When people are first getting used to having a ball python, they may notice that their snake spends time rubbing its face on them, the glass of the enclosure, or other surfaces. Why does this happen?
This is a good question to ask, and to answer it, I did some research, asked a few experts, and asked my friends about ball pythons, and here is what I’ve found.
So, why does my ball python rub his face on me? Your Ball Python could be rubbing his face on you to get rid of something that’s stuck on them after eating, mites, or stuck shed, or it could rub its face on you to get your attention, explore you, or as a sign of respiratory infection.
In this article, I’m going to explore each of these causes to help you identify which one it is in your case and what you should do if there is anything that needs to be done, so keep reading…
Why Does your ball python rub their face on you (or the glass)?
Okay, first things first, we need to make something clear; when your dog or cat rubs their face on you, it’s very likely to be a sign of affection, but when a snake does it, it’s very unlikely that it is.
Snakes don’t show affection in the same way other pets do, and your ball python rubbing his face on you is probably not a sign of affection. It’s so unlikely that I’m not even going to include it as one of the reasons below.
Now, let’s discuss the possible reasons your snake is rubbing its face on you;
If your ball python rubs its face on you a lot, it could be seeking attention. Ball pythons are not as interactive as some other pet snakes, so they may use this behavior to get your attention. If your snake is doing this often and you want him to stop, try ignoring him when he does it and see if it helps.
Trying to explore you or something on your face
: Your ball python may do this if they are trying to figure out who you are, what you are, why you’re there, and maybe even where he is. Ball pythons have poor eyesight which means that when it’s close enough for them to rub their face on you, they’ll do it. If your snake is doing this often and you want him to stop, try moving away before he gets close enough for them to start head rubbing.
Mites or stuck shed
This is the most likely reason that a ball python would be rubbing its face on you; stuck shed or mites.
After a ball python eats, they will rub their face on surfaces to help get rid of any leftover items from the meal down in between its scales and skin so that it can be cleaned away during pre-shed.
Once this is done, your ball python’s skin will tighten up around his body (the opposite of when it’s in shed) and your snake will begin to rub its face on things like you or the glass enclosure to loosen the skin up so that it can be shed properly.
Signs of Mites on snakes:
You should probably know the signs of mites on snakes to identify them and take care of the snake once you do;
- Losing of apetite
- Rubbing their face on surfaces
- Ash dust on scales
- Black dots on eyes, ears, shredded skin, and you will notice them on your hands after handling the snake.
- Prolonged soaking
Mites can be caused by a variety of factors, including uncleanliness, infestation from another python, and gathering your python from the wild.
If you have more than one python, keep the enclosure clean and disinfect it on a regular basis. To minimize the risk of mites spreading among your pythons if you have multiple, quarantine new pets before bringing them into their enclosures.
If your ball python is rubbing its face on you and it’s also wheezing, has discharge from the nose or eyes, or looks lethargic, then it may have a respiratory infection.
Respiratory infections in snakes can be caused by a number of things, such as poor husbandry practices, stress from being handled, and improper temperatures.
If you think your ball python may have a respiratory infection, take it to the vet as soon as possible for treatment. Treatment will likely include antibiotics, fluids, and supportive care.
As mentioned earlier, the most likely reason your ball python is rubbing its face on you is because it’s stuck in a shed cycle and needs help to get the skin off.
If you think this may be the case, offer your snake a bath. Fill up a container with lukewarm water (not too hot or cold) and place your snake in it. Gently rub the skin on the snake’s body to help loosen it up. Do not use soap or any other cleaners, as this can be harmful to your snake. Once the skin is loosened, it should come off relatively easily.
If your ball python still isn’t able to shed properly after a few baths, you may need to assist it. Take your snake back to the vet for a mild sedative and some help removing the skin from its body.
As mentioned earlier, ball pythons have poor eyesight and so when they get close enough to you, they’ll rub their face on you.
This is just one way that your snake is trying to explore you and figure out what you are.
If your snake is doing this often and it’s getting to be a bit of a nuisance, try moving away before he gets close enough for them to start head rubbing.
The Eye Caps are stuck
Another reason your ball python may be rubbing its face on you is because the eye caps are stuck. This happens when the snake’s eyes dry out and the caps become glued to the eyeball.
If this is the case, you can try flushing your snake’s eyes with a saline solution (made by mixing salt and water), or you can take your snake to the vet if you are not confident enough to can do this properly, and it’s very important that you know exactly what you are doing because doing it wrong can result in your snake losing its vision.
If you notice any of these signs, be sure to contact your veterinarian right away so that they can check out what’s going on with your ball python and give them some treatment if need be.
So, why do ball pythons rub their faces on you? Why are they rubbing their face on the glass or other surfaces in your home? For most cases it is because of something that’s stuck on them and they are simply trying to lose it. That being said, if you notice any signs of mites or a respiratory infection, please take them to the vet right away.
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