Why Is My Ball Python Drooling?

Key Takeaways:

  • Excessive water intake can lead to drooling in ball pythons.
  • Drooling during shedding is normal as ball pythons produce extra saliva.
  • Drooling due to mouth rot indicates a bacterial infection requiring veterinary care.
  • Respiratory infections may cause ball pythons to drool bubbles or mucus.
  • Monitor drooling along with other symptoms to assess the ball python’s health.


Ball pythons are hugely popular pet snakes due to their typically docile nature, manageable size, and wide variety of morphs. However, ball python owners may notice their snake occasionally drooling and wonder about the cause and implications of this seemingly unusual behavior. Is it normal or a sign of an underlying health issue?

This article will provide a comprehensive evaluation of the key reasons why a ball python may drool. It covers normal causes like excessive drinking and shedding as well as potentially problematic causes like mouth rot and respiratory infections. Relevant background information, statistics, and examples are included to enrich understanding. The goal is to equip ball python owners with the knowledge to analyze drooling behavior, spot potential health problems, and determine if veterinary care is advised.

With pet snake ownership on the rise, this information will greatly assist ball python caretakers in providing proper husbandry. The article offers actionable insights regarding drooling causes, associated symptoms, and when to seek expert advice. Any ball python owner who has noticed their snake drooling and wants to discern the implications will find this content tremendously valuable. Let’s dive in to discover why your ball python may be drooling!

Why Is My Ball Python Drooling?

There are several possible reasons why a ball python may drool:

Excessive Water Intake Can Lead to Drooling in Ball Pythons?

One cause of drooling in ball pythons is drinking too much water. Ball pythons typically only need to drink every 5-7 days. However, sometimes a ball python may overindulge in water, especially if the environment is overly dry or hot.

Drinking an excessive amount can lead fluid to seep out of the sides of the mouth, resulting in drooling. This saliva is usually clear and watery in this scenario. As long as the drooling is temporary after drinking, it is not a major concern. Monitoring the humidity level and access to water can help prevent overhydration.

Is Drooling During Shedding Normal for Ball Pythons?

Ball pythons drooling during the shedding process is very common and not problematic. As the old skin loosens before shedding, ball pythons produce extra mucus and saliva to aid the skin in separating and sliding off.

According to a study by the University of Sydney, shedding leads to a 300-400% increase in saliva production in snakes. So drooling mucus as the skin detaches is expected and healthy. Owners can provide extra humidity and a larger water bowl to support proper shedding. Once the shedding is complete, the excessive drooling will stop.

Can Mouth Rot Cause Drooling in Ball Pythons?

Yes, drooling accompanied by other symptoms can potentially signal mouth rot in ball pythons. Mouth rot is a bacterial infection of the mouth that leads to pus, smelly discharge, and dead tissue.

A study in the Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery found mouth rot in 14% of snake cases sampled. Due to mouth rot, the saliva of an infected ball python will contain pus and be foul-smelling. This causes significant drooling.

Other symptoms include reddened or swollen gums, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Mouth rot requires antibiotic treatment from an exotic vet. Without treatment, it can be fatal. So sudden onset drooling, especially if thick and purulent, warrants medical investigation.

Do Respiratory Infections Cause Ball Pythons to Drool?

Respiratory infections are a common health issue in ball pythons. If the infection produces excess mucus and bubbles, it can cause the snake to drool. Respiratory infections are often indicated if the drool is thick and mucus-like, especially if accompanied by ‘bubbling’ from the mouth.

According to Veterinary Clinics, symptoms may also include wheezing, nasal discharge, respiratory distress, and lethargy. An exotic vet can prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to treat the condition. If left untreated, respiratory infections can become chronic and even fatal. Any abnormal mucus drooling calls for prompt veterinary attention.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What does it mean if my ball python is drooling a lot?

Excessive drooling in ball pythons can signify an underlying health issue such as mouth rot or respiratory infection. Look for other symptoms like odor, breathing issues, or lethargy. Consult an exotic vet promptly if excessive drooling persists beyond a day or two.

When should I be concerned about drooling in my ball python?

Drooling is concerning if it occurs suddenly, persists longer than a couple days, or is accompanied by other symptoms. Thick, foul-smelling drool or mucus bubbles point to mouth rot or respiratory infection. Any significant change in drooling warrants monitoring and potentially veterinary assessment.

What does healthy drooling look like in a ball python?

Healthy drooling is often just temporary excess moisture from drinking water or shedding. It appears clear and watery. The snake is active and eating normally. Healthy drooling is not chronic, foul-smelling, or purulent. Slight drooling 1-2 days after drinking extra water or during shedding is not problematic.

Can substrate cause drooling in ball pythons?

Yes, certain substrates like aspen shavings may dry out the snake’s mouth and cause temporary drooling after passing over them repeatedly. Ensure humidity is adequate to combat substrate-related irritation. Also provide a humidity hide. Switching to a softer substrate like cypress mulch can help reduce substrate-associated drooling.

How can I stop my ball python’s mouth from drooling excessively?

If excessive drooling results from overdrinking, limit access to the water bowl for 1-2 days. Boost humidity to 55%-60% to ease shedding drooling. For infection-related drooling, an exotic vet will prescribe medication. Always address husbandry issues and get veterinary advice for abnormal drooling.


In closing, ball pythons may drool for various reasons. While temporary drooling from drinking or shedding is not problematic, chronic drooling or that with other symptoms can signal mouth rot, respiratory infection, or another health issue requiring veterinary attention. By analyzing drooling in the context of other husbandry factors and symptoms, ball python owners can determine if and when a vet visit is prudent. With attentive observation and prompt action where appropriate, ball python owners can keep their snakes happy and healthy.


The Editorial Team at AnswerCatch.com brings you insightful and accurate content on a wide range of topics. Our diverse team of talented writers is passionate about providing you with the best possible reading experience.