I mean, this is the worst, right? You have an amazing pet and you are so happy about it, but then it shows an uncommon behavior and you just don´t know if that is okay or if you should be worried. Paranoia kicks in and now you are worried about everything.
Trust me, I know that too well. Happened to me a hundreds times when I was a beginner when it comes to reptiles and it also happened to me often when I bought a new reptile.
When you see a ball python yawning, most probably it is a normal behavior, however it could be a sign of disease as well. So here is why ball pythons yawn, what it means and when you should be worried about it.
The Number One Reason Why Ball Pythons Yawn
This is what every ball python owner will tell you first. Yawning is a normal behavior in ball pythons. Most of the time they do this after they ate. As you know, ball pythons can swallow huge meals without a problem. Most people think that they detach their jaws, but that isn´t the case.
In fact each side of the lower jaw can move independently and that´s why snakes can open their mouth so wide. What has that to do with the yawning though?
After your ball python swallowed a rat or something like that, it has to get the jaw back into a “comfortable” position. Sometimes it does not really fit and that´s why they open their mouth to position the jaws correctly.
So snakes do not yawn like we humans do, because we are tired or bored.
When Should You Be Worried?
You should definitely be worried if your ball python is yawning all the time. While it is normal that they yawn from time to time even if they did not eat, it shouldn´t be all the time.
Sometimes you can even see your ball python opening it´s mouth all the time or you might even hear your ball python sneeze. I know it sounds crazy and somehow cute, but ball python really can sneeze. If you something clicking in your reptile room, it could be your ball python sneezing.
We all know that ball pythons can be picky when it comes to food, but if your ball python does not eat anymore and is yawning a lot, this could be a bad sign.
What Could That Be?
That could be a respiratory infection or a lung inflammation, for example. You might be able to see something like a slime in your ball python´s mouth when it is yawning. It is definitely time to take your ball python to a vet now.
How Could That Happen?
Stuff like this most of the time happens if the temperature inside the snake´s enclosure is not right or if you have too high humidity in the ball python´s enclosure. If you need help to get the right temperature in your ball python tank, read my heating guide!
I know that many people think that ball python´s need a very high humidity. However the truth is that ball pythons do not come from a tropical area. They live in a rather dry area, so you should not have a too high humidity. If you need help to get the humidity in your ball python tank right, read my humidity guide.
Is There A Way To Help Your Ball Python Without Visiting A Vet?
I know that a lot of reptile keepers do not have a reptile vet near them. I also know that reptile vet bills can be pretty high. However there is absolutely no way if you are not a very experienced reptile keeper. You definitely should take your ball python to a vet.
As you see, yawning is absolutely normal for ball pythons and you should not be worried as long as you do not see the other signs that could show that your ball python might be sick.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to help you out.