Breeding Ball Pythons Guide
- Breeding season in the northern hemisphere: Autumn-winter matings with eggs in the spring
- Recommended weight for females to breed: minimum 1200 grams, preferred 1500 grams
- Recommended weight for males to breed: minimum 500 grams, preferred 800 grams
- Breeding begins: 3 weeks after hibernation begins
- Breeding ends: when the male loses interest or the female ovulates
- Pre-egg-lay shed: takes place 15-20 days after ovulation
- Egg-laying: takes place approximately 30 days after pre-egg-lay shed
- Incubation range: 89-90° Fahrenheit
- Hatching: takes place after approximately 50-60 days of incubation
Breeding ball pythons is usually very easy. Most ball pythons breed readily in captivity as long as they are healthy animals. Those kept at optimal conditions and are fed properly will produce many clutches of eggs; in fact, it is thought that once ball pythons reach sexual maturity, they are able to reproduce until they die. Proper care and knowledge of the animal should be mastered before attempting to breed these animals, as the experience will assist you in your breeding efforts in addition to helping to produce healthy babies.
Each female ball python can lay one clutch of eggs per year, provided that she has stored enough fat during the previous year. Only female ball pythons at least 1200 grams in weight should be considered for breeding, and 1500 grams is recommended. Bigger females mean bigger clutches of eggs or larger eggs, which transfers into healthier babies. The smaller females, however, are more at risk for many problems arising from breeding. One example is becoming egg-bound, resulting in a pricey operation to remove the eggs and possibly causing the female to be unable to reproduce for life— and that’s only one example! The best thing to do is not get ahead of yourself— or your snake, as the case may be— and let her gain the proper weight before you attempt to breed her. Feed her well until hibernation begins., but do not power-feed your animals! (Power-feeding is when one feeds a snake one meal every 3 days or so and basically the snake just has time to defecate before they are fed again.) Just as breeding too young can cause problems, power-feeding can also cause problems because while the snake's weight might be up to par, his/her reproductive organs probably are not. Feed them a regular schedule of one prey item every 7-10 days until they gain sufficient weight. Females usually stop feeding in November or December and do not begin feeding again until after the clutch is laid. It is possible, however, for the female to accept a few meals in the spring before she ovulates.
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