Ball Python Lifespan: How Long Do They Live?

When it comes to keeping a pet, one of the most important considerations is understanding the animal’s lifespan. For reptile enthusiasts, ball pythons are popular due to their manageable size and docile nature.

If you’re considering adding a ball python to your family, knowing how long they typically live as pets is crucial.

In this article, I’ll explore everything about ball python lifespan. Also, unlike many other pets, ball pythons require precise care. Otherwise, you may not get the desired lifespan for your pet ball python. So let’s get started!

Ball Python Lifespan

How Long Do Ball Pythons Live In The Wild?

Ball pythons can live for around 10 to 15 years in the wild. This period is scanty compared to pet ball pythons.

Ball pythons are resilient creatures. They are also known as royal pythons. When they live in their natural habitat, their lifespan significantly varies compared to pet ball pythons. I have a pet ball python at home. Its lifespan is longer than the ones that live in the wilderness.

Why is there such a difference in lifespan? It is mainly due to predation, disease, and environmental stressors ball pythons encounter daily in the wilderness. The winding life in the wild is fraught with challenges that pet ball pythons don’t face.

Wild ball pythons must constantly look for predators, from birds of prey to larger mammals. Pet ball pythons don’t have to worry about competitors or escaping danger. My pet ball python enjoys regular feedings, a secure terrarium, and luxuries that extend his life expectancy.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Female Ball Python?

Female ball pythons can enjoy a rather long life, unlike other reptiles. Female ball pythons in captivity generally outlive their wild relatives significantly. They boast a lifespan that can stretch between 20 to 30 years. Some female ball pythons even reach the age of 40 under exceptional care.

Female ball pythons are also larger than males due to sexual dimorphism. However, there are no significant differences in lifespan between the two genders.

The oldest estimated python was a female that produced eggs at 62, while the oldest reported ball python in captivity was a male.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Male Ball Python?

In captivity, male ball Pythons can live for 20 to 30 years, with some records indicating a lifespan of 48 years. In the wild, their lifespan is significantly shorter, estimated at around ten years, due to predation and environmental factors.

The adult Ball Python typically reaches a length of 1.2m (4ft), although some individuals have been recorded at 1.8m (6ft). Females tend to be slightly larger than males, with a stocky physique and a small head.

Their smooth scales and the presence of anal spurs on either side of the vent are characteristic features of the species.

It is due to the facts that I have already discussed earlier. The adversities of hunting for food, escaping predators, or enduring harsh weather conditions are some of the key reasons behind the difference in lifespan of pet ball pythons and wild ball pythons.

How Old Is The Oldest Ball Python?

It is unknown how long they survive in the wild, as their longevity is primarily recorded in captivity. Notably, the oldest ball python was 63 in 2021 and resides at a zoo in St. Louis.

Remarkably, she laid eggs at the age of 62 without encountering a male ball python for 15 years. The Philadelphia Zoo housed the oldest ball python with valid birth documents until he was 47. These long lifespans in captivity suggest that ball pythons thrive as pets or in zoos, exceeding the anticipated lifespan of 20 years.

Which Ball Pythons Live The Longest?

Ball pythons’ morph does not significantly influence their lifespan. Genetics, overall health, diet, and husbandry conditions are the key determinants of a ball python’s lifespan.

It’s important to give your ball python a suitable enclosure, humidity levels, proper temperature, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary care to ensure a long and healthy life. Different morphs may have specific care requirements or considerations, but these factors do not necessarily determine the overall lifespan of the snake.

Always research and adhere to the specific care guidelines for your chosen morph, and provide the best environment for your ball python to thrive.

Which Ball Pythons Live The Longest

Ball Python Life Cycle

Ball pythons’ life cycle consists of three stages; egg, young snake, and adult snake. Let’s take a look at more details:

Egg

Ball pythons are born from eggs laid by female snakes. A female ball python typically lays 5 to 10 eggs in a clutch. Unlike other species that lay larger eggs, ball pythons lay a smaller number of bigger and healthier eggs, resulting in larger and healthier infants.

The eggs are then incubated for 50-60 days under the care and warmth of their mother. When the time is right, the baby snakes use their distinctive teeth to carve their way out of the leathery eggshells. Ball pythons can start moving within minutes of hatching.

They feel comfortable and secure in smaller enclosures, preferring a cozy space as hatchlings. Adjusting their living environment as they grow is important, but young ball pythons thrive in smaller containers.

Young Snake

Female ball pythons reach two feet in length as juveniles, developing faster than males because they deposit eggs. Juvenile ball pythons are typically between the ages of two and six months.

As pythons develop, they may ingest larger prey, but offering food of a specified width is crucial since they swallow their meals whole. Also, juvenile pythons consuming more than 15% of their body weight per meal is not ideal. So you should weigh the food. 

Male pythons reach sexual maturity at approximately eight months while still in the juvenile stage. In contrast, female ball pythons require substantially longer, generally more than two years, to reach sexual maturity.

Adult Snakes

When a ball python reaches full size, it becomes an adult. It reaches the full size at around three. Female pythons tend to be larger than males, reaching 3-5 feet long, while males typically stop growing between 2 and 4 feet.

Female ball pythons can continue to reproduce well into their forties. Many pythons in captivity face issues with obesity, so it’s important to avoid overfeeding if you choose to keep an adult python as a pet.

Ball Python Vs. Other Python Lifespan Comparison

Let’s have a look at a comparative discussion among the lifespan of different python species around the world:

  • Burmese pythons, closely related to ball pythons, can live up to 25 years in captivity, potentially exceeding this in rare cases.
  • Green tree pythons, known for their vibrant colors and natural camouflage, have a slightly shorter lifespan of 10-15 years, whether in captivity or the wild.
  • Reticulated pythons, closely linked to ball pythons, have an average lifespan of 18-23 years in captivity.
  • Spotted pythons, the eastern children’s python, typically live in the wild for 20-30 years.
  • Corn snakes, a popular pet species due to their size and ease of care, have an average lifespan of 10 years in captivity. However, some snakes have lived for over 20 years.
  • Kingsnakes, another popular pet species, live for an average of 15-20 years in captivity, notably longer than their wild counterparts.

The following table shows the comparison between ball python and other pythons lifespan:

PythonLifespan
Ball Python20-30 years
Burmese Pythons25 years
Green Tree Python10-15 years
Reticulated Pythons18-23 years
Spotted Pythons20-30 years
Corn Snakes10 years
Kingsnakes15-20 years

What Affects Ball Python Lifespan?

Ball pythons can live for around 30 years as pets. But there is a problem many first-time pet ball python owners face; their beloved pets die within the first two years after bringing them home. It happens mainly due to inadequate habitat conditions. Adverse living conditions deteriorate the snake’s health and ultimately cause their demise.

Hatchlings and juvenile pythons can easily live in 10- to 20-gallon tanks. But as they grow up and become two years of age, they require a full-size adult tank of at least 30 gallons.

A small tank can lead to stress and stunted growth, impacting the python’s overall health. Setting up the tank to replicate ideal conditions of the wilderness, including UV light, proper heat, and humidity levels, is crucial.

Ball pythons require humid conditions and hot temperatures. Additionally, they need shady areas to retreat if needed.

Humidity levels should be about 50%. But you may need to increase the humidity to around 80% during shedding, which occurs every four to six weeks.

Conclusion

Ball python lifespan can range from anywhere between 20-30 years in captivity with proper care, diet, and environment. By understanding their needs and providing suitable habitat, pet owners can ensure a long and healthy life for their ball pythons. 

It’s important to consider the commitment to caring for these reptiles and to be prepared for their long lifespan when deciding to keep them as pets.