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The discussion about the size of the ball python has been common among the majority, and there are many unanswered questions about it. This does not come as a surprise since they are commonly known for being among the biggest snake pets around. The ball python is among the best pet snakes one can own since they are known to be very friendly and have a docile nature. They love being handled no matter the size, even the adults, and this is an addition to their charm.

Despite being the biggest snake pets, they are the smallest among breeds of Python in Africa. They are small moving and have a stocky body shape. Unlike the rest of the snake types, the ball pythons have a huge difference between males and females. Both the male and females are hatched with the same size, but the females grow up to 1.5 times faster than the males. This means an adult female can be twice as big as a male.

It is important to know how big they get since the size is very important in their popularity since it makes them more manageable for the keepers. Therefore, if you are considering keeping this snake species in your home, this guide will be very helpful in making the decision.

To answer the question. Ball pythons normally grow to a length of between 2 to 5 feet, with the females being a bit longer compared to the males. The captivated be; pythons should attain their full size by the time they reach three years of age, and this is a bit faster than the wild ones, which takes around five years. As they grow towards maturity, they get quite big, and you should be fully prepared before bringing one at home.

Most people, whenever they hear about the word python, whatever comes into their mind is a massive snake with an aggressive nature, but this is not the case with the ball python. This species is usually calm and relaxed, and this endears them among the keepers.


The ball python eggs take around 55 to 65 days to hatch when they are laid. The hatchlings tear open the shell with their egg teeth and slither out into the wide new world. In the wild, they will move out and look for anything they can eat. The hatchlings ball pythons spend most of their time squeezed in a tight space which protects them from their many natural predators. Most of the keepers of this species will not see them until they have eaten at least four times and shed cleanly twice. These species, just like the other babies, usually eat frequently. Mostly they are fed on rats and mice after every 4 to 5 days.

The male and female hatchling ball python look the same. In order to sex them, the breeders usually Pop them by placing the pressure above and below the spasm’s cloaca. This pressure causes the male dual penises to pop out. The hatchlings have a high-rate of growth, and within four months, most of the hatchlings have doubled or even tripled their weight. It is during this time that the owner knows that their hatchling is healthy, eating, and ready to go to the market.

At this point, the average size of the hatchling ball python is between 6 to 103 grams.


The average length of a juvenile ball python should be between 16 to 24 inches. The average weight should be between 80 to 300 grams. Most breeders usually sell their ball pythons at this stage. During this stage, the growth rate of this species is usually rapid. The juvenile ball python can gain weight of between 50 to 100 grams in a month. This rate of growth will continue until when this python is at least one year old and when it is weighing anywhere between 500 to 1000 grams.

As a keeper of the ball python, as long as the fish is gaining weight rather than losing, it means that you are on the right track. By the time the ball python attains the age of one year, it will probably measure between 16 to 24 inches.


A sub-adult ball python measures between 2.5 to 5.5 feet in length and gain an additional 300 to 500 grams every year. The ball python is considered sub-adult when they are between 1 to 3 years of age. At this point in time, they have gained a significant size, but they are still in the process of growth, and the rate of growth is still fast. Most of the sub-adult ball pythons usually attain the adult length before they reach the adult weight.


 The average length of an adult ball python is between 3 to 5 feet, with an average weight of between 1200 to 2500 grams. Most of these species usually attain their adult size after attaining the age of 3 years, and thereafter they will be considered adults. However, not every ball python will reach this stage in 3 years; for instance, those that are fed and grown on a slow schedule will take 4 to 5 years.

 After attaining the adult size in terms of length and weight, they will still continue to grow, but the rate of growth will be so minor that you will not even notice. At this stage, the female can grow up to 33 per cent larger than the males.


Both the male and female ball pythons have different growth rates ad are usually of different sizes and weights by the time they reach maturity. Even at this point, the male seems to have stopped growing while the females keep growing for around a year. This is known as sexual dimorphism.

An adult male ball python can have an average weight of 2.65 pounds by the time they are three years, while the female tends to be a bit heavier with an average weight of up to 6.6 pounds. Below is a chart that gives the average weight of both the male and female ball python at different stages of growth.

Hatching1.76 to 2.83 Oz1.76 to 2.83 Oz.
Six months9,7 to 12.7 Oz.10.6 to 12.7 Oz.
Nine months14.1 to 15.9 Oz.15.9 to 16.6 Oz.
One year1.1 to 1.76 lbs.1.43 to 1.76 lbs
1.5 years1.32 to 1.98 lbs.2.2 to 3.1 lbs.
Two years1.76 to 2.42 lbs.2.65 to 4 lbs.
Three years1.98 to 2.65 lbs.2.65 to 4.4 lbs.
Four years1.98 to 2.65 lbs.4.4 to 6.6 lbs.



The ball python’s size is greatly determined by the type of food you are feeding this snake. For instance, if you feed this species with a diet that is rich in more nutrients such as meat, this will significantly increase the size of the python. If you feed them a diet full of insects and other smaller animals with fewer nutrients, the ball python will be less in terms of size.

 In the wild, the male ball pythons spend most of their time on trees, and this means that their main diet consists of birds, while on the other hand, the female ball pythons spend most of their time on the ground and they mainly feed on ground preys such as rodents’ mammals, lizards and other snakes that they can be able to overpower. The size of the snake can be used to determine the type of food that the snake eats.

 It is not in every case that the food that the ball snake feeds on determines the size. There are other factors such as environmental conditions, hormones, and genetics. For instance, if a female ball python Consumnes too much food during pregnancy, its offspring may be too small when they are born. Also, some snakes have been known to eat too much food until they become obese, which brings about other health problems such as diabetes and heart diseases.

Just like the rest of the reptiles, genetics also play a major role in determining the size of the ball python. For instance, if a larger snake mates with another larger snake, there is a high likelihood that they will give birth to a large offspring, and if they are all small, the offspring is most likely to be small also. Most of the keepers who are concerned about the size of the pet they are getting will ask the breeder to let them see the parent in order to have a clue of the size of the adult snake they are expecting to have.

The size of ball pythons can also be determined by the environment they are living in or the size of the enclosure. For instance, a snake that is kept in a small enclosure will experience some difficulties in feeding well, stretching out and will also have some challenges in shedding its skin which will end up affecting its general growth. On the other hand, the wild ball pythons that are living in a spacious environment will not encounter such challenges and are likely to grow bigger.


It is important to monitor the growth rate of your ball python since this is what you will use to determine whether your snake is maintaining a healthy size and weight. The rate of growth is calculated by measuring the total size gained within a year. The natural growth rate is different in males from females. The females have a higher rate of growth compared to the males, with a rate that is 1.5 times that of males. The average rate of growth for a female is nearly one foot in a year during the first four years. After then, the rate of growth slows down until it stops growing more at an average age of five years.

 On the other hand, the males have a growth area of 8 inches per year, and this goes on until they attain maturity at the age of three years. Research has also found that the females have a higher postnatal growth rate which indicates that they grow faster than the males during the first three months after hatching. As they age, this becomes clearer.


As mentioned earlier, the type of food you give to your ball python greatly determines the size of the ball python. It is therefore important to discuss the type of food you are supposed to feed your ball python to get the optimal results and size. As a keeper, if you do not provide sufficient food that is nutritious enough or you feed them with the wrong type of food, then you should expect your ball python to have a slow rate of growth. They will not be able to grow to their normal size.

 The first thing you need to have in mind before planning the type of meals you are going to give your snake is that this species is a carnivore in nature. This means that the diet should consist of fresh only. You should be able to provide the same diet that they feed on in the wild, and they will thrive in captivity.

The most common food for the ball pythons is the chicks, gerbils’ rats, and mice. Also, note that there are some foods that are supposed to be fed to the snake at a particular stage of growth. For instance, feeding your hatchlings larger prey will be too challenging when trying to swallow and digest it. This, therefore, meant that if you have a younger ball python that is small in size, ensure that you feed them with small mice, but if you have an adult one, you are free to feed her with a variety of sizes.

You should, however, ensure that the type of food you are providing aligns with their carnivorous feeding patterns. Providing the species with plant matter and even insects can be dangerous o the general health of the snake. You need to feed them to other animals so that they can be able to derive the enough needed nutrients and energy. Also, it is important to be careful and watchful of where you are getting your ball python food from. The best and most advisable place is the local pet stores or specialist sellers of dead mice.

Other than buying, you can also opt to breed your own mice and feed them to the python, but this will come with some challenges. You should never provide your ball python with the wild-caught mice since they come with a number of diseases and parasites that might be harmful to your pet in the long run. It is advisable to feed your python with dead mice, and whenever you go to the stores, ensure that you ask for dead ones.

You can also feed the live ones, but the only problem is that they will try to fight for their lives as the ball snake tries to eat them. This leaves the python with some scratches and bites that turn out to be open would and, in the long run, risks infection. Also, you need to be careful with the young ball pythons since they experience some difficulty when learning how to eat dead prey. You can try to encourage your python into eating the dead mice by maybe shaking the pre dead Infront of them, and this will convince them that the mouse is live. Your shuls do this as many times as possible until the snake becomes used to eating dead prey.

It is also important to know the right time to feed your ball pythons. Ideally, you should feed your pythons in the evening since this is the time when they seek their prey. You should also understand that the younger the ball python is, the more often they eat. For instance, a juvenile ball python will eat once or twice a week. Once the species has completed taking their mean, the digestion process begins, and this takes up to five days. Also, ensure that your python has a warm and dark hiding spot in its habitat so that it can digest its prey comfortably.

Ball Pythons Feeding Chart

Age & Weight SizeRegularity of Serving
1st Meals (3-5)Hopper Mouse /Pinky RatAfter 5-7 Days
200-350 gramsAdult Mouse/Young RatEvery 7-10 Days
350-500 gramesLarge Mouse/Weaned RatEvery 10-14 Days
500-1500 grams3x Adult Mice/Young RatEvery 14-21 Days
> 1500g2x Small Rat/1x Medium RatEvery 28-56 Days


It is common to find some keepers complaining about their pets not growing or gaining weight, and there are a number of potential reasons behind this problem. They include;


There is a high likelihood that your pet is not growing because they are not eating enough or the type of food, they are eating does not provide the required nutrition. If you find yourself in this situation, ensure that you increase the amount of food you are feeding to your ball python. Also, make sure that the food you are feeding to your python is of high nutritional value and that the type of enclosure they are living in is spacious, clean, and well ventilated. A pet ball python that is healthy should only eat 2 per cent of its weight each day, but they need to feed once a week and once a month, depending on their size.

 If you notice that your ball python is not interested in feeding enough food, you should consult a good vet so that they can get some supplements. Also, it is important to note that the ball pythons are interesting pests, and once they get used to a certain diet, it becomes very hard to change to another one. Therefore, if you notice the python has suddenly stopped eating after a change in diet, it might be having some difficulty adapting to the new food type.


Your ball python may be losing some weight or not growing due to some underlying condition. Some of the diseases include infectious stomatitis, also known as mouth rot, blood poisoning, also known as septicemia, respiratory disease, and inclusion body disease, among others. These diseases are common among snakes, and they can be severe and are mainly caused by bacterial infections. Sometimes the ball pythons may have some thermal burns caused by the heat source inside the enclosure.  

Some other times the ball python might be having some skin shedding issues, and this can cause the pet to lose appetite and eventually stop growing. This problem is mainly caused by an imperfect ambient temperature, body temperature, or the quality of air. Also, you might find out that the snake has been bitten by the live prey leading to an infection that may affect appetite.


Snake winter Anorexia known as winter fasting, is another factor that might be causing stunted growth to your ball python. During the winter season, it is very normal for some pythons to stop eating. Despite the fact that the temperatures inside the enclosure might not change like those in the wild the natural behavior if your snake might be triggered by reduced day hours.

 This is part of the snake’s genetics that is inherited from the wild. During the winter and generally cold season, the movements are strictly limited, and the possibility of catching prey is reduced. Instead of spending so much energy as they try to hunt and catch prey which might be in vain, the wild pythons generally opt to save the energy and have the winter fasting with restricted movements. This might cause loss of weight or stunted growth since they are not consuming anything to facilitate their growth.


 The parasite is another thing that might affect your ball python and cause stunted growth and weight loss. The common parasites that are likely to affect your python include; cryptosporidiosis, hookworms, and roundworms, among others. The parasites are some small microscopic organisms that might enter the body through the mouth sin or other body openings.

Some are harmful to the snake, while others are beneficial. Some can get into the body and stay there and multiply, while there are those that get out of the body without being digested. In both cases, they usually cause heathy issues such as vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain and lethargy to the affected snake.

By providing proper care and hygiene, these parasites can be prevented. You need to keep the cage housing the ball python clean always, and well ventilated and under no circumstance can the parasites infect your pet. However, if you do not take good care of the cage and keep it clean, the parastates will end up infecting your pet.


Taking about the size of the ball, python obesity is one of the major problems affecting most of them today. Obesity mainly happens due to the feeding routines of the snake. It is therefore important to avoid this problem since it is a health hazard. This problem can also be caused by restricting the pet ins a small enclosure or lack of exercise. Snake obesity is sometimes mistaken for a faster rate of growth. This, therefore, means it is very important for every owner to learn how to get the difference between obesity from fast growth. If you notice that your python pet becomes soft to the touch or squishy, or you see any folding scales or wrinkling, or around body shape, among others, this means that the snake is obese.

Some of the other signs that indicate that your python is obese include increased thirst, urination and aggression. Obese snakes tend to eat more than normal-sized snakes, and they also need more food and water. Some of the other signs of obesity include;

  • Lethargy
  • Excessive droppings
  • Vocalization, i.e., the snake produces some funny sounds such as loud hissing.
  • Slow movement
  • Lack of interest in mating

Below are some of the things you can do to help your pet ball python to avoid obesity;

  • Create more exercise opportunities inside the enclosure by adding some obstacles that need more movement from the pet to move.
  • Ensure that you are feeding your pet appropriately
  • Encourage your pet to move more
  • Keep the record of your pet’s weight and ensure they have the proper weight for its age and gender.
  • Ensure the size of the pet’s habitat is spacious enough to house the pet.


Sometimes the ball python in captivity might stop eating all of a sudden. As a concerned owner, you will be worried about understanding what might be wrong. There are various reasons why the ball python might suddenly stop eating, and some have been discussed before. For instance, it might be a duet to winter fasting. Also, your pet might be having some infection or parasites. There are, however, some other things that might cause the snake to stop eating totally, but they are simple cases that can easily be fixed, and they include;


 When it comes to diet, some of the ball pythons are known to be very picky. A slight change in the prey can cause the pet not to eat at one, for instance, if you change from live prey to the pre-killed ones. The pet might stop eating until they are used to the new way of feeding.


 Change in the enclosure can cause stress to the pet snake, and this is mainly overlooked as a serious condition that affects the eating behaviour of the ball pythons.


 The regular handling of the pet python has been proven to be beneficial, but too much handling can have some negative results. Your snake will get stressed out, become more aggressive and sometimes will stop eating.


 Another source of stress to your pet python is bringing other snakes into their enclosure, and this ends up preventing the snake from eating.

All these factors will cause the pet python to stop eating, and this will have an effect on the size of the snake since eating is a major factor that affects the size since the growth depends on what they feed on.


Generally, the ball pythons are amazing pets. They are calm and great; it is easy to handle, and they are not aggressive. However, they are picky, more so on the type of food, they are going to eat. The slight change in the food will stress them out, and they will begin to behave abnormally. This explains why it is important to have a good understanding of the pet before keeping them.

 This species needs close attention to keep growing and healthy. You need to keep monitoring everything starting from the weight of the snake, the air temperatures and the size of the enclosure. You must ensure that everything is the perfect condition; else, the pet python might have some serious issues that will affect its health and growth.

It is our hope that this guide has given a detailed explanation of the size of the python and all you need to do and not do in order to get the best out of the pet python in terms of size. So, you can now go ahead and choose your pet python and go ahead and take care of it, and you will never regret it.

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