Are you looking into getting a ball python, but do you want to know more about the costs before you commit it?
Do you like to budget your expenses before jumping into new pets?
Ball pythons are overly expensive, especially when compared to most other pets, but the one they have a higher recurring cost in their diet.
Fortunately, this is still minimal.
But you don’t want generalities; you want to know exactly:
How much does it cost to feed a ball python?
Operating on the assumption your python will live for 30 years (which is average) and eat large-sized rats for most of this time, it’s reasonable to offer $10,00-11,000 as the total lifetime cost of feeding a ball python. If using mice, the cost is closer to $4,000.
Read on for more details and how we came to this number.
Ball Python Diet
Before digging into specific numbers, you need to understand what makes up a good ball python diet.
Ball pythons are carnivores that function best when eating rodents.
Though they can eat other things, mice and rats are the best choices.
With ball pythons, most breeders prefer rats to mice.
Rats are more aligned with what the snake would eat in its natural habitat.
Therefore, the nutrients are more complementary to the python.
Rats are also larger than mice, which means the python will get a better meal.
Mice are much more affordable and more easily usable.
Rats tend to fight back more when alive.
Mice are a common prey food for a whole host of predatory animals (snakes in particular).
As such, there is a lot more supply and lower prices over rats.
Ball pythons as adults eat one appropriately-sized rodent every 10-14 days.
The correct size is a rodent who is about the size, but no larger than the width of the python’s body at mid-length.
Look for more details on what size mouse to feed ball python.
Baby and juvenile ball pythons will eat every 5-7 days. The rule for size applies to these younger ones as well.
Getting food too large will result in potential choking and regurgitation, which is stressful on the snake’s body and reduces their nutrition balance.
Food, which is too small, isn’t inherently bad as long as you keep the feedings up.
If the food is too small and you’re only feeding every 14 days, your snake may begin to feel malnourished.
Price Of Foods
Knowing we’re looking for mice or rats, we can look at the prices of these options.
Prices do fluctuate over time and may change, so we’ll look at the prices at the time of this writing.
Since rats are what most breeders use, we’ll look at these first.
Note: Prices per rodent change based on the size of the rodent.
For easy calculation, we’ll assume your ball python will eat a large rat or dumbo mouse for most of its life.
Frozen Rats – Frozen rats are available in different sizes by most dealers.
We like this one and you can get it right on Amazon.
This is a more expensive option, but based on other options out there, the average price per large rat is $13 per rat.
Frozen Mice – This Strive pack of 20 Jumbo mice is comparable to what frozen mice go for.
The exact price will change, but as of this writing and by looking at competitor pricing, we can say the average price of a frozen Jumbo mouse is $5.
This sounds way better, but you’ll also need to add a vitamin supplement sprinkling on the food.
Not a big deal or price jump, but rats are considered generally better.
Pro-tip: Looking for deals is good, but you should always buy from a pet supply company.
Also, buying in bulk would lower the cost per rodent.
Keep in mind this is with frozen rodents.
Live ones are generally not shipped well, so buying them depends on the stores in your area.
You’ll have to call or visit for current pricing.
How Much Does It Cost To Feed A Ball Python?
Armed with this information, we can mathematically create an estimate for how much it will cost to feed a ball python.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to do this yourself.
We took care of it for you in this chart.
Note: We are assuming your pet lives 30 years (though some live longer). We’re also assuming you feed the pet every 14 days and not the lower ten days of the range.
The price per rodent tends to stay fairly stable throughout the sizes, so this price will stay close during the first year of life when they eat a little more often.
|# of Years Alive||Total Cost For Rats (Large)||Total Cost For Mice (Jumbo)|
Perhaps you see why many still prefer to use Jumbo mice over rats.
This is fine, but we do encourage the use of rats when possible.
They’re just healthier for your pet.
This number (especially the rat one) may seem overwhelming for you.
By comparison, the average cost for dog food is around $720 per year, which is much higher.
Cats are somewhere in between at around $192 per year for the dry kibble food.
Now you know more about how much it costs to feed a ball python.
The exact will be hard to determine in the long run, but it’s good to know what to budget for.
Whether you use rats or mice for your pet, you need to make sure they’re fed the appropriate-sized prey at the correct length of time.
As a responsible owner, it’s good to have all this information ahead of time.
Ball pythons are great pets to own and cheaper to feed by year than the standard dog or cat.