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Why Ball Python Smell Bad? Top 10 Reasons

Why Ball Python Smell Bad

Ever had a snake that smells bad? The answer may lie in their diet.

Here are the top ten reasons your ball python might be stinky and what you need to do to keep them smelling fresh.


Diet is the number one reason a snake smells terrible. The most common culprit is the high-protein liver, which can contain excess protein in the muscles of your snake’s diet and cause it to smell bad.

You should give them regular vegetables and fruits, but avoid giving your snake high-protein food like chicken or red meat. You might also want to invest in a UV light to maintain a healthy vitamin D3 level for your snake(s).


Ball pythons, in particular, are very sensitive to handling and should be handled as little and as gently as possible. They’ll also likely bite or run away if startled, so it is important not to startle them.

If they smell bad after you handle them, wash your hands with mild soap and water to remove any oils on your hands from touching them.

Your ball python might also smell bad if you try to handle it more than usual if a new pet starts not eating enough food. In this case, try feeding it more food until it’s too fat for you to pet anymore.


Ball pythons are toothless, and their tongues do not help clean their teeth. If you notice that your snake has terrible teeth, you’ll want to brush them every once in a while to help keep your snake’s mouth clean.

Likewise, if you notice your snake’s tongue is curling up into a tip or curling in the middle, this may be an indication that its teeth aren’t being cleaned properly.

Use a soft toothbrush like this one that runs around the entire mouth, and try to scrape the tongue with this poking tool or a Q-tip wrapped in gauze so that they can clean all of their teeth.


Ball pythons tend to shed their skin once or twice a year. As with teeth, the shedding process can be excruciating for your snake, especially if it is a newborn and the shed skin is very delicate.

If you notice that your snake has been shedding heavily and smells terrible, it’s probably because of this.

You can try rubbing a small amount of mineral oil on the shed skin if you want to get rid of the smell before your snake gets too used to having its skin off.


Ball pythons are relatively docile and very sensitive snakes, so if you notice that your snake is acting scared and smells terrible, it’s because they are scared.

If your snake is scared after handling it, try to pet it a little less. You can also try giving them a calming lotion like Calm Away. To calm a nervous animal, you’re not physically putting your hand on its body.

You’re giving them a soothing chemical. Do not use this on any animals that bite people. It can make them more aggressive.


Ball pythons are female snakes that lay eggs, so it is possible that your snake could smell bad if you notice a change in her behavior.

Female ball pythons often get aggressive before laying eggs and eating because they store food for their nestlings. It might be why if you notice your snake getting extraordinarily aggressive and smelling bad.

Getting sick

If your snake is experiencing any illness, this could cause a bad smell. Sick animals will often lose their appetite and have trouble digesting their food.

Pet ball pythons’ most common illnesses are internal or external parasites, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory problems, and eye infections. A vet should be able to help you out if your snake is showing any of these signs!


Most snakes prefer temperatures warmer than what we humans find comfortable. It’s essential to maintain a proper temperature for your snake because they cannot get enough heat on their own.

Pet reptiles can get upper respiratory infections from the cold and even pose a risk to the humans in the home.

If your ball python’s tank is getting too cold, try using a ceramic heat emitter or a heat lamp. Always use a thermometer to know when your tank is at a suitable temperature!

It’s too small

If you’ve got a baby ball python, keeping its tank as warm as possible is essential. Babies start with a lower body temperature than adults and need extra warmth to grow healthy and thrive.

What happens is that the baby feels very cold in the winter, so it’ll eat more and get bigger to keep warm.

If the baby is getting too big for its tank, you’ll notice that it smells terrible or grows big swiftly.

If your snake is too small for its tank, wait until it’s an adult before housing it in any new enclosure because it can often grow too fast for its current tanks.

It’s too big

Ball pythons are heavy snakes and will often lie around in winter or get somewhat overweight.

These snakes can quickly become obese from the extra weight, so it’s essential to ensure they’re not over-eating.

If your snake is too giant for its current enclosure, you’ll want to increase the size of your tank every few months or so to keep your snake as healthy as possible but keep in mind that ball pythons are heavy snakes and will be more difficult to move if they aren’t lighter.

In addition, it could be a sign that your snake is getting too fat. Ball pythons are more prone to laying eggs when they are too fat, so if you notice that your snake is too big, try reducing the amount of food it eats.

A foul smell in a ball python can be benign and easy to solve or a sign of an illness. If you think your ball python is sick, take your snake to the vet as soon as possible.

Brown snakes will not usually exhibit any of these signs. Besides that, the best way to keep a ball python healthy is by keeping its environment clean and monitoring its temperature.