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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I was cleaning out my ball pythons and it got me thinking about them as a species and how they are now thought of in the hobby. To so many "collectors" they are classed as items to be traded and poked in the head until they curl up in a ball for a pic, and to so many "proper" hobbyists they are worthless beginner snakes that are not interesting in the slightest. After all, all they do is curl up in a ball and hide all day right....

My first snake 14 years ago was a corn snake closely followed by a wild type ball python. I was besotted with it. It looked like the pythons I always read about in books as a kid, awesome colours, a baby but still chunky, it looked like a truly wild beast!

In all honesty I can't see whats not to love about them. I have a female that is a whisker off 5 feet, is thicker than my arm and weighs over 3kg, if thats not an impressive snake I don't know what is. I will say its impossible to really appreciate their size in a tub or an enclosure, only when they are stretched out can you get a real feel.

As for their "terrible" feeding habits. Thats simply not true. Yes males can go off food as they start to mature but thats not a problem, as can females, it just saves you some money on rats lol. Most of them will have a fast, but in my many years of experience keeping them they always start up again and usually come back with vengeance. Take today for example. I took my first bite from an adult royal. One of my females has been an on off feeder for a few months since a move but has recently started feeding hard again. I popped my hand in to change her water and she got me. Luckily it was no where near as bad as I thought it would be. Feeding these guys is so impressive too. They have lighting fast strikes and a nice bit of weight behind it! Once the hatchlings get going they are pretty much bullet proof, at least until they hit a weight where a fast is not a problem. whats not to love!

If morphs are your thing, there isn't another animal out there that can match them on that, again whats not to love.

I just hate how much flak this incredible python gets. Its a species that is worthy of a spot in any collection (well if awesome pythons are you thing that is) I genuinely think they are the perfect pet python.

Let me know what you REALLY feel about ball pythons, not just as pets but as a species.

I will be honest, I have become complacent with them at times but the very next time I hold them I fall in love all over again.

(I'd also love to hear about the pets you love and how long you have had them and so on, just because I like to read that stuff lol)
 

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I don't like them personally as I don't find them interesting at all but that's the beauty of owning snakes - there's something for everyone. Now show me giant pythons like Burms, Retics and Anacondas and I'm interested

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I have only ever had one, and kept it for five years before passing it on to one of my newphews.
It was a great feeder, apart from its seasonal breeding fast, and pretty much never turned down a meal.
It was kept in a very large display viv in the front room and only ever used its hides when shedding, prefering to sit in the fork of its large branch!? :whistling2:
Like all my snakes, it had a daily free roam, and was unfased by the activities of my (then) young son and nephews.
It was far removed from any of the stereotypical complains you see on forums, and when I started reading about all their supposed quirks, I did wonder at the time what people were doing with their animals?????

There was nothing at all wrong with the animal, and if anything it was an ideal "pet snake". But....... it didn't do much for me. I found it a bit dull, as I tend to prefer more active colubrids. Each to their own. : victory:

I think what divides the opinion of this species is not the snakes thmselves, but their keepers. That is not meant as an insult to anyone, bare with me! :whistling2:
This animal more than any other seemed to herald the arrival of mass rack keeping culture into this country. I have absolutely no doubt that people had probably kept animals like this long before, but the idea of keeping a "collection" this way suddenly became normalised.
And that's the other thing.
A great many of us specialise in our prefered species. Nothing at all wrong with that, you like what you like.
But there seemed to be a shift towards breeding animals for their monetary value, rather than the worth of the animal in it's self. People have always bred snakes. Thank god, or few of us would own any. But, in my opinion, a great many Royal keepers gave the impression that if they weren't trying to pump out high end morphs, then they weren't really part of the game?
The excitement of keeping snakes as just a really interesting creature seemed to be lost to many newcomers to the hobby. Snakes were a way to make money. :devil:
Not all keepers are the same, and I'm not tarring everyone with the same brush. I would even suggest that the bubble has burst some what.
But a great many common species have disappeared from the hobby as a result of this culture shift, as there was just no market for them during he "royal boom years".

I expect all royal keepers to dissagree. :lol2:
 

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As a species overall, they're ok? There are many species of python out there; so when comparing them to the rest of the family, they're nothing remarkable, but also nothing bad. This is not an insult, for pythons they are relatively active and successful in nature, they certainly have some charm to them. But they're also quite dull in comparison to many of their kin - that's not objective, they're literally mostly brown. :Na_Na_Na_Na:

As captives in the hobby, they're decent. They have many traits suited to general keeping, but are certainly not the 'best' or 'ideal'. Suppose it's easier to say for how widely kept they are, they're overrated. Still good snakes, but there are (in my opinion of course) more suitable captives for many of the accolades people claim them to hold.
Ironically, the same people who normally hype them up aren't aware of how active they can be - kept properly they're solid, low effort snakes.

I won't comment on the morph side of things as my own bias will get in the way. Am sure they're a wet dream for those who're really into punnet squares. They don't deserve a lot of the hate they get, but I suppose as said above that's mostly a reflection of how and why people keep them, not some deep seeded hatred of a dopey brown python.
 

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I've currently got 3 Royals, but owned 4 in the 30+ years of keeping snakes. Roll the clock back 30 years and all you found were "wild" (now called classics) patterned snakes. Morphs were beginning to appear, mainly in the states and were silly money, so it was other traits that influenced the purchase of a Royal.

They make for an excellent second snake. I say that due to their fasting habits, the requirement to get the humidity right for shedding (often Royals shed in bits rather than one long skin inside out) and the fact they are active at dusk to dawn, which means they rest in the day when most people want to see them move about. They fit the bill when it comes to size when someone wants a snake with some bulk but not a snake that is too large to handle, or require huge enclosures. They are also underestimated. Place a royal in a large viv with stout branches and it will climb. Granted they are not as good at it as boa's, but they will climb.

Moving on to the present day, Royals have been exploited. It's almost like taking a colour sample to a pain shop and have them mix up a tin of paint to that same shade. Breeders are pairing 5 gene snakes together to come up with the next "must have" designer combo that the result is as far away from the classic wile colour and pattern it's almost unrecognisable as a royal. Is this a good or bad thing, well that's down to personal preferences, and the subject has been debated over and over again.

The hobby has changed of those 30 years, with less choice. These days if you want a sub 5' snake it seems that either its a corn or royal that the choice is made from. Years back there were kings, milks, multitude of rat snakes, pines, gophers, to name just a few. So I agree with Paul on that score.
 

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Today I was cleaning out my ball pythons and it got me thinking about them as a species and how they are now thought of in the hobby. To so many "collectors" they are classed as items to be traded and poked in the head until they curl up in a ball for a pic, and to so many "proper" hobbyists they are worthless beginner snakes that are not interesting in the slightest. After all, all they do is curl up in a ball and hide all day right....



My first snake 14 years ago was a corn snake closely followed by a wild type ball python. I was besotted with it. It looked like the pythons I always read about in books as a kid, awesome colours, a baby but still chunky, it looked like a truly wild beast!



In all honesty I can't see whats not to love about them. I have a female that is a whisker off 5 feet, is thicker than my arm and weighs over 3kg, if thats not an impressive snake I don't know what is. I will say its impossible to really appreciate their size in a tub or an enclosure, only when they are stretched out can you get a real feel.



As for their "terrible" feeding habits. Thats simply not true. Yes males can go off food as they start to mature but thats not a problem, as can females, it just saves you some money on rats lol. Most of them will have a fast, but in my many years of experience keeping them they always start up again and usually come back with vengeance. Take today for example. I took my first bite from an adult royal. One of my females has been an on off feeder for a few months since a move but has recently started feeding hard again. I popped my hand in to change her water and she got me. Luckily it was no where near as bad as I thought it would be. Feeding these guys is so impressive too. They have lighting fast strikes and a nice bit of weight behind it! Once the hatchlings get going they are pretty much bullet proof, at least until they hit a weight where a fast is not a problem. whats not to love!



If morphs are your thing, there isn't another animal out there that can match them on that, again whats not to love.



I just hate how much flak this incredible python gets. Its a species that is worthy of a spot in any collection (well if awesome pythons are you thing that is) I genuinely think they are the perfect pet python.



Let me know what you REALLY feel about ball pythons, not just as pets but as a species.



I will be honest, I have become complacent with them at times but the very next time I hold them I fall in love all over again.



(I'd also love to hear about the pets you love and how long you have had them and so on, just because I like to read that stuff lol)

I , as you do , think they're marvellous creatures .

Mine are kept in vivs just to enable us to appreciate their looks ... add a few branches and they'll spend the evening climbing....

It really annoys me that so many stick them in plastic tubs with a hide and a little bowl of water THEN claim they don't do anything but sleep !!! They're basically kept in the snake equivalent of a Siberian prison cell .. ( I don't even know if they exist . LoL )


Mine also eat every single time although I feed them every 10 to 14 days , not weekly .


They're fabulous to look at with all the colours and patterns and wonderful to handle or let a nervous friend hold for a few minutes...

The bottom photo shows my pair of High Contrast Albino Royals feeding at exactly the same time ..





(Problem feeders ... I think not LOL )



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Love them as per all animals. Wish all the morph breeding would quit and the bag of sh1t enclosures they are kept in.
This. You can't improve on nature, & most royal morphs (& corns for that matter) are either wishy-washy off-white, bland looking things, or look like washed out normals.
 

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This. You can't improve on nature, & most royal morphs (& corns for that matter) are either wishy-washy off-white, bland looking things, or look like washed out normals.
I kid u not when I say I look at 1000s of royal morphs at the trade shows and tbf some of them i cant see the diff between some of them bar a few grand lol

*buys 2k snake, puts in rub on shelf.. should've brought a book on royals instead! lol
 

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As regards the newish Royal morphs .... Some are amazing but I can't take to those faded ones that look as though they're in constant shed mode .... even worse are those with stunning patterns and colours but have faded heads that look like its spent hours rubbing against something .

We are all different of course and many love that trait , I've always been attracted to bright colours and white snakes so 70% of my collection are Albino / Amel ..

I think out of my current 14 snakes only the Rhino Rat snake , Mexican Black King and the Bamboo Rat snake are NOT bright coloured morphs of some kind . Even those three are marvellous colours though ..


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I love royals. I've only ever owned one, but of all the snakes I have had to re-home (my entire collection, due to marrying a snake-phobe), she's the one I regret giving up the most.

I think wild type royals are stunning beautiful and pretty mesmerising to watch. Their colours might be subtle but they are still complex, and when they are out cruising the viv of an evening I can watch them for hours.

Some morphs really catch my eye - Zincubus's high contrast albinos for example are pretty amazing looking. But I agree with what others have said - so many of the morphs are basically just slightly different shades of the same browns, khakis, creams and pale yellows that you find on any normal, I find it hard to see what there is to get excited about.

I do love a classic wild type with reduced pattern though, I think they can be pretty remarkable.

I often toy with the idea of what I will get when I finally return to snake keeping. What would I have if I could only have 1 snake? Sometimes it's a yellow rat snake (sentimental reasons - my school had one on display so it was the first type I ever saw up close, and their adult size can be pretty impressive). Usually it's a really first rate Okeetee corn snake. But I do keep coming back to royals. A fully grown mature female is a very beautiful, impressive animal.
 

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I love royals. I've only ever owned one, but of all the snakes I have had to re-home (my entire collection, due to marrying a snake-phobe), she's the one I regret giving up the most.

I think wild type royals are stunning beautiful and pretty mesmerising to watch. Their colours might be subtle but they are still complex, and when they are out cruising the viv of an evening I can watch them for hours.

Some morphs really catch my eye - Zincubus's high contrast albinos for example are pretty amazing looking. But I agree with what others have said - so many of the morphs are basically just slightly different shades of the same browns, khakis, creams and pale yellows that you find on any normal, I find it hard to see what there is to get excited about.

I do love a classic wild type with reduced pattern though, I think they can be pretty remarkable.

I often toy with the idea of what I will get when I finally return to snake keeping. What would I have if I could only have 1 snake? Sometimes it's a yellow rat snake (sentimental reasons - my school had one on display so it was the first type I ever saw up close, and their adult size can be pretty impressive). Usually it's a really first rate Okeetee corn snake. But I do keep coming back to royals. A fully grown mature female is a very beautiful, impressive animal.
If your partner is afraid of snakes how will you get back into them?

I just went out and bought mine then told her after the fact ha ha.

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As regards the newish Royal morphs .... Some are amazing but I can't take to those faded ones that look as though they're in constant shed mode .... even worse are those with stunning patterns and colours but have faded heads that look like its spent hours rubbing against something .

We are all different of course and many love that trait , I've always been attracted to bright colours and white snakes so 70% of my collection are Albino / Amel ..

I think out of my current 14 snakes only the Rhino Rat snake , Mexican Black King and the Bamboo Rat snake are NOT bright coloured morphs of some kind . Even those three are marvellous colours though ..


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Same as me that is, I had an obsession with albino boas many years ago and led to a few white boas - one of which is quite famous im told :whistling2:
 

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As regards the newish Royal morphs .... Some are amazing but I can't take to those faded ones that look as though they're in constant shed mode .... even worse are those with stunning patterns and colours but have faded heads that look like its spent hours rubbing against something .

We are all different of course and many love that trait , I've always been attracted to bright colours and white snakes so 70% of my collection are Albino / Amel ..

I think out of my current 14 snakes only the Rhino Rat snake , Mexican Black King and the Bamboo Rat snake are NOT bright coloured morphs of some kind . Even those three are marvellous colours though ..


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
What about your Cali king, or don't you have him now?
 

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If your partner is afraid of snakes how will you get back into them?

I just went out and bought mine then told her after the fact ha ha.

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We're in a central London apartment at the moment, so there would be no getting away from them for OH.

However, we're moving later this year or early next year to a house with a garden - planning on having an insulated out building where I can get back into the hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Some lovely reads here, nice to see people still have a soft spot for them and it's not all doom and gloom.

Some cracking looking snakes and what looks like some cracking looking enclosures from the small bit I could see Zincubus.

I must say I cant completely condemn the morph trend as I am involved in it a teeny weeny bit. I can condemn the reasons some do it and the way some people go about it however. There are some excellent breeders that do it for the right reasons and produce some incredible snakes.

As has been said, ultimately it is a matter of preference. I will always have a royal in my collection and I am hoping the ones I have at the moment live very long healthy lives.

cheers everyone
 

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I remember when I got my first one, she was so dainty but something clicked like most owners I’m guessing it became more than just a hobby it became a passion I love mine just as much as my family. They’ve grown a lot since, had Saharan sand boas (yes the ones that lay eggs) a corn, carpets (still second snake in mine) and Madagascan boas but still something lured me to royals, it confuses my wife how I recognise them all each one is unique like all snakes but something just draws me in. This being second and bst year of breeding first bad incubator setup and this year to watching them come out was something that sank me even deeper.
 

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Maybe I shouldn't be posting here because I actually don't own a snake yet!!! Still doing my research... But I love royals. In fact my beginners choice was corn or royal and I have settled on royals now because I love the look of chunky snakes but I don't want the length that often goes with it.
I think they're beautiful. It's fine if they're seen as worthless beginners snakes by me because I am a beginner 😃 I love MOST of the morphs, they're very pretty. And therein lies the problem with royals: As so many others have alluded to in this thread before me, the big business of breeding sick animals just to get pretty skins and cramming hundreds into racks never to see the light of day has given royals a serious image problem. To be completely honest, this was what put me off them at first and made me look at other beginners snakes despite preferring royals. Silly, maybe...sad definitely. I have been deeply upset by the treatment of these beautiful animals that I've witnessed on (other) forums and youtube. That needs to stop before it kills the hobby completely - and that is coming from an outsider looking at it objectively.
Beautiful animals tarnished by a few mega breeders who condone and push these vile practices is my opinion for what it's worth. Hasn't put me off though. I'll be a royal keeper in a few months - once I've found my perfect, ethical breeder.
 
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