Are you thinking about bringing a ball python home?
Are you wondering about how big a ball python will be when it gets to be an adult?
If you are considering becoming the owner of a ball python, you might wonder:
How long does it take for a ball python to grow?
In captivity, a ball python will reach its full size after about three years, but in the wild, the timing is longer, with the animals reaching their full size in four to five years. There are some variations in this growth rate based on how the animal is fed and cared for.
Keep reading as we break down how long it takes for a ball python to grow.
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How Long Does It Take For A Ball Python To Grow
When you are considering adopting a ball python hatching, it is always a good idea to understand how big it will get and how long it will take to grow to those sizes.
Typically, a ball python in captivity will reach its full size at about three years.
This timeline increases in the wild, with ball pythons becoming fully grown at around four to five years old.
These creatures take longer to reach the lengths of a full-grown ball python in the wild.
The wild ball pythons take an additional year or two to reach their full growth potential.
This means the animal will be four or five years old before they are considered fully grown.
These first three or so years will be the fastest growth rate, but it is interesting to know that these animals will continue to grow after this time, just at a much slower rate.
The hatchling you take home will be approximately 10″ inches and grow rapidly in the first few months.
The growth rate will slow slightly after those first few months, but you will not see a real slow down until they are three or so years old.
There are no hard and fast rules on how quickly or slowly a ball python will grow and reach full size.
The growth rate is very much dependent on how the ball python is cared for and how well it is fed.
If the snake is malnourished, it is not fed the proper amount, or with the correct frequency, it will not grow as quickly.
How Big Does A Ball Python Get?
Ball pythons are among the smaller types of pythons kept as pets.
This is one of several reasons they are commonly kept as pets for snake lovers out there.
A female ball python snake will reach approximately 3′ to 5′ feet long when they are fully grown.
While 5′ feet are on the larger end of the spectrum and considered large for a ball python, there have been recorded instances of females reaching lengths of 6′ or more feet.
This is not the norm, but there is always a possibility.
The males of the species will be smaller, a common trait in members of the snake population.
Males of the species will only reach lengths between 2′ and 3′ feet.
When it comes to the weight of a ball python, this is very dependent on how much and how frequently they are fed.
Environmental factors and stress also play a role in the creature’s weight.
Expect an adult bull python to weigh anywhere between three and five pounds.
Female ball pythons and males will also differ in the diameter of their bodies.
Males will be slimmer and have a smaller head, while females will have a more muscular frame.
Typically, these animals will measure 4″ to 6″ inches in diameter once they are considered adults.
We have a post going into greater detail on how big ball pythons get for those wanting more information.
What Should I Feed My Ball Python
Food has such a significant impact on the growth and size of your ball python.
If you are looking to maximize your ball python growth, you should be providing it with the proper diet.
The diet of a captive ball python is not very different from one in the wild.
Ball pythons are not vegetarians.
Instead, these animals thrive on eating meat for a healthy diet.
This includes small rodents and other small creatures they can catch.
In the wild, ball pythons are known to eat amphibians, lizards, other snakes, birds, and small mammals, like mice or rats.
The menu for your pet ball python isn’t too different.
Some popular choices to feed ball pythons include mice, rats, chicks, and gerbils.
Feed your snake live or frozen prey when it comes to feeder mice and rats.
Some owners swear by live prey, while others believe the frozen option is better.
This is a decision you will need to make for yourself and your snake.
You might find your snake refuses to eat the thawed prey and leaves it in the cage.
Their instinct is to want a live catch, but people “trick” them by wriggling the prey around with tongs, mimicking the movements of a live rodent.
Snakes do naturally want live prey, but there are some dangers.
Your snake could be scratched or bitten by the prey as the rodent fights to survive.
Whatever you decide to feed your ball python, make sure it is the correct size, or you could be hurting your snake.
If the prey is too large, the ball python will not digest it properly.
They could choke on the animal if it becomes lodged in their mouth or esophagus.
This could lead to death for your pet.
They might also regurgitate the prey, a painful experience for them.
Regurgitation can cause damage and injury to the snake.
Provide your animal with food no bigger than the diameter of its body at the most significant point.
When in doubt, go for a smaller creature over a larger one.
But be sure you are providing enough for the creature if you feed them smaller prey to get the proper nutrients the snake needs.
How Often Should I Feed My Ball Python
Ball pythons do best when they are kept on a regular feeding schedule.
Typically, an adult ball python should be fed every 10 to 14 days, but this is dependent on the animal and the size of the food.
When the snake is a hatchling or still young, the feedings will need to happen more frequently because they grow faster.
Feedings for young ball pythons should happen every five or six days, at least once per week.
You might find your snake isn’t interested in eating, and if they are still full or are about to go through a shed, this is normal.
There are other reasons your snake might not be hungry on schedule, but if you suspect there is a problem, do not hesitate to get an opinion from your vet.
A veterinarian who specializes in reptiles will be able to give you an idea if a lack of appetite is normal or if there is a more serious underlying issue.
How Big Of An Enclosure Will I Need?
Understanding how big and how fast your ball python will grow will help you as you pick out the right enclosure to house your pet.
Ball python enclosures are as simple or elaborate as you want.
For an adult ball python, the enclosure should measure at least 36″ inches by 18″ inches by 12″ inches to make a great home.
You will want to provide them with enough room to move freely and stretch out.
There should be enough room to set up different zones of warmer and cooler spots.
This will allow them space to bask and regulate their body temperatures.
Unlike people, snakes, like most other reptiles, rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature and perform basic functions like digestion.
The enclosure should also be large enough to have a hide box for your ball python to escape when feeling stressed or anxious or wanting to be alone.
Commonly, glass or plastic aquarium-type tanks are used for enclosures, but there is a wide variety of options available on the market.
If you are serious about your ball python, you could also opt to make your enclosure.
We recommend this for more experienced snake owners.
If you are a newbie, give yourself a little time to learn what your snake needs and wants before you dive into building an enclosure.
Also, keep in mind if you do get more elaborate and add all kinds of plants and everything, you will have more work to do when cleaning and disinfecting.
The growth rate of a ball python is important to know and understand if you want to bring one into your home.
Understanding this will help you give your snake the best possible care and provide a good home.
After reading this article, we hope you have a better understanding of how fast ball pythons grow and how to help them successfully grow to their full size.