Whether you’re a first-time snake owner or you’ve had one for years, it’s pretty normal to be concerned about the well-being of your reptilian friend. Similar to the vast majority of snakes, the ball python needs to be properly cared for and carefully observed in order to ensure that it remains healthy. With that said, if you notice that your slithery buddy is doing anything that seems to be out of the norm, you’re going to be concerned.
When you’re observing your snake, if you’ve noticed moisture pouring quickly or dripping slowly out of its mouth, you’re probably wondering:
“Why is my ball python drooling?”
- Drooling can be a sign of both benign and concerning issues. Often, and like other types of snakes, when ball pythons drool, it is the result of drinking excessive amounts of water. If this is the case, the drooling isn’t a cause for concern.
- Another reason that could be contributing to your scaly friend’s increased salivation levels could be the result of a respiratory infection. Ball pythons, like most living beings, are susceptible to respiratory infections, and these can be a cause for concern.
- A third reason that could result in a ball python’s drooling is a condition known as mouth rot. This condition is caused by bacterial infections that affect the mouth. These types of infections are common in snakes.
- A fourth, and perhaps the most concerning factor that could be contributing to a ball python’s drooling is pneumonia. This condition, which is also caused by a bacterial infection, is serious because if it is left untreated, it can result in death.
While most ball pythons that are bred and kept in captivity are, generally speaking, healthy, resilient, and live a long life, there are cases of instances when this species of snake can exhibit unusual behaviors, such as drooling.
Often, drooling isn’t a sign of a larger problem, as it can simply be the result of too much water consumption; however, there are times when drooling can be a symptom of a larger, more concerning underlying condition that requires prompt medical treatment.
If your ball python is drooling, keep on reading to learn more, including when you should and shouldn’t be concerned, and how to handle the problem.
Normal Ball Python Drooling
If you notice your ball python is drooling, you might automatically assume the worst. While it is certainly alarming to be concerned by the sight of drooling, often, it isn’t a major cause for concern, so try to avoid jumping to conclusions. The following is an overview of normal drooling in ball pythons.
Excessive water consumption
If your pet ball python is drooling, the first thing to consider is that it may have a slight drinking problem. If this is the case, the drooling isn’t a cause for concern.
When snakes consume too much water, they have a tendency to regurgitate, and regurgitated water resembles drooling. As such, if you spot drool coming out of your ball python’s mouth, check to make sure that it hasn’t recently ingested an excessive quantity of water.
Properly handling your snake
Check the water dish. If the level is significantly lower than it was the last time you checked it, the drooling is more than likely nothing more than regurgitation after excessive drinking.
If you intend on taking your snake out of its terrarium, always check the water dish prior to doing so. If the water level is quite low or the dish is completely empty, your reptile friend may have recently taken a drink. To be on the safe side, wait a few minutes before taking it out of the terrarium, because if it has recently taken a drink, there’s a chance that it will spit up or spit out the water, and this will resemble drooling.
Unusual Ball Python Drooling
While less common, there are times when drooling can be associated with an underlying issue, and that issue could be a cause for concern. If, for example, your ball python is drooling frequently, if water consumption doesn’t appear to be a cause for the drooling, or if your snake is exhibiting other concerning symptoms, seeking medical treatment is advised.
You might be interested in Why Is My Ball Python Blowing Bubbles In Its Water?
A common reptile disease, mouth rot can occur when a ball python is over-stressed as a result of excessive handling, poor living conditions, or other external factors that could impact its health. In addition to excessive drooling, other symptoms associated with mouth rot include:
- Reddened oral tissue
- Pus in the mouth
- Loss of appetite
Reptiles are also prone to respiratory infections, and their risk is higher than you might realize. Typically, these infections affect the areas between the nostrils and windpipe, as well as the lungs. Respiratory infections are usually marked by copious amounts of drooling, as well as:
- Foaming at the mouth
- Open-mouthed breathing
- Gaping mouth
- Labored breathing
- Lying in an unusual posture
Like all animals, reptiles are also prone to pneumonia, and it is a serious cause for concern, as it can become deadly. On top of excessive drooling, signs of pneumonia can include:
- Nasal discharge
- Breathing difficulties
- Loss of appetite
You might be interested in Can a Ball Python Eat a Cat?
What to Do When Your Ball Python is Drooling
While it’s more than likely that your ball python’s drooling isn’t serious and is simply the result of excessive drinking or regurgitated water, there is a chance that it could be associated with a more serious underlying condition that could have negative, long-lasting, and possibly deadly consequences.
If you aren’t 100 percent certain that your ball python’s drooling is attributed to water consumption, it’s best to seek medical intervention. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
If your snake is exhibiting other symptoms that are associated with infections, then you will want to seek emergency help. After performing a thorough assessment of your scaly buddy, a vet can accurately determine the cause of the drooling.
If it is found that your snake does have an infection, your vet will likely prescribe medications and will offer tips and tricks for properly handling and monitoring your ball python.