Are you interested in the breeding behaviors of ball pythons?
Do you have an interest in expanding your ball python family by breeding these snakes?
If you are enjoying owning ball pythons, and are interested in learning more about what it would take to breed these animals, you might ask:
When is the ball python breeding season?
In the wild, the breeding season for a ball python falls around the rainy season in their native habitat of Africa, between September and November. In captivity, the breeding season usually lasts from November to March.
Read on to learn even more about the breeding season for ball pythons and so much more.
When Is Ball Python Breeding Season?
Whether you are considering breeding ball pythons or want to learn more about these fascinating creatures, one of the first things you should understand is their breeding season.
In captivity, the breeding season for this animal begins in November and lasts through March, but the ball pythons in the wild have a slightly different timeline.
These wild creatures see their breeding season starting in September and lasting through November.
The timing of the breeding season for wild ball pythons is in line with a rainy season in their native homeland of Africa.
During this time, for both wild and captive ball pythons, males and females of the species will begin courting and mating.
The female will then become gravid and eventually lay her eggs by the end of the season.
How Many Eggs Will A Ball Python Lay?
During the breeding season, a female ball python will lay her eggs after mating with the male of her species.
For captive ball python females, anywhere from four to eight eggs will be laid by the end of February into March.
Researchers have found in captivity, a clutch of eggs numbers between one and 11, with the average clutch size being seven eggs.
You will know your female ball python will soon lay her eggs when she sheds her skin.
They will shed their skin approximately one month before laying their eggs.
This process is called the pre-lay shed, and this shed is used by the female as part of the nest she makes.
What To Do When The Female Lays Her Eggs
Once the female has laid the eggs, she will wrap herself tightly around them.
This is something they do in the wild, and she will not be happy when you try to remove her, but unwrap her quickly to avoid being bitten.
Prepare an incubation tub for the eggs to house and incubate the eggs until they hatch.
You can use a 12-quart Rubbermaid tub as an incubation chamber.
Once you have this, fill it halfway with vermiculite and add water until the vermiculite begins to form clumps, but be sure you do not allow the mixture to get too wet or you will kill the eggs.
Place the eggs in the box with the vermiculite and water mixture and close the box.
If you have an incubator, place the box inside, but if you do not own one, place the box in a tank and create a seal placing a piece of glass and using some electrical tape.
What is important is maintaining humidity and a temperature of 88° degrees Fahrenheit (31° C).
The eggs will incubate for approximately 55 days.
Focusing your attention back on the new mother, you will need to give her some extra care.
Wash the enclosure thoroughly and wash the female snake to remove the pheromones from the breeding season.
If you do not do these things, she will curl up and wrap herself up around nonexistent eggs.
She will not eat if she is in this mode, so giving her a nice bath will ensure she goes back into feeding mode more quickly and can gain some weight back.
When Can Ball Pythons Start Breeding?
Breeding ball pythons is no easy task, but if you are interested in doing so, your snakes will need to have reached sexual maturity.
A ball python will hit this benchmark at anywhere from 18 months to four years old.
While age gives a good indication of sexual maturity, the ultimate factor is the weight of the ball python.
Check out our ball python size chart post for great information on their growth rate and weight.
Breeders often wait until a male or female reaches a certain weight before breeding, rather than focusing on their age.
Some snakes which are fed more frequently will reach this weight earlier and could start breeding at as young as 18 months old.
The animals will need to be in good health and hit the weight milestones before the breeders will even think about using them as breeders.
A female should weigh 1,200 grams and be at between 18 months and two years old before attempting to breed them.
Male ball pythons need to reach 700 grams and be at least one year old before they will be used to breed.
It is best to understand there is no exact set rule as to the timeframe of when to begin breeding your ball pythons.
Use a combination of weight and age to make the determination, and at the end of the day, remember to maintain the health and well being of the animal above all.
With proper care and a good habitat, your ball python should reach sexual maturity and be ready to breed at around two to three years old.
Remember, you should be more concerned with the overall health of the animal above the rate of growth.
A healthy and well cared for snake will be a better breeder anyway.
Breeding season for ball pythons in captivity differs slightly from the season of the ball pythons living in the wild.
Once you understand when breeding season is for these animals, you still have a lot of research to do before you go ahead with breeding them.
Breeding ball pythons require time, commitment, research, and patience, and we hope our article has helped to put you on the right path if this is something you are seriously looking into.