KEEPING ball pythons as pets, especially for first-time snake owners, is actually easier than most people think. Very recently, I visited my high school classmate to check out his unique serpentine collection.
“It’s called a ball python (Python regius) because of its tendency to curl into a ball (especially when stressed or startled),” said Kiddo Yap, who began his ball python collection, 3K Exotics Ball Pythons, just last October 2020. 3K is derived from his name and his two kids, Kix and Kae.
From just 4 ball pythons, he now has a total of 80 ball pythons, including those he personally bred.
“I got amazed with the endless possibilities that you can produce by breeding them,” he said.
Ball pythons are perfect as pets as they don’t grow too big or too long. From snout to vent, they can only grow from 3 to 4 feet, and females can weigh 1.5 kilograms (males weigh much lighter). They also require very little maintenance as they only eat – and defecate – once a week.
“We feed them rats and mice, which we also specifically raise for their food,” Kiddo said.
He hasn’t started selling them yet though as he’s continually expanding his collection.
On the average, ball pythons produce a clutch of six eggs during breeding season. These reptiles usually lay one clutch per year, and their eggs would hatch around 60 days later.
Most ball python breeders, like Kiddo, continuously create new and unique designer morphs with altered colors and patterns. A morph is occurrence of two or more clearly different forms or markings (color patterns) when there are two or more possibilities of a trait on a gene.
To date, there are over 7,500 different morphs that currently exist, such pastel, albino, mojave, banana, lesser, axanthic, pied, desert ghost, clowns and highway.
“Their value is also determined by their morphs. Those born with new morphs are usually priced higher,” he revealed.
According to Kiddo, the price of ball pythons with normal or wild type of morph starts at Php3,000, depending on gender. Those with single genes with common morphs are priced at around PhP6,000 to Php10,000.
“There’s one breeder who was able to sell a ball python with high morph and recessive gene at Php375,000. It really varies especially with the rarity of the morph,” he added.
Kiddo also wanted to change people’s misperception on snakes, especially ball pythons.
“They are actually non-venomous constrictor – people should not kill them when they see one. Ball pythons are very docile and naturally timid,” he explained.
Ball pythons belong to the Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened species because of its wide distribution.
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