Yes, they really do live in small dark places.



Why small spaces? Why no light? Why no branches?

Small, Dark Places. That is where they spend their time.

What is the best way to keep any animal in captivity? In a way that best mimics the native conditions and allows for us to most effectively create the proper conditions.

SO STOP TRASHING RACKS BECAUSE YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW THEY ACTUALLY LIVE. STOP anthropomorphizing the snakes and thinking that they are being deprived by being in “tiny boxes”.

Reptile keeping isn’t one size fits all across species. There are some animal I would never keep in a rack, and some that THRIVE in a rack. Let’s focus on what the animals need, NOT what we as humans think we would need if we were a snake! There are a couple studies that found that MALE balls are more active during breeding season.

There is one study that talks about the presence of bird remains in the fecal matter DURING breeding season.

I always want to respond to people who quote the studies and say DUH!

  1. Males have to move to seek females to breed.
  2. Not all birds are in trees. The one study that most people quote even says that the presence of birds in the fecal matter does not necessarily have any correlation to being arboreal.
  3. Rodents are going to be more scarce above ground so of course the males will have to hunt more and potentially even climb some low lying trees to eat birds.

My question is, what does any of this have to do with balls in captivity???

1. Are you opening up your male snakes enclosures and allowing them to go seek females for breeding or are you physically moving them to the female enclosure?
2. Are you going to switch them back and forth between rodents and birds during different seasons?
3. Are you going to add some low lying trees in the enclosure during “breeding” season and drop a few dead birds in the trees for food??
In other words, stop using studies about the behavior of sexually mature males during breeding season in the wild to justify your year round improper setups in captivity!

  1. Are you opening up your male snakes enclosures and allowing them to go seek females for breeding or are you physically moving them to the female enclosure?
  2. Are you going to switch them back and forth between rodents and birds during different seasons?
  3. Are you going to add some low lying trees in the enclosure during “breeding” season and drop a few dead birds in the trees for food??
    In other words, stop using studies about the behavior of sexually mature males during breeding season in the wild to justify your year round improper setups in captivity!

Also, read the entire studies, especially the sections at the end that cover discussion and limitations!!

Then we get the argument about the need for climbing branches based on the study about male BPs being found in low lying branches and eating birds. That study even states that bird eating does not automatically correlate to arborealism. Yet people now want to provide the balls with “climbing enrichment”. Do they climb in the wild? Sure… when they need food above ground and it’s sparse. Do they come above ground? Sure, for breeding. However, imagine if they didn’t have to climb for some food or crawl around above ground exposed to predation and the elements. I wonder if that would lengthen the life span.

It doesn’t flood in all of the ranges where BPs are found. Don’t you think the animals would prefer not to be forced out and exposed to the elements and predation? Also,, unless you are going to flood the enclosure and force them to survive by going to higher ground, you aren’t really mimicking that natural phenomenon.

So yes, if you “mix things up”, they will explore. If you toss in some branches they will climb. If you have the heat somewhere besides the hide, they will bask. If you prove a large enclosure they will crawl around.
However also stop to realize that these behaviors are all stressors in the wild and the goal is captive keeping isn’t typically to see how much we can stress them out.

Now transfer this to captivity. How many BPs do we see refuse food because of too many changes in the environment? Call me crazy but that doesn’t seem to be their way of begging us to “mix things up”.

Fact is, balls hate change. Get the environment setup properly, offer them food and water, and THAT is how you end up with healthy snakes.The thing is, in a proper setup, you just aren’t going to see these different behaviors.

A good bio setup has multiple DEEEEPPP caves. It allows them to move to a new one when one is solid. One reason I got tired of bio was feeling the need to destroy the setup when they moved to check for shed and poop. Also I got tired of having to use a flashlight to check on the snake.

Since stress takes a toll on the organs, we can’t see what kind of damage is being done. Properly kept would be providing the environment that most closely matches the standard in the wild and reducing the potential for stress.Some snakes will adapt to crappy environments but its the things you can’t see that are slowly killing them. Think about the monitor lizards. They eat, they are “tame” and yet the die from organ failure. Also, do we want to wait to see an issue before we provide what we know will reduce the potential for stress issues.

At the end of the day, this isn’t a narrative created by BP keepers, but facts based on experience and actual studies of them in the wild. We have taken all of the data, put it together, and determined that seems to work best. We didn’t decide to read a few seasonal studies and not bother to think about the big picture.

However when you can choose to thrive over survive, its always a good thing. As I said, some are more adaptable, but why take the chance just so you as the human can justify wanting a larger setup.

Yes, they really do live in small dark places. was last modified: August 14th, 2020 by Tom
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