Your Top Ball Python Questions, Answered.
Ball Pythons are some of the most popular snakes to own as a pet. That said, there are so many great questions first time Ball Python owners ask! If you are looking to take home a Ball Python or brush up on some knowledge of these slithery reptiles, here are some of the most common questions about Ball Pythons, answered. Check out our complete care guide on Ball Pythons here.
How Big Do Ball Pythons Get?
Ball Pythons reach an average of 3’ - 5’ in length and 3-5 lbs., with females growing considerably larger than males. They have a short and stocky body, and typically reach adult size between 3-5 years of age, depending on how frequently they are fed. Snakes will continue to grow throughout their entire lives, but do the majority of their growing in their first few years of life.
What Do Ball Pythons Eat?
Ball Pythons are carnivores and eat whole prey. The most common prey for Ball Pythons is mice and rats, but you can offer a variety of whole prey so your snake can thrive.
How Often To Feed A Ball Python?
The frequency of feeding your Ball Python will depend on their size, age, and body condition. As a rough guide:
- Juveniles <200g: every 7 days
- Juveniles 200-300g: every 7-10 days
- Juveniles 350-500g: every 10-14 days
- Subadults & Adults 500-1500g: every 2-3 weeks
- Adults >1500g: every 4-6 weeks
To learn more about feeding Ball Pythons, check out our Complete Ball Python Feeding article.
How Long Can A Ball Python Go Without Eating?
Ball Pythons are notorious for skipping meals and going off of food for sometimes extended periods of time. It is natural for Ball Pythons to go off of food in the cool season, and around breeding time. A Ball Python skipping a few meals is not a reason to panic as long as they have not lost a considerable amount of weight (more than 10% of their total body weight) or showing other signs of illness. If your snake is showing other symptoms of illness or is losing substantial weight, you should reach out to your exotic veterinarian.
Check out our article about how to spot illness in pet snakes: Your Healthy Snake.
Are Ball Pythons Venomous / Poisonous?
Ball Pythons are not venomous or poisonous. Venomous means you are injured if you are bitten by the animal, and poisonous means you are injured if YOU bite the animal. There are very few poisonous snakes, but over 600 species of venomous snakes. Of the 600+ venomous snakes, only 200 of them are medically significant enough to kill a healthy human. A bite from a Ball Python is harmless and it is not necessary to seek medical attention if you are bitten.
How Often Do Ball Pythons Shed?
Ball Pythons shed every 4-6 weeks on average. Young Ball Pythons may shed more often, and adult Ball Pythons will shed less often. It is important that your humidity levels are correct during the shedding period so your snake can shed their skin easily in one piece. The shedding process typically takes between 1-2 weeks from start to finish.
During this time your snake may refuse food, become more defensive, seem duller in color, and their eyes may become a cloudy blue color. Their eyes may clear up a few days before their skin actually comes off, so do not be alarmed if you do not see shed skin in their enclosure but they seem like they have already shed.
Do Ball Pythons Need UVB Light?
Ball Pythons do not require UVB to survive, however, wild Ball Pythons would be able to choose whether to come out and bask or cryptic bask - expose a small part of their body to the sunlight in order to absorb light and benefit from the sun’s rays. Not only does UVB light aid in synthesizing vitamin D3 for reptiles, it also allows them to have a more natural environment, since reptiles can see UV rays.
To learn more about offering UVB to your Ball Python, read our Complete Ball Python Heating and Lighting Guide here.
How Long Do Ball Pythons Live?
Ball Pythons can live up to 30 years in captivity! In the wild, Ball Pythons have a much shorter lifespan of 10-15 years. Providing your snake with a suitable habitat, adequate diet, exercise and enrichment, and access to an experienced exotic veterinarian can help ensure your snake lives a long, healthy life.
If you’d like to know more about how to encourage exercise and offer your snake enrichment, check out our article about Providing Snakes Enrichment.
What Size Enclosure For A Ball Python?
Ball Pythons should have a minimum of 4x2x2 (120 gal) enclosure. Since this species requires higher humidity, a PVC enclosure is recommended. We suggest the Zen Habitats 4x2x2 PVC Enclosure as a suitable habitat for your Ball Python. When they grow, you could use a length extension kit to make a lengthier, 8x2x2 enclosure. You can even upgrade your Ball Python to a larger enclosure, such as a 4x2x4 PVC Reptile Enclosure!
To learn more about Ball Pythons and their care, check out our Ball Python Ultimate Zen Guide! A comprehensive, over 90-page guide, all about ball pythons!