Are you thinking about bringing a ball python into your home?
Do you want to learn more about the life and characteristics of ball pythons?
If you are considering making a ball python your newest pet, one of your first questions might be:
How big does a ball python get?
These popular python pets are smaller in size than other members of their species, with females measuring between 3′ to 5′ feet long once they reach adulthood and adult males growing on average 2′ to 3′ feet long.
Their smaller size makes them the most popular python species to have as a pet.
Keep reading this article for everything you need to know about the size of a ball python.
How Big Does A Ball Python Get?
Whether you are researching ball pythons for fun or trying to decide if you want to make one your newest pet, their size is one of the first topics you should look into.
When a ball python is a hatchling, they will measure approximately 10″ inches long, but soon they will grow to several feet.
Female ball pythons grow to be larger than their male counterparts, a trait very different from many other animals in the world, but common for snakes of all kinds.
A fully grown, adult female ball python will measure on average anywhere from 3′ to 5′ feet long.
5′ feet is considered large for a ball python, but there have been recorded instances of these animals growing 6′ feet or even larger, though these lengths are not the norm.
If you are the owner of a male ball python, expect the snake to grow 2′ to 3′ feet long on average.
Ball pythons are muscular animals with their bodies measuring 4″ to 6″ inches in diameter.
As an adult, these animals will weigh somewhere around three to five pounds, but this is very much dependent on how well-fed they are and other environmental factors.
Males of this species will not just be shorter than a female, but they will also be more slender and have a smaller head.
How Long Does It Take For A Ball Python To Grow?
You now understand how big a full-grown ball python can get, but you might wonder how fast these animals grow and how long it takes to reach those lengths.
These animals will do most of their growing in the first three to four years of their lives but will continue to grow after this initial time frame, just at a much slower pace.
When they are hatchlings, a ball python will measure approximately 10″ inches, but within the first three years of their life, you should easily expect the snake to grow to 3′ feet.
Growth is rapid in those first months of life.
The snake will reach sexual maturity at about two to three years old, and with sexual maturity, growth will slow down greatly.
Snakes who receive proper nutrition and are well fed can reach sexual maturity as young as 18 months old.
This information is typical of snakes kept as pets in captivity, but the growth rate is a little different for ball pythons in the future.
In the wild, a ball python can take four to five years to reach its full size.
The rate of growth is dependent on a few things, including the genetics of the ball python.
Every person is a little different, growing at different rates, growing faster, taller, or staying shorter, and ball pythons are no different.
In addition to genetics, environmental conditions can play a role in their rate of growth.
Perhaps the most important factor when it comes to the rate of growth is if the ball python is if the animal is getting proper nutrition.
If your snake is well fed and given proper nutrition, the growth rate will increase.
A well-fed snake grows much faster than an underfed and malnourished one.
It is most important to worry about proper feedings for your animal to help keep them happy and healthy.
Check out our ball python weight and growth guide for a great table for your snake’s growth.
How Long Do Ball Pythons Live?
If you are the owner of a ball python or considering becoming an owner of one, you should understand these animals are a long term commitment.
Ball pythons can live for a very long time in captivity if they are well cared for by their owners.
The average life expectancy for a ball python in captivity is between 20 and 30 years.
The oldest ball python on record lived to be 47 years old before it died.
Reaching 20 or 30 years is a great feat for a ball python because, in the wild, they don’t usually reach anywhere near this age.
Ball pythons in the wild usually live to be about ten years old, because they have so many more hardships to overcome.
In the wild, these animals, like most wild animals, are at risk of being attacked and killed by predators.
Additionally, they also have to contend with the unpredictability of extreme weather situations.
They also are at risk for diseases and parasites.
Captive ball pythons, when properly cared for, will be able to be treated if they develop a disease or have parasites, don’t have to worry about predators, and don’t have to worry about weather issues.
Because they don’t have these worries, their life expectancy greatly increases.
How Big Of A Cage Will I Need For A Ball Python?
There are many options when it comes to caging your ball python.
You will have the option to get as simple or elaborate as you would like, but keep in mind, the more elaborate you get, the more you will have to do when it is time to clean and disinfect the cage.
Younger ball pythons do better in a smaller aquarium, as they feel more secure.
With larger cages, these younger snakes are likely to get stressed and overwhelmed.
For an adult ball python, an enclosure measuring 36″ inches by 18″ inches by 12″ inches will make a great home.
These snakes do need some room to move and climb, and providing a large enough tank will allow them to do so.
The tank will need to be large enough to provide warm and cool spots to allow the snake to regulate their body temperature.
Whatever type or size of enclosure you decide on, you will need to be sure it is secure.
Snakes are great escape artists, who will take any opportunity to explore and get out of their cage.
The enclosure should have a tight-fitting door or lid, and it is a good idea for this door to have a lock.
What Should I Feed My Ball Python For Optimal Growth?
As discussed above, what the ball python is fed and how often it is fed affects directly how fast and large they will grow.
Feeding them properly will not only guarantee they stay healthy, but it will also help the animal live a long life with you.
Ball pythons in the wild and captivity have the same diet.
These snakes will thrive on and require a lot of meat to get proper nutrition.
Here is a list of the most popular choices to feed your ball python:
These animals are easy enough to get your hands on to provide meals for your snake.
Most pet stores in your area will carry mice to feed your snake or opt to become your own mouse farm and house a constant supply on hand.
Don’t feed your snake any mice or rats you happen to catch from the wild or around your home as these wild rodents can introduce parasites or diseases to your snake.
Also, do not feed live animals to your snake, as live mice or rats, or any animal will fight for their lives and can scratch, bite or otherwise injure a ball python in the process.
A bite or scratch can turn into a bigger problem, like an infection.
Also, if you purchase frozen mice for your snake, be sure they are fully thawed before feeding time.
Do not try to cook the mice before feeding your snake.
You will also need to consider the size of the animal you feed to your ball python.
If the food is too large, your snake could have difficulties swallowing and digesting their meal.
When you are feeding your snake, be sure the food is the same size or just slightly larger than the widest part of the ball python’s body.
Do not try to feed your snake any insect or vegetables, as they are carnivores who get the vitamins and nutrients they need from eating meat.
If you are debating on getting a pet snake and aren’t sure what species you might want, check out the ball python.
These animals are on a smaller scale, with females growing to about 3′ to 5′ feet and males growing to 2′ to 3′ feet long.
Their smaller size and long life span make them great pets for years to come.