Ball Python Suddenly Aggressive

Snake lovers across the globe are encouraged to bring home the ball python as their first-time pets.

You see, these reptiles have a reputation of being shy, docile creatures that are easy to handle and train.

Yet, you cannot deny that snakes have an inherent urge to strike when they feel threatened. 

It is common to find first-time pet parents complaining that their snake has suddenly turned aggressive.

Sudden changes in behavior, especially one as serious as aggression, can mean that something is wrong.

But, that doesn’t have to mean that your snake is going through a mental breakdown; it can quite simply mean that there is something amiss within your reptile’s environment, habitat, or health.

So, without further ado, let’s look into ball pythons and what might be the reasons that your generally calm and friendly snake has become aggressive. 

Why Is My Ball Python Suddenly Being Aggressive? 4 Possible Reasons

To begin with, you have to realize that an upset snake will bear similarity to an aggressive snake.

Snakes have an instinctual urge to strike when they are not doing so well.

But, defensive displays are often labeled as aggression.

However, there can be several causes to the rapid changes in your snake’s attitude. 

Let’s look at the possible reasons your snake is being aggressive


If your ball python is more active than usual at night and seems to prowl its enclosure more in search of food, then it’s very probable that your snake is hungry.

In general, ball pythons are picky eaters, and if the meal it is being offered does not appeal to your reptilian friend’s taste, it’ll avoid it.

That means your snake needs a change in its diet.

However, there are also occasions when your snake may enjoy its meal but feel hungrier than usual, and if it isn’t getting its tummy full of food, it may try to bite your hand, thinking it’s food.

That is not aggression.

Make sure that you feed your snake the right-sized prey.

With young ball pythons, you need to feed your snake every 5-7 days.

Once your snake is 1-3 years of age, you need to feed it only once every 10-14 days.

And, for a snake older than three years, you need to feed your pet once every 2-2.5 weeks.

You must bear in mind that feeding your snake baby anything smaller than mice hooper isn’t appropriate to satiate your pet’s hunger.

Remember, a hungry snake is an angry snake. (I guess a bit like me because when I’m hungry I can get cranky! Lol!) 

New Environment

Most pets tend to feel unsettled when they’ve been placed into a new home.

Your pet snake is no different.

So, yes, ball pythons are calm and private creatures.

However, when put into a new environment, ball pythons will take their time to get adjusted to their new home and you.

You see, you should avoid handling your reptile until it starts to show signs of becoming comfortable.

In the meantime, it will help if you were to give your pet some space.

And, the best way to get your pet to know you is to spend your time in the same room as the snake enclosure.

The more your pet sees and smells you, the faster it will become okay with you.

Also, make sure you have at least two snug hides in your snake’s enclosure where it can quickly settle down and relax.

Furthermore, you need to ensure that the temperature in the habitat is appropriate.

If the enclosure is too hot or too cold, your snake will feel stressed. 

Handling Too Often Or For Too Long

Many first-time pet parents of ball pythons tend to overlook that ball pythons are private creatures.

These reptiles don’t respond well to being around people, and they tolerate handling if they trust their humans.

But, there is a fine line between friendly and over-bearing for the ball python. 

Now, we all know that snakes either retreat or attack.

Hence, if you are handling your pet constantly, prying it out of its hides, and carrying it around with you, then your ball python will eventually let you know that it isn’t comfortable.

So, don’t force your snakey baby to attack you.


Many elements can stress your snake, and most snakes under stress depict signs of aggression.

Feeding your snake live prey, handling it too much, too much noise around its enclosure, or even a change of temperature in its habitat can result in stress.

If your snake is trying to escape its enclosure, it is too active or seems listless; then it is likely that your snake is under stress.

Snakes even experience fading skin color and tend to lose their appetite when they are stressed out.

Final Words 

Snakes make fantastic pets; however, reptiles tend to show aggression when feeling threatened or uncomfortable.

Which is why, as a pet parent, you need to look out for your pet’s comfort and provide it with the extra TLC it requires to feel at home.

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