Havana has been acting lethargic for about a week, and more recently, she’s stopped waking up to roam around almost altogether. She’s definitely doing this because she’s going to shed in the next few days or weeks.
Just before she went into this state, Thomas and I tried to tidy up some of the feces in her cage while she was still in it, and she got put on edge and struck at him. He moved in time to keep her from biting him, but we figured something was up because she’s never tried to strike or bite at us before. She must have been overly anxious and not feeling quite well because she was starting her pre-shedding phase.
So two nights ago, while she was all bundled up in the middle of the enclosure, I cleaned up the remainder of the feces (these were only very small ones; we made sure to take out all the big ones very soon after we spotted them), put handfuls and handfuls of aspen bedding on one side (intending to make the warm side of her hide slightly less hot), and rearranged the enclosure so that her hide would give her maximum darkness. Since she hasn’t been sleeping in her hide for a while (even before she went into pre-shed, which she never sleeps in her hide for), I’m hoping the rearranging will make her comfortable enough to go back in once she’s shed. Either way, I went back into my office after having done the rearranging, and around 30 minutes later, Thomas calls me back in to see this:
If that isn’t proof that ball pythons like to burrow, I don’t know what is.
There’s no way that Havana could have burned herself doing this (even though the heat mat is beneath the glass on this side) because under the layer of fluffy aspen, there’s an enormous layer of incredibly flattened aspen bedding that she can’t get underneath. She flattened out that layer, and all the other aspen in her enclosure, by slithering over it so often. Usually we only replace small amounts of aspen based on how much we take out with the feces and urine. This is the first time that I placed enough aspen bedding for her to burrow under, and clever her, she figured it out pretty much immediately.
So this is the first time Thomas and I have seen her burrow, but it likely won’t be the last. I’ve heard a lot of other ball python owners say they really like doing this, but this is the first time I got to watch it happen, and it’s terribly cute. It must feel especially nice against her skin now that she’s gearing up for a shed.