Are you looking into breeding into ball pythons?
Do you want to know about how many babies you’ll get from breeding, so you don’t bite off more than you’re able to handle?
Breeding ball pythons is a fun extension to owning a couple of them.
It’s simple to do, and many find it rewarding.
But you may be wondering:
How many eggs does a ball python lay?
A ball python will usually lay one clutch per locking or mating. This results in around six eggs per pregnancy. The eggs take 55-60 days to hatch once they’re laid.
Look ahead for a lot of detailed information related to eggs and ball pythons.
How Many Eggs Does A Ball Python Lay?
Many reptiles can lay multiple clutches.
This isn’t the case with the ball pythons.
With each pairing or mating, the ball python will only lay one clutch.
Each of these clutches will contain, on average, close to 6 eggs.
It’s common for one or two of these eggs to be slugs or unfertilized.
You’ll notice the unviable eggs are smaller and discolored.
There’s no reason to save these, so disposing of them is OK.
Ball pythons could breed more than once per year, but on average, it’s better only to have the females lay eggs once per year.
Females will have, on average, 26 years of active breeding years.
If you have them lay six eggs every year, you’re looking at 156 eggs throughout their life.
When Is The Ball Python Breeding Season?
The breeding season for ball pythons is a myth. There isn’t one!
Due to the natural environment of the ball python, there is no brumation, which means they have no breeding season based on weather.
Any time ball pythons meet, they can breed.
However, the female ball python does have the ability to hold onto the male’s sperm for months before allowing the eggs to become fertilized.
The female won’t allow herself to be pregnant unless she bulks up first and is an area where she feels safe and has access to steady food.
Sometimes this happens right away, but sometimes it takes a while.
Over time after mating, the female will become pregnant, though the exact time frame is flexible in the beginning.
Learn more about the ball python breeding season.
When Can Ball Pythons Breed?
Unlike many other animals, the ball python becomes sexually mature, not based on age, but by size.
On average, the male ball python is sexually mature after one and a half years.
Sometimes it takes longer on how long they are and how much they weigh.
For female ball pythons, it takes a little longer to get big enough.
This is because the female has to have enough girth to support herself and grow the eggs.
For females, it takes around 2-4 years for her to become sexually mature.
These are general guidelines.
Some breeders depend entirely on weight to decide when to attempt a pairing.
If your pythons are older than the ages mentioned above, it’s OK to put the male in the female’s cage and wait for a pairing.
If there isn’t one, just attempt it again in a few months.
How Long Is A Ball Python Pregnant?
After the pairing, the eggs aren’t fertilized yet.
Remember, the female can hold onto the sperm for a while.
Wait a couple of months and look for signs of pregnancy.
The main signs of pregnancy are a thickening body and abnormal behavior.
The biggest behaviors to look for are resting upside down and wrapping itself around the water dish.
You may want to learn how to tell if a ball python is pregnant.
Once you see signs of thickening, they’ll be a pre-lay shed.
This shed allows for the female to get bulky a lot quicker and develop her eggs.
After the pre-lay shed, she may not eat a lot.
Thirty days almost exactly after this shed, the female will lay her eggs.
After laying the clutch of 6 eggs, she’ll wrap herself around them to incubate and protect them.
How Long Does It Take For Ball Python Eggs To Hatch?
Once the eggs are laid, it takes between 55-60 days for the python eggs to hatch.
There isn’t anything that needs to be done for these eggs during this time other than the temp and humidity requirements (touched on below).
In the wild, the female will spend almost this entire time wrapped around to protect her eggs.
She wraps herself completely around them, coiled up and over them.
Once the eggs pip or break their shells, she adjusts her coils to allow them to breathe.
How To Incubate Ball Python Eggs
Incubating ball python eggs is simple.
In this section, we’ll briefly go over what you need to do.
Check out our detailed guide on how to incubate ball python eggs for more specific information.
In captivity, we recommend removing the mother from the process.
She probably hasn’t bulked up enough to survive 55-60 days of waiting by the eggs.
Firmly but gently lift uncoil her starting with the tail and move her to another container for now.
Pick up the eggs carefully while making sure not to turn them over.
Move them into your incubator (check out the Reptibator for a good one).
- Digital controller with LCD display and LED heat indicator light
- Pulse proportional thermostat for stable temperature regulation
- Temperature control range from 59°F to 104°F (15°C to 40°C
If the eggs are attached (which is fairly common), don’t detach them, just leave them together.
For those who feel the need to separate them, do so carefully by cutting the eggs apart with dental floss.
Place them in material for coverage inside the incubator.
Ball python eggs need a very specific temperature and humidity for their best chance at surviving.
The temperature must be set at 88° – 90° degrees Fahrenheit (31° – 32° C).
If you have a digital incubator, this is much easier.
All you have to do is set it.
For those with a homemade or lower-end model, it’s still doable.
You just have to install your thermometer and take great care to check the temp regularly.
The humidity is also important though there’s more flexibility.
Some breeders get the relative humidity as close to 100% as they can.
Drops in humidity, especially those below 50% even briefly, will result in major health risks.
Keeping it up close to 100% will help avoid major problems if the humidity does dip slightly.
Follow the directions on your incubator for suggestions on how to raise and lower humidity.
Generally, it’s usually done by keeping water in the incubator (or below it in a dish).
To help with humidity, keep the incubator away from any heaters, air conditioning, or vents of such nature as these dry out the air.
You may wish to use a room humidifier to keep the room higher up.
This will make it easier for you and the incubator to keep the humidity in a safe place.
The downside of the higher humidity is increased mold growth.
Mold on the outside of your eggs isn’t a huge deal.
When you see some, carefully and gently take a Q tip and remove the mold.
After 55-60 days, the eggs will start to sink in.
This means they’re about to hatch.
The ball python’s egg tooth will allow them to crack the shell and break out.
Some breeders suggest using a knife at this time to cut the eggs and help the snakes.
In our opinion, this isn’t the best choice.
Read the article linked above for more details on this topic.
Can Ball Pythons Lay Eggs Without A Male?
Yes, but rarely.
What’s most likely happened is your female held onto the male’s sperm for longer than you thought possible, and she’s laying eggs from their pairing months ago.
In some cases, the sperm may be held onto for years.
Unlike other reptile species and animals, ball pythons don’t need to purge themselves of eggs regularly.
For example, a bearded dragon female will lay eggs every year, even if she hasn’t mated.
These eggs are gravid or unfertilized.
A female ball python won’t lay eggs unless they’re mostly viable for birth.
As mentioned before, there may be an egg or two in a clutch, which is a slug or unfertilized.
But the python won’t lay a whole clutch of slug eggs typically.
It’s extremely rare, but there are cases in pythons and other reptiles where the female will randomly produce offspring without any male.
Scientifically, this is called parthenogenesis.
This is rare and largely unknown as to why it occurs.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how many eggs a ball python lays.
Six eggs may not seem like a lot, but due to the tough nature of the python and how the mother stays by eggs in the wild, they have a high hatch rate compared to other reptiles.
If you’re looking into breeding ball pythons for yourself, make sure you keep this in mind when you set up the baby cages to care for the young ones.
Don’t be overwhelmed, but be prepared.