet and females in captivity rarely reach 5 feet.
Spider Ball Python Temperament
Due to their benign personalities and little likelihood of biting, ball pythons are sometimes referred to as the “Labrador of snakes” by some.
Snake pups start off jittery and shy. However, they quickly calm down with routine care and gentleness.
Ball pythons are regarded as the best snakes for beginners because of their calm disposition and relatively modest size, which makes them easier to handle. They may take some time to become used to a new handler or house because they might be timid at first. But when they do, they make fantastic pets.
Ball pythons are nocturnal, like the majority of snakes, and are active primarily at night. However, they are also crepuscular, meaning that dawn and dusk are when they are most active. They spend a large portion of their time underground in burrows in the wild, which might account for their peculiar habit.
The spider behaves in the same manner as a typical ball python.
Spider Ball Python: How Dangerous Are They?
This snake is not poisonous. These snakes don’t have teeth like a rattlesnake, which is another advantage as they kill their victim by wrapping around it and squeezing it. However, these ball python variants may bite and have fangs.
These snakes are shy and won’t bite unless they feel cornered or under stress. A female who is molting or shedding her skin, for example, can attack someone who reaches out to pick her up.
This is due to the fact that a snake feels especially exposed when molting. Additionally, if the snake feels like it is going to fall, it may grow agitated and attack the person holding it. Snakes that fall to the ground might suffer severe injuries.
A spider ball python will often curl its body into the shape of a ball when it is threatened or scared. That is the second explanation behind the name of this snake.
If someone gets bitten, washing the wound with soap and warm water is the recommended line of action. Additionally, remember to use first-aid cream to reduce the risk of infection. If the skin starts to seem red or inflamed, see a doctor.
Caring For Your Spider Ball Python
The majority of the time, taking care of a spider ball python is similar to taking care of a regular ball python. They should be fed comparable meals since they have similar requirements for space, humidity, and temperature.
However, the stumbling state they exhibit may affect their treatment plans.
For instance, certain spider ball pythons struggle to strike or encircle their prey. Thus, you ought to refrain from giving them live prey. This will protect your snake from being hurt by the mouse or rat as well as ensuring that the prey animal won’t suffer as a result of the snake’s incapacity to strike and constrict effectively.
Instead, you should give your snake appropriately sized frozen-thawed rodents. When feeding food, you might need to be patient because your snake can miss its target or not properly encircle the rodent.
Presenting spider ball pythons with warm rodents may be especially beneficial since it might provide them additional information about where to aim their bites.
Handling is the only other significant distinction between raising a regular ball python and one with the spider gene. You must take extra precaution while handling one of these pythons since they occasionally move in an unforeseen manner and lack the coordination of typical ball pythons.
Therefore, be careful to only hold your snake under calm conditions. Holding them over a table or counter top is another smart move. If you should drop them unintentionally, this will aid in preventing them from falling all the way to the floor.
Lifespan Spider Ball Python
Spider ball pythons may live up to 30 years on average. Your python’s health and lifespan are strongly impacted by how well you care for, confine, and feed them.
But wobbling, which is regrettably unexpected, may also shorten your snake’s life. Even snakes with minor symptoms might potentially experience more severe adverse effects.
Your snake’s ability to move and feed may be hampered by wobble. The most humanitarian course of action may be euthanasia depending on how badly their disease affects their quality of life.
Age does not affect wobbling, except that it could enhance the intensity of the symptoms. This illness affects all spider morphs, including hatchlings, young spiders, adults, and elderly spiders.
Only spider types that experience modest wobbling symptoms throughout their whole lives are often able to reach maturity or senior age.
Genetics and Pattern of Inheritance
Different mutations in the ball python are inherited in various ways. Many of the most prevalent mutations, including amelanism (albino), are passed down in a straightforward recessive manner.
In order to get the desired look, snakes must inherit a copy of the altered gene from each parent.
But, at least according to the pattern, the spider morph is passed in a straightforward dominant manner.
For a snake to display the corresponding morph, a dominant mutation only needs one copy of the mutant gene to exist.
It follows that, unlike simple recessive mutations, only one spider parent is necessary to create spider offspring.
Therefore, if a spider man and a normal female are bred, some of the offspring will have the spider characteristic.
However, estimating the amount of spider offspring that will emerge from a particular clutch is challenging, and for this reason we cannot be certain that the spider trait is dominant as opposed to co-dominant or incomplete dominant.
The snakes with the “super” appearance will have two copies of the mutant gene whereas those with the standard mutation will only have one copy of the gene. The normal-looking snakes won’t have any copies of the mutant gene.
There is no known “super” variant of the spider mutation, which is the issue. Although spiders have a variety of appearances, they all have a basic appearance.
This indicates that the characteristic is either co-dominant or incompletely dominant, in which case the “super” form is fatal, or dominant, in which case there is no “super” form. Even while it seems highly likely that the feature is dominant, we cannot say for sure at this time.
If the trait is dominant, unless the spider has two copies of the gene, half of a spider-normal clutch will be spiders. In these scenarios, a spider-normal clutch’s whole offspring would look like spiders.
Spider Ball Python Health
Your spider ball may occasionally experience health problems that need treatment. Therefore, you need to take them to a licensed herp vet.
As already established, “the wobble,” a neurological disease, is the biggest health issue with a spider ball python. There are two explanations for the “wobble” in the spider ball. The snake becomes perplexed and bewildered in the first, when they can be seen swaying their heads back and forth.
The second is referred to as the “corkscrew,” in which the snake flips its head sideways and slams against walls while appearing to lose coordination.
Given that all spiders occasionally wobble, it is a dominating characteristic. Some individuals might not exhibit symptoms until they are adults. Some people start off with it and lose it as they age.
Feeding The Spider Ball Python
Ball pythons have a reputation for being voracious eaters. They need a consistent feeding schedule as a result. Nevertheless, skipping meals is a typical occurrence for them.
Feed your snake only what is suitable for its size.
Offering one mouse at a time usually results in two mice being fed. If your spider ball is larger, though, they could need bigger mice or a small rat. Using tongs, dangle the prey in front of the snake to pique its attention. It also makes you less likely to get bitten.
Only provide pre-killed food since rodent bites can harm or even kill your snake. You can feed every two weeks or just once every week. However, because they frequently lose their hunger, check to make sure your spider isn’t shedding.
Leave your pet snake alone for at least 24 hours after feeding. This gives the food plenty of time to digest. If you handle them too soon after feeding them, they can regurgitate.
Although it’s sad that this transformation appears to lead to certain health issues in ball pythons, this isn’t entirely unexpected: Numerous additional genetic mutations also have negative health effects.
Just make sure to thoroughly consider your options and, if you have the opportunity, hold a spider ball python with your own hands before making a decision. You may opt to work with the mutation even though you don’t like the “wobble” or you may choose to concentrate on another mutation.
That shouldn’t be an issue when there are so many options!
Do you currently own any spider ball pythons? How do you feel about the “wobble”? Do you believe breeders need to keep creating this morph? Please share your opinions in the section below.