Knowing how to tell a ball python’s age is one of the most crucial pieces of knowledge you have to have when you are a ball python owner. It is because their diet and the type of medical attention they need drastically changes as they get older. So, how to tell how old a ball python is?
There are several methods to knowing a ball python’s age. You can tell a ball python’s age by measuring its weight and length. You can also observe the patterns on its body to get an approximate of its age.
In this article, I am going to expand more on how you can use these physical readings to properly tell how old your ball python is. So, keep on reading till the end.
How to Tell the Age of a Ball Python?
To settle on an age range of your ball python you will have to observe the main four visible characteristics- color, length, patterns, and weight of your ball python. Let’s take a look at how you can use these to accurately determine your python’s age.
Age Based on Weight
In order to tell the age of your ball python, you’ll need to weigh him or her, as a healthy ball python’s weight is directly related to its age. Weight is said to be the key indicator of his/her age as it not only will give you a better estimation, it is also important to know when they’ll reach sexual maturity.
Here’s a table to help you determine the age of your ball python based on its weight. If a ball python is not overweight or underweight then this could be the most accurate way of determining its age.
|Ball Python’s Age||Ball Python’s Weight||Ball Python’s Age||Ball Python’s Weight|
|Hatchling to 4 weeks||45 to 105 grams||Eight months||400 to 450 grams|
|One month||60 to 105 grams||Nine months||450 to 470 grams|
|Two months||80 to 130 grams||Ten months||470 to 500 grams|
|Three months||130 to 200 grams||Eleven months||500 to 700 grams|
|Four months||200 to 270 grams||Twelve to Eighteen months||500-1000 grams|
|Five months||270 to 300 grams||Eighteen to twenty-four months||600 to 1800 grams|
|Six months||300 to 360 grams||Twenty-four months||800 to 1800 grams|
|Seven months||360 to 400 grams||30 months||1120 to 1800 grams|
You can weigh your ball python and compare the readings with this table to determine their age. But this method will help you accurately tell a ball pythons age till the age of 30 months. Because after that a ball python’s weight can vary from 1200 to 1800 grams. It can also reach up to 1800 to 2300 grams as well.
Age Based on Length
Length is considered to be one of the key meters of determining the age of ball pythons. To know your ball python’s age through this method, you’ll need to consider both the gender and length. As female ball pythons tend to be longer than male ball pythons, their age differs with length.
In the table below I’ve presented the probable age of ball pythons based on its sex and length.
|Ball Python’s Age||Length of Female Ball Python||Length of Male Ball Python|
|Hatchling||40.64 cm (10 to 16 inches)||40.64 cm (10 to 16 inches)|
|One year||0.61 m (2 feet)||0.61 m (2 feet)|
|Two years||1.22 m (2.5 to 4 feet)||1.07 m (2.5 to 3.5 feet)|
|Three years||1.83 m (4.2 to 6 feet)||1.28 m (3.5 to 4.2 feet)|
|More than three years||Gradual increase with time||Gradual increase with time|
With the help of this chart, you can easily determine your ball python’s age by measuring its length. But good luck measuring the length of a ball python. They won’t lay straight for you. And forcing them to be straight would be a bad idea as your python will get stressed and may lash at you. So, getting readings can be a tough task.
You can use a free online tool called Serpwidgets to digitally measure your ball python’s length. This is a great way to measure their length without causing them any stress. Here’s a video showing how you can use Serpwidgets to measure your ball python’s length.
Age Based on Color & Pattern
After a ball python becomes older than three years, you cannot tell his age by his weight or length anymore. You’ll then need to focus on his color and patterns to understand his age.
One of the great problems that keepers face is that they cannot tell their ball python’s exact age after 3 years because color and patterns will only give you an ideal age group but they will not provide you with the exact age. But at least this will provide you a general idea of how old your python can be.
If your ball python is three to ten years old, their colors and pattern will be bright and symmetrical. On the other hand, ball pythons of ages between ten to twenty years, won’t have patterns as symmetrical as before and will also seem a little faded. And once they cross twenty, their colors and patterns will fade even more.
So, even though you won’t be able to tell your ball python’s age accurately after he reaches three years, you will certainly be able to get a general idea by observing his color and patterns.
The Average Lifespan of Ball Pythons
Not too shockingly, ball pythons live a long life given they are provided with proper care and a healthy diet.
In captivity, the average lifespan of ball pythons is up to 30 years. But they can also survive more than that as it has been proven before with the record of a ball python being alive for 48 years.
But if we consider the ball pythons living in the wild then the average lifespan is up to 10 years. As they don’t receive the care and medical attention they get in captivity, their average lifespan is observed to fall down by 40-50%.
At What Age Do They Become Fully Grown?
The age at which ball pythons become fully grown also differs depending on their living condition.
As ball pythons in captivity get proper care and the right amount of feeding, they tend to become fully grown and sexually mature within three years. This is not the case for ball pythons living in the wild as due to lack of resources, they take extra one or two years to get fully grown.
Snakes are very adaptive to their surroundings. So, their biological clock is heavily influenced by their environment.
Weight plays a vital role to determine when a ball python will reach sexual maturity. So, the timeline of reaching sexual maturity differs from male ball python to female. A female ball python is expected to reach sexual maturity when she’s 27 to 31 months and for a male ball python, it takes 16 to 18 months.
But know that, a female ball python won’t reach sexual maturity if she is not at a weight that’s ideal for a 27 to 31 months old female ball python. This is why it is very important to weigh your female ball python and provide her with the right amount of food she requires.
Knowing the age of your ball python is crucial for any owner. If you have bought your ball python from a breeder than most likely he’ll tell you how old the python is. But if you find yourself in a situation where you might need to tell the snakes age then I’m sure this article has taught you all that you need to know.
I really hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Wishing you and your ball python a long and healthy life. Farewell.