Taking care of Aakash is REALLY low maintenance and easy. Unlike a cat, however, the average Joe doesn’t know the basics so I’ve gone into as much detail as I felt was necessary.
Things to do:
- Change the water daily
- Hold her at least 15 min a day. Toad usually ignores here but if he becomes interested, just keep Aakash out of Toad’s curiosity. Toad doesn’t have the instinct to hunt her but he could hurt her by curiously poking at her with his claws.
- Feed her every 10-14 days. Check Here for a thorough explanation. The basics are as follows. We keep the frozen rats in the freezer. (Just in case, we buy them from Pampered Pets in the Pyramid Mall. We buy the small rats). You’ll need to put the rat in a plastic bag tightly to keep the water out. There is a yellow cup in the office closet that we fill up with hot water from the faucet to thaw it. When the rat is thoroughly thawed, we replace the water one last time with hot water from the faucet for about 7 min. This helps the rat be warm. Use a paper towel to dry off any water that might have leaked through. Damp is fine but soaking isn’t received well. With the prongs that are found next to the yellow cup in the closet, dangle the rat near Aakash. She’s usually in her black hide-a-box so I remove the water dish and dangle it in front of the entrance. She’ll let you know when she’s sensed/smelled it. You’ll see her start coiling at the neck. 85% of the time, Aakash will successfully strike at the head, coil, wait a few minutes, then swallow. 10% of the time, she’ll get the middle or the tail end and will eventually have to let go but she’ll pick it up the right way (the head) and finish the job. It’s that 5% of time that she just won’t touch it again. I usually wait 15 min after the strike to determine if it is the 5%. If it is that 5% situation, simply place the rat back in the plastic bag, fill the yellow cup with hot water from the faucet, and try warming the rat more. If that doesn’t work, throw the rat away and try with a new one in a couple of days. DO NOT HANDLE HER 3 HOURS BEFORE FEEDING OR DIRECTLY AFTER. NEVER HANDLE HER UNTIL YOU’VE THOROUGHLY WASHED THE SCENT OF RAT FROM YOUR HANDS. The 3 hours before is so that she never confuses handling with feeding. Don’t know why. Just what I’ve read and haven’t wanted to prove it myself. Stick the prongs and the yellow cup in the dishwasher.
- You’ll always want to check the cage for droppings and promptly remove those, but every 2-4 months we like to thoroughly clean the tank. Don’t worry about this step unless you NEED it. Like a messy feeding or something. We’ve only had an emergency clean need ONCE in all the time we’ve had her. BUT, if you do need to clean her cage, than here you go. This involves removing EVERYTHING from the tank. If no one can hold Aakash while you work, stick her in an extra pillow case and set her in the guest room and shut the door to keep Toad out. All the items in the tank minus the wood can be put through the dishwasher. The wood is fine unless it got droppings on it. If that is the case, bake at 350 degrees F for 15 min. With the tank itself, you’ll need to use the vacuum to get the last of the substrate out. With a bucket of water lightly diluted with bleach, scrub the inside of the tank. Try not to let more than 1/8 an inch of water build up in the tank. It makes rinsing it out easier that way. When it is all wiped down, rinse out the bucket until you can’t smell chlorine anymore. Switch rags and fill bucket with water. Start wiping the inside of the tank trying to clean away the chlorine. This process does take a while because you’ll have to switch out the water a couple of times and maybe another rag or two. The tank is good when you can’t smell chlorine anymore. Dry it out with a towel. Fill the bottom with the cypress substrate found in the closet. DON’T USE CEDAR or ANY KIND OF CONIFER if you have to go out and get any from a pet store. We prefer cypress if they have it. Finish the tank by adding the tanks accessories that are also now clean in any way you would like. Aakash does need to have a dark place to hide on both sides of the tank, though.
Normal Aakash Behaviors
- Hiding in her hide-a-box most of the day and crawling around at night.
- She likes to explore her cage and sometimes it looks like she’s trying to get out. As an explorer type, yeah, she kind of is. But as long as the 5 bricks stay on top of the cage, she’s good.
- Refusal to eat. Snakes sometimes just don’t eat for a few months. Aakash hasn’t done that before but it wouldn’t surprise me if someday she did.
- Gray eyes and pinkish underbelly. These just mean she’s about to shed. In this case, make sure the humidity stays high in the tank. there’s a spray bottle next to her cage with faucet water you can use. You can also put one of the large dishes on the heat side filed with an inch of water and cover it with a log and use the feeder tray on the far end to make the inside dark. She’ll spend time in there if she needs more humidity.
Call me if any of these occur
- clicking or hissing noises when yawning or after eating… or anytime really. That might be an indication of a respiratory disease.
- rubbing her nose roughly against the wood or the screen.
- mites on her scales, or open sores, or anything that looks like it shouldn’t be there.
- a really bad shed. You’ll know if this were to happen. Ideally, she’ll shed all her skin in one piece. Sometimes, she’ll get it off in a few pieces, but it isn’t extreme. Call me if there are small pieces of skin all over her cage and still on herself. It’s not a life and death situation, but it does need to be addressed.
- You can transport Aakash by sticking her in a pillow case, twisting the opening up (or tying), and folding the top part under the bottom part. I’ve sometimes just stuck her in one of my extra purses and zipped it.
- A characteristic trait of a ball python is to curl up in a ball. If you have her out and several people are holding her or if she encounters a situation she doesn’t like and curls up, simply set her back in her cage and leave her alone for at least a few hours if not for the rest of the day.