If you are new to owning a ball python then being confused about how often you should be feeding it is quite normal. At different stages of their lives ball pythons need to make drastic changes to their diet. And as a first-time owner keeping up with that could be a bit difficult. So, if you are wondering about how often to feed ball pythons then you’re in the right place.
The frequency of feeding a ball python depends upon his size and age. There isn’t any fixed answer to this question as not all snakes are the same. Depending on his age and size you might need to feed your ball python once a week or twice a week to everyday.
In this article, I have extensively discussed how often you should feed your ball python based on the python’s age and body weight.
Ball Python Feeding Schedule
It is very challenging to understand the amount and frequency of feeding your pet. But fortunately, the ball python’s feeding schedule is quite straightforward and easy. All you’ll need to know is your ball pythons age as I am going to divide the schedule depending on the three main age groups.
- Adolescent (one to three years)
- Adulthood (full-grown – four to five feet)
Among the three age groups, ball pythons that are in the baby stage are the ones that need more food as they are growing more. Therefore, it is very important to feed them according to their growth. So, every five or six days, you should be feeding baby ball python.
Now moving on to adolescent ball pythons, for their better growth it is suggested to feed them every week. Because without the right amount of food, their growth will be slow. Adolescent ball pythons in the wild can take four to five years before reaching adulthood because of not getting the right amount of food. Now for fully grown ball pythons, make sure to feed them once every two weeks.
Ball pythons feeding schedule isn’t that hard to follow due to it being uncomplicated. I suggest you follow this schedule for your ball python’s appropriate growth and to keep it healthy.
|Weight of Ball Python in gm||Feed Size in gm||Feed Type||Feed Frequency|
|Hatchling-99||9 to <13||Hopper mice||Every 5 to 7 days|
|100 to <200||13 to <21||Small rat pups or weaning mice||Every 5 to 7 days|
|200 to <350||21 to <31||Rat pups, fuzzy mice||Every 5 to 7 days|
|350 to <500||31 to <46||Weanling rat||Every 7 days|
|500 to <800||46 to <80||Small rat||Every 7 days|
|800 to <1500||80 to <150||Medium rat||Every 7 to 10 days|
|1500 to <2500||150 to <266||Large rat||Every 7 to 14 days|
|2499 to above||266 to 360||Extra-large or large rat||Every 14 days|
Ball Pythons May Avoid Eating Sometimes
One thing that you should know is that sometimes your ball python may not eat. It might keep its food untouched for various reasons. One of the main reasons behind this is its surrounding temperature.
During the winter season, you’ll notice your ball python refusing to eat, because of being too cold. This problem can be solved by supplying heat light.
Another reason behind it refusing food intake is shedding. Ball pythons avoid eating until it has completely gotten rid of its old skin. It may also stop taking its meal if it feels a difference in its prey.
The size of its prey, or smell, or whether it’s dead or alive or frozen may play an important role in stopping your ball python from eating. So, make sure to keep the differences to a minimum especially if you have a picky ball python.
The last and unfortunate reason sometimes ball pythons may not eat is because they are sick. Yes, loss of appetite is one of the most common symptoms of a sick ball python. So, if you are providing the right environment and your python is not shedding then make sure you look out for any indication of sickness if your ball python suddenly starts refusing to eat.
I recommend you go through this article of “Why Won’t Your Ball Python Eat” to learn more about it.
Basics of Feeding Ball Pythons
Some people often suggest that as ball pythons are wild creatures, the best way to provide them food is by letting them hunt live mice. But it is not the right decision because it is also important to keep in mind that they are not getting enough hunting space in their cage.
It is also a known fact that when a live mouse or rat is kept in the same cage, they might attack the ball python and bite him to his bone. So, to protect your ball python make sure you avoid feeding it live mice or rats.
There are three ways to feed your ball pythons- freshly killed, frozen & live mice. We should avoid the last option for obvious reasons mentioned before. So between the other two, the best option is frozen.
Because if you freeze the mouse as you are eliminating the possibility of it containing any parasites. It is also a cheaper option and can be stored easily by purchasing in bulk.
Now moving on to the water intake of your ball python. Make sure that your python gets enough fresh water. And also know that snakes have the habit of defecating on their water bowl. So, it is important to disinfect and clean the water bowl on a weekly basis.
An important tip regarding feeding you ball python is that make sure you are giving him enough space and time to feed and digest. Handing him during this time is not a wise choice and can be harmful.
For a more detailed feeding guide you can check out our article Ball Python Feeding Guide for an in depth understanding.
Can Ball Pythons Be Overfed?
Just like us ball pythons can also be overfed. Some ball pythons may only eat what they need while others might eat as much you feed them. So, over feeding is possible with ball pythons and it can lead to many obesity related problems.
In the wild they at least get some exercise while hunting and traversing in their natural habitat. But in captivity they don’t get to do that either. So, knowing how much to feed them is of utmost importance.
If you are worried about whether or not you are overfeeding your ball python then check his tail end. The tail should seamlessly start from the body. In case obese ball pythons, the body would be much thicker than the tail and their will be an abrupt and noticeable difference between the thickness of the tail and body.
In this article, I have provided you with miscellaneous information concerning queries like how often to feed ball pythons, what they should be eating, what are the methods regarding their food intake, etc.
I hope this article was able to provide you with all the necessary information and wish you the best of luck in managing your ball python and giving him a healthy life.