Ball Python Diet, Feeding Charts, Tips & Schedule

Ball Python Diet

Ball pythons are one of the most desirable snakes to keep as pets. Since they are gentle and highly suitable to care for, they are excellent starter snakes. Ball python habitat can range from simple to sophisticated. An essential factor is that you observe a few guidelines, such as their nutritional requirements, which are distinct from those of cats and dogs, and look at your pet frequently to verify if they are in decent health.

However, as a current ball python owner, you would want to learn what to feed it, how often to serve food, and what to do if it refuses to devour. Here we will discuss the ball python diet in the wild and how it would vary when in captivity.

Like certain other reptiles such as mimic glass lizards, Ball pythons devour a variety of food sizes based on their size. Snakes that are small and immature can consume giant insects like crickets, but they must consume a small amount of food until they become mature. When they reach adulthood, mature ball pythons devour grownup mice and rats.

However, many ball python observers believe that during your ball python’s life cycle, you must only serve different life stages of rats and never provide any insects or mice.

Baby Ball Python Diet:

Younger ball pythons require a lot of vitality to support speedy physical growth. The baby ball python diet till 1 year is as follows:

Hatchling Python (Baby):

Hatchling pythons develop pretty swiftly! Inside a year, queen baby pythons may flourish up to 12 inches, while male pythons During the first 4 weeks of their development, give your ball pythons hopper rat every 5 days.

At this age, you must ensure that their feeding reflex is strong and that they bite appropriately at meals. Because of their exceptionally high energy metabolism, overfeeding newly hatched ball pythons is not a concern.

Three Months Old Pythons:

 Pythons less than a year old are known to be adopted at an incredible rate. To maintain their development, they have to consume a little mouse or wooly rat once a week to maintain their development.

You might have to frequently raise the quantity of your snake’s prey throughout this growing stage. The food should be no bigger than your snake’s body, making it easier for your python to consume and assimilate the rat.

One Year Old:

Male and female ball pythons will begin to vary in growth at this point. Females generally have more significant growth rates than men. Because of the size difference, male and female pythons may require specific feed. Males with smaller bodies can bear 1-3 mature mice, whereas females with bigger bodies can bear a rat.

You should feed your ball python according to its age.

A little 1-year-old female may still not be mature for a rat, while a particularly massive male may easily consume a rat.

Three Years Old:

A ball python’s development begins to decelerate dramatically at about three years old. It is also the time when males acquire sexual maturity.

Feedings can now be spaced out to once every 2 weeks, and the food size can be somewhat increased again. The food should be no bigger than the width of your snake at its broadest point. Bigger snakes require huge food more frequently.

Pythons at this age are usually overweight due to their owner’s continued usage of a junior feeding program (i.e. feeding every 5-7 days). Ensure that you only serve after two or three weeks.

Ball Python Food Chart

Ball Python Feeding Chart

Mature Ball Python Diet:

A ball python’s development begins to decelerate dramatically at about three years old. It’s also when males attain maturity.

The nutrition of ball pythons can now be spaced out to once in two weeks, and you can reduce the meal quantity to be somewhat increased. The meal should be around the same size as the broadest area of your snake. Greater snakes require a vast meal, although less frequently.

Pythons at this time are prone to become obese if their caretaker keeps feeding them on an adolescent diet (i.e., providing every 4-7 days). Ensure that you feed once every 2 to 3 weeks.

Diet of Ball Pythons at Their Full Maturity:

After 5 years old, both male and female ball pythons are entirely grown. They would,incredibly, keep developing slowly for the remainder of their lives.

At this age, the ball python should now be of steady weight, and you shouldn’t have to adjust its feeding regimen. Most pythons are content with one medium rat, two little rats, or maybe 3 to 5 giant adult mice every 1 to 2 months.

Diet of Breeding females:

Female ball pythons do not feed when depositing and nurturing eggs, and their energy requirements rise during ovulation. As a result, a breeding female will require a lot of food before she lays.

Feed a huge rat to a female python once a week from the time she first exhibits indications of ovulation until she lays. Keep feeding her for as long as she will eat to keep her weight stable.

This aids in the development of fat reserves during the time following laying when she defends the eggs. Before breeding, ensure a female weighs at least 1,500 grams.

Diet of Breeding Males:

Breeding male pythons require simple vitality for mating. Breeding males just require a little increase in nutrition, which will vary on how frequently they are utilized.

If a male is just bred once, he will be first-class with his regular feeding plan. If he is bred with far more than two females over days or weeks, raise his feeds to every 14 days throughout this time.

Ball Python Diet in Captivity:

Ball pythons may live their whole lives on rats or mice, but they also like exploring with several other vertebrate species in captivity, such as rodents, budgies, and different rare types like chicks and guinea pigs. Juvenile ball pythons must only be fed giant insects, wooly mice, and tiny mice.

Ball Python Diet in The Wild:

You may be imagining that the diets held in captivity and ball pythons living in the wild are very similar, but are you aware of the difference? What ball python consumes in the wild environment will vary considerably beyond what they eat in captivity, although the diets intersect slightly. Meals are served on metal plates to tamed ball pythons, whereas wild snakes struggle for their food.

Ball Python Natural Diet:

Small rodents, voles, and birds make up a ball python’s natural diet. In the wild, they consume food every week or two, but this might vary the availability of the required changes.

Salamanders, shrews, tiny birds, and other small mammals are favorites of particular wild ball pythons. It all relies on what they have access to in the locality.

Feeding Chart of Ball Python:

Ball python feeding charts will alter as they develop and get older.

Young pythons will need to feed more frequently than a senior male who grows gradually. Younger ones require a lot of energy to devote to quick physical growth. Feeding requirements vary even among fully mature pythons, relying on whether they are pregnant or preparing to breed

Particular feeding requirements differ, however, there are standards for how much the typical python needs to consume depending upon the size and maturity.

Weight of python(grams) Size to feed(grams) Common name:
hatchling-99 9-12 Hopper mice
100-199 13-20 Weanling mice
200-349 21-30 Rat pups
350-499 31-45 Rat weanling
500-799 46-79 Small rat
800-1499 80-149 Medium rat
1499-2499 150-265 Large rat
2499+ 266-360 Extra large rat

How to Give Defrosted Prey to a Ball Python?

  1. Thaw your prey/rat five hours before feeding.
  2. However, rats can be stored in the refrigerator overnight to defrost before feeding time. Avoid microwaving a frozen rat because it will warm improperly or burst.
  3. Place the frozen prey in a plastic shopping bag when it has thawed.
  4. Put the plastic bag in a bowl of warm water and let it heat up to 110°F.
  5. The rat should be dried.
  6. Grab the rat by the tail with gentle tongs and present it to your python. Tongs prevent your snake from connecting your hand with eating and provide extra space in case it fails a bite.
  7. Otherwise, you may place the heated mouse on the tank’s surface.
  8. If the food hasn’t been consumed in 12 hours, discard it.

Live Prey Feeding Instructions For a Ball Python:

  1. Choose a rat that is no bigger than your python’s widest length.
  2. Check to see whether the rat has any wounds or parasites.
  3. Hold the rat by the tail with gentle tongs.
  4. Hang down the rat in front of your python’s head by opening its cage or the lid of its eating dish. The motions of the mouse, mixed with its odor, should inspire your snake to bite.
  5. Don’t let the rat open in your snake’s habitat.

How to Detect if Your Python is Overfed?

Since ball pythons are inherently massive-bodied, determining if they are overweight can be challenging.

Overfeeding may be prevented by creating a steady meal plan and constantly evaluating your python’s body score:

When observed from the front, healthy snakes should have a firm, triangle body form. They should never have a visible spine.

Obese snakes have a spherical or somewhat flattened physique, are soft to the touch, and also have fatty folds all around the face and cloaca.

Power Feeding

Power feeding a ball python implies giving food more than once a week. Certain ball python keepers employ this unusual procedure to swiftly raise the weight of their snake.

Excessive feeding quickly causes obesity and can limit the longevity of your snake. This should never be done.

Nutrients & Vitamins

Competent ball pythons, unlike some other pet snakes, do not require supplementary multivitamins or supplements.

When high-quality rats are fed, their meal has all of the nutrition they need.

Frequent Qualms Regarding Ball Python Feeding:

Ball pythons have a high level of pickiness when it comes to food. If your python is a newcomer, remember that reptiles, particularly ball pythons, might be too agitated to consume food for weeks or months in their new place. Learning why your ball python isn’t eating will help you figure out how to get it to feed normally.

Why isn’t your Ball Python eating?

Ball pythons may create feeding issues for their keepers for a range of reasons. They may, in particular, avoid food for exceptionally long periods of time.
In rare situations, ball pythons will refuse to feed for days, months, or even years. Prolonged fasts are not only bad for your pet’s wellbeing, but they may also create a lot of aggravation and stress for the caretaker.

Why Do Ball Pythons Skip Meals?

There are some factors why ball pythons reject food, some of which are shared by most snake species and a few that are specific to ball pythons. The following are the most typical causes of food denial:
Your snake is in bad condition.
Internal parasites are wreaking havoc on your snake.
Your cage is not correctly installed.
During the winter, certain snakes do not eat much.
Ball pythons may have a preference for certain prey.

How to make your Ball python eat again?

If you’ve exhausted all other possibilities for why your ball python is not consuming, there are a few techniques you may do to persuade your ball python to feed. However, ensure you serve food to your python in a typical feeding dish (not in his usual habitat) and wrap it with a cloth, so he doesn’t become sidetracked when he’s supposed to be consuming food.
Firstly, if you just got your ball python and haven’t fed it lately, keep in mind to give the same food product that the prior owner, animal dealer, or breeders provided your python. Slight differences might hinder a snake’s desire to consume the meal in the food.
Secondly, ensure the food is heated if it has been pre-killed. If the prey was not recently slain, you might do this by submerging it in boiling water for a couple of minutes. If your python still doesn’t eat, consider cutting apart the pre-killed food to show the bleeding and tempt it with the aroma.
See an exotics veterinarian if you’ve done all of this and your ball python is still refusing to eat. Based on the age of the python, his fitness level score, and how prolonged it has been spent without feeding, your veterinarian may propose force-feeding.

How Do Ball Python Drink Water?

Ball pythons consume water in the same manner as most other reptiles. They often bend the end of their mouth to the water pan and pull water into their mouths by wiggling their bottom jaw.
Some snakes even dip their entire face in the water while at it, although this is not a cause for alarm.
Ball pythons may also sip water droplets from their skin or the surroundings. They are, though, less prone to do so than other reptiles, much like many tree-dwelling pythons.
Since many ball pythons come from dry areas, they wouldn’t have the water needs that many tropical forest pythons do.
Several pythons just drink once or twice a week. But, it is critical that your ball python always has a supply of clean, fresh water.


As an adolescent, your ball python should consume newborn mice and baby rodents, and as a grownup, elderly rats and many rodents, with the infrequent chick, pheasant, or squirrel thrown in for good measure. Ball python feeding plans should be tailored to their weight, gender, and age. No figure can tell you everything you need to know about your specific python.

Depending on your reptile’s typical size, use it as a preliminary step; Make them specific to your snake’s development pace and condition.

A ball python is a fantastic pet because of its gregarious, gentle, and low-maintenance features. These moderate snakes are so popular as pets that they’re considered one of the most delicate snakes for newbies.

Tell us something about your ball-python feeding stories in the comments section, and please share this post with your friends if you find it useful.


Are Ball Pythons Companionable?

Ball pythons are gentle snakes. However, if you carry them once a day and treat them carefully, they may be quite sociable and comfortable being touched by people. Adult ball pythons prefer winding themselves around your arm or waistline, but you may quickly detach them if necessary.

Are Ball pythons extremely dangerous?

They are generally gentle, although they may bite you for various reasons. Because ball pythons are not poisonous and lack teeth, their attacks may not be as serious as ones from other snakes.

What is the maximum size of a ball python?

With appropriate care, ball pythons can grow up to 5 feet long.

Can I give the raw chicken to my ball python?

Raw chicken flesh on its own, with no bones, innards, or roughage in the form of fur, is not a suitable long-term meal for a snake since it lacks nutrition. The majority of snake species must be given complete prey items as their main diet.

What is the easiest way to know whether my ball python is hungry?

When a snake is starving, it will roam the front of the aquarium, become more energetic, focus on you anytime you are close to the cage, flick its tongue more frequently, and seek at the same time every day or night.

What do infant ball pythons consume?

Young ball pythons may eat lizards in the wild, but the majority devour rodents. Yet, they require fewer rodents than mature ball pythons.” Hopper mice are typically perfect for babies and hatchling ball pythons don’t take long to develop big enough to manage small adult mice.

Can you give eggs to ball pythons?

Crickets and eggs are not eaten by boas and pythons. They are carnivorous creatures and should eat rodents of a suitable size for good nourishment. That is the fundamental truth of having one of these snakes.

Are ball pythons aware of their owners?

Humans are the only creatures that ball pythons can identify. They will pick up on your fragrance through time, which will educate them on what to anticipate from humans in particular. Snakes that have had unfavorable interactions with people, such as abusive owners, will be more aggressive in nature.

About The Author

Rimsha Rasheed is a Nutritionist by profession, a reptile lover and a researcher. Rimsha has joined our team as a diligent writer who reassesses all the facts through professional help to curate a perfect care guide for you and your pet.
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Rimsha Rasheed

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