Growing up as a child, we kept everything from dogs to ferrets as household pets. I can recall caring for our beloved pets and the occasional trip to the vet if warranted. When I first acquired a ball python many years back, I simply cared for it in the same manner as our previous pets, never keeping any detailed records of its activities. A trip to the vet’s office first revealed to me the importance of keeping records, a log, a journal, and etc. when the vet asked me when it last defecated. My mind drew a blank when the question was asked of me and from that point on, I decided to start keeping records of important events pertaining to ball pythons.
There really isn’t any set of “rules” when it comes to record keeping, it’s completely up to you what you’d like to record and keep track of but there are certain activities that you should record about your ball python when they take place. Such activities include when it last defecated, if the fecal was normal or abnormal (if abnormal, record the details), when it last fed or refused to feed along with the type of prey item that was offered, its last shed date and if it was a complete or incomplete shed, etc. and of course, the date.
You can keep records in a notebook if you’d like or 3x5 cards if you have more than one ball python. 3x5 cards placed near the cage of your ball python makes record keeping and review quick and easy. If you’re more of a technology type of person, you can use several software products created specifically for the reptile community such as Degei husbandry database, Metzcal and others. These products make it easy for you to record husbandry information directly on your computer and manage the data effectively. There are also Microsoft Excel spreadsheets available for download on the Internet that you can simply print out on paper to record husbandry information as well.
Regardless of whether you choose to use a pen and paper or keyboard and mouse to record husbandry information about your ball python, it’s a habit that I suggest developing if you’re not doing it already. They say that if you do anything for 30-days it will become a habit so just keep recording those important events and before you know it, it will become second nature for you. You’ll probably record more events than necessary when you first start out but it’s okay since you’ll more than likely optimize what you record and what you don’t record over time once you get in the swing of things.
Take your log, journal, 3x5 card or computer printout with you if you ever take your ball python to the vet. He or she will be very grateful as well because you'll have important information recorded that may assist the vet. Your vet may also be able to point out any concerns or suggestions when it comes to the husbandry and care of your ball python based on the records you’ve kept and provided. Record keeping is invaluable and your ball python will appreciate that you care enough for it to keep records of what it does.
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