Can A Ball Python Hurt Your Dog?

Ball pythons are rapidly taking over the pet snake world in a storm. They are adored for their docile nature and minimal maintenance needs. Usually, ball pythons are not harmful to humans and the rest of the family, including dogs or cats. They do not physically get big enough to pose a threat to anyone or anything. These snakes get their name from their tendency to form a ball shape whenever they are uneasy or feel threatened.

Although it is very unusual for ball pythons to attack humans and other animals, they can still bite when threatened just like any other home pet. Younger ball pythons are more prone to biting than adults, although it is still highly unusual. Because they have small inward-sloped teeth, their bite may appear as several teeth marks in a curved shape.

Are ball pythons venomous?

Dealing with a snake bite can be scary and shocking. However, every snake owner should be prepared for such instances despite their rarity. Typically, ball python bites are harmless and painless. The worst that can happen after a bite is a few drops of blood, scratches, bruising, or small puncture wounds. Nevertheless, it is vital to remember that how you react can determine the severity of the bite. If you remain calm and motionless, the snake will bite and release you very quickly. This will cause some very tiny wound marks. But, if you jerk away, the wound can become lacerations. Your sudden action may also lead to the ripping out of the snake’s teeth to cause other pet problems. Your pet snake may bite you or your dog for the following reasons:

  • When the pet is young
  • When you hold it improperly or when you grab it by its tail. Always hold and support the snakes’ full body.
  • If you hold it soon after feeding and thus is still digesting its meal
  • When the snake is shedding
  • If you are carrying scents of prey in your hands

When you see that snake adopting an S-shape, it is a warning sign that it is about to strike; you should put the back to its habitat and away from your dog and rest of the family.

Although ball pythons are generally submissive and should not be a threat to you or your pets, you should not cage the pet snake with other pets because they are solitary in nature. Handling the pet snake appropriately will also reduce the chances of being bitten.

Are ball pythons aggressive to pets?

Ball pythons are typically docile pets. However, each pet snake has a unique temperament, and therefore it is possible to house a ball python that is overly aggressive compared to the norm. Their morph type or gender typically doesn’t influence their aggressiveness. Males are generally non-aggressive, but females can be aggressive when protecting their eggs. The snakes can also be aggressive during their shedding process.

The following are vital instances that may make your pet snake aggressive:

  • During feeding time– ball pythons may display aggressive before and when they are about to eat. This is because they view anyone, including dogs that come close to them as competition attempting to steal food. In such instances, the ball python may lunge at anyone close to them. To calm them lead the dog away from their space. You should also avoid handling them during feeding time.
  • Smelling something edible on the dog’s body and your fingers– if the python smells something edible on the dog or your fingers, they can turn aggressive to bite. If the dog just ate meat or played with a hamster, mouse, or any other rodent type, the snake may confuse the smell for food.
  • Females protecting their eggs– female ball pythons often show signs of aggression when protecting their eggs. You and your dog should keep clear from females who have just laid eggs. If you must get something out of the enclosure, use a pair of protective gloves. However, putting your hands or moving your dog near the snake during this time is still not a good idea because it causes them much stress that is not ideal for their health.
  • During shedding– the process of shedding is painful and irritating to your snake. They also get uncomfortable and cause pain when their bodies come in to contact with other things on the surface. Ball pythons shed their skin after every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on their age. During this time, ensure your snake is as comfortable as possible by providing them with the ideal humidity requirements. Leave the snake alone by avoiding any form of handling as the new skin is too delicate to tear easily. During this time, give the reptile plenty of time to recuperate and ensure they are well fed.

How to handle an aggressive ball python

If you misunderstand the needs, requirements, and life stages of a ball python, dealing with their aggression, whenever it occurs, can be a real nuisance. The situation is further compounded by the fact that aggression is typically not their average temperament, and thus your pet may not have naturally behaved aggressively before. If your ball python shows sudden aggression, it is likely due to the reasons we have discussed above. The listed tips will help reduce stress and improve the pet snake’s quality of life.

Proper handling

After getting a new ball python, give it time to get used to its new environment before handling it. It would help if you also allowed the pet to get used to the other pets before allowing any form of contact. Ensure you set up and optimize an appropriate enclosure that meets the pet snake’s needs and requirements. Afterward, take proper steps to handle and tame the snake correctly. Let the snake familiarize itself with your scent and that of your dog before you initiate contact. Afterward, handle the snake frequently, repeating the process at least twice a week if the snake is still new in your home. As it becomes more comfortable with you and its environment, aim to handle them more frequently. You should also avoid the following handling mistakes:

  • Handling the snake for too long
  • Squeezing the pet too tightly
  • Making sudden movements
  • Holding the pet snake soon after feeding


  • the pet snake directly to the dog when out of its cage
  • Expecting the snake to bond with you or your dog. Snakes are reptiles that have little tolerance for friendship.

Provide ideal enclosure 

A ball python is a shy snake breed that needs to hide in the foliage in their enclosures. The hides and foliage provide an ideal place for the pet to hide and regulate their body temperatures. You should give the pet freshwater and substrate every so often. This prevents scale rot and respiratory infections that trigger aggression.

Prepare an ideal handling room

Remove anything that the snake may perceive as threatening in its handling room. Snakes don’t like sudden movements or loud noises. You should, therefore, train your dog not to bark when in front of a snake. Loud noises make the snake feel defensive enough to attack.

What to do if bitten

While ball python bites are generally non-venomous, a bite may still need ideal treatment. Bites typically don’t cause any injuries but can allow bacteria. The following steps are recommended when bitten:

  • If the bite is minor, wash the wound with warm water and soap.

Rub the wound using alcohol or benzoyl peroxide. You can also use Neosporin or ideal antibacterial cream to disinfect the wound.

Wrap the bite area with a clean bandage to prevent infection.

  • If the bite is severe, seek medical attention.
  • If the ball python bites your dog, keep the pet as calm as possible, and repeat the procedure outlined above. Importantly, take your dog to a vet as soon as possible.

Do ball pythons kill?

According to, ball pythons in their natural habitats feed on rodents, lizards, and small birds. After capturing their prey using their teeth, they kill it by constriction. However, unlike what common myths peddle, constriction doesn’t mean crushing. Ball Pythons and other constricting snakes suffocate their prey by squeezing their ribs so that they can’t breathe. The squeezing or constriction overwhelms the prey’s circulatory system and cuts the brain’s blood supply to cause death. Once they are sure the prey is dead, the python opens their jaw and swallow their prey whole, head first. They then rest in a warm place for days as they wait for the digestion process to be complete. In captivity, ball pythons cannot kill and are specifically not harmful to humans.

Snakes Similar To Ball Pythons That You Should Avoid Owning

Although most pet snakes are docile pets, others can make awful captives and may not be ideal pets, especially for beginners. Some of these pets require diets that are difficult to procure, have nasty temperaments, or may grow too large to cope with. The following are some of the pet snakes to avoid:

African rock python

African rock python can reach a whopping 20 feet or more to make handling a challenge. Because they are large snakes, they require lots of foods such as chicken or rabbits. They also possess an irritable disposition, and keeping them is a scary affair.

Reticulated python

Most captive specimens of reticulated pythons grow to a length of 32 feet. These pests are feared for their lethal nature. This is, therefore, not an ideal snake to be kept by hobbyists because of the danger it poses.

Boa constrictors

Although boa constrictors generally have a benign disposition, their temperaments change suddenly to deliver serious bites. These snakes, which are natives to the South and Central America’s tropical forests, can grow to 13 feet long. In captivity, owners must provide a habitat that closely resembles their natural habitats. Snake beginners may find it challenging to provide such habitats on a large scale.

Burmese pythons

Although a Burmese python is one of the most commonly kept captive snakes, it is not ideal for beginners because it grows to 20 feet at maturity. Most owners who kept young Burmese ended up with snakes that are by far too large to keep and maintain. They are thus forced to release them to the wild.

Are there any potential health issues there might be from owning a pet snake?

All reptiles, including pet snakes, carry germs, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and worms. Many of these can find their way to your family. The most significant health risk in pet snakes is the salmonella infection. Salmonella disease is a bacterial infection that can easily spread from the pet snake to an owner if something contaminated with the snake feces is placed in the owner’s mouth.

Children, especially under five years, are more prone to the infection. They should, therefore, never come in contact with the pet snake or any other reptile. Besides, make it a habit to wash your hands with warm soapy water every time you handle your pet snake. Don’t eat or drink while handling your pet to minimize the risk of infection. Other measures to put in place include:

  • Keeping the pet snake confined into its tank or cage
  • Keeping the reptile out of the kitchen and food area
  • Washing with hot soapy water surfaces where the reptile has had contact
  • Washing the snake in its basin. Avoid sharing the sink or bath with your snake.
  • Washing clothes that have been in contact with the reptile

Do ball pythons attack humans?

Ball pythons are arguably among the most popular pet snakes. They are ideal beginner reptiles because of their docile and easy to care nature. They are shy species that will coil around its head into a ball when frightened. Will it bite you or your pet? Well, in typical situations, ball pythons cannot attack their owners or other home pets. However, if in a rare situation, you get a bite, do not panic. Their bites are neither poisonous nor venomous and will not pose a threat to your life. However, if you are concerned the bite will get infected, consult a doctor for treatment.

FAQ’s about ball python’s aggression

1. Can ball pythons kill cats?

Ball pythons generally don’t present a threat to home pets such as cats. But in rare situations, an aggressive female ball python protecting her eggs can constrict itself on the cat’s neck and suffocate it to death. A cat may also very well kill a ball python.

2. Will my ball python kill my other pet snake?

Ball pythons are not a species that cohabits. They are a solitary species that only comes into contact with another of its kind for breeding purposes. If you place your ball python with other snakes in the same enclosure, it may cause them stress, refusal to eat, and even cannibalism.

3. When to know a ball python is about to be aggressive?

Ball pythons will adopt an ideal S strike position before they strike. In this position, its body is tightly wound with the snake’s head watching you. The following are the other warning signs to watch out:

  • A snake that wants to strike will coil up first
  • The snake may flash its mouth open, and shake or rattle the body
  • Change of moods from being calm to being aggressive
  • A ball python can also be unpredictable and may strike without showing any of the signs above
  • The snake may also become excited to pant or hiss

4. Are ball pythons affectionate? 

All snakes, including ball pythons, don’t show much affection. Snakes do not develop the crucial parts of the brain responsible for emotions like affection and love. However, keeping a snake pet is still one of the most rewarding hobbies. As long as you feel a strong bond with your ball python, that is all that matters.

5. Do ball pythons have fangs?

Ball pythons, like other non-venomous snakes, don’t have fangs. However, they have over 100 inward curving teeth. Ball python bites don’t typically cause harm at all. However, the mental shock that comes with the bite is usually more harrowing than the bite’s resultant effect.

Ball pythons are generally not aggressive and will not pose a threat to you or your family. However, it is important to learn the triggers that may turn your typically content pet to attack you or your dog. Owing to their gentle temperaments and a reasonable size at full adult maturity, ball pythons, are arguably one of the best snake pets.

When planning to get a ball python, ensure you have the means and know-how to properly care for these fantastic pets. Optimize their environment and be patient before introducing your dog. Also, when handling the snake, be confident, and very calm. Ball pythons pick up on nerves, and being jumpy or nervous can make them defensive and more aggressive. With proper handling and care, you will have a content snake that is likely to show little to no signs of aggression towards you or your dog.

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