ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Guide to Ball Python Breeding

Updated on January 25, 2011

Breeding your ball python opens up an entire new world of experiences and challenges— from a successful breeding to the excitement of your first clutch of eggs and then on to seeing the noses of hatchlings poke up out of their eggs! It is always fun, every year, to watch new babies come out of their eggs and to marvel at their colors and patterns. I hope you will have as much fun hatching your own ball pythons as we have had.

Ball pythons

Before embarking upon your breeding trials, you will first need to determine the sex of your ball pythons. Ball pythons, unlike some other bos and pythons, cannot be accurately sexed based on their spur females have cloacal spurs, and they can be very long and thin or regardless of the sex of the ball python. These spurs are found on either e cloaca or vent. Spurs do wear down males and can even come off due to excess of retained shed skin built up around the base of the spur. Spurs can also be lost due to vigorous spurring of the female.

Adult ball pythons are generally sexed by probing. A steel probe is inserted into the base of the tail. Male ball pythons will probe, on average, to a depth of eight to ten subcaudal

The most accurate way to sex ball scales (the scales on the underside of the tail posterior to the cloaca).

Females, on average, will probe to a depth of four subcaudal scales. Please remember that this is a general guideline—some specimens will not probe to the depths indicated. Some females have probed to a depth of seven sub­caudal scales and some males have probed out at four.

If you have purchased snakes of unknown sex, your local veterinarian should be able to sex your snakes for you. Most breeders will sell you snakes that have already been prop­erly identified as male or female.

Hatchling ball pythons are commonly sexed by manually everting the hemipenes; this procedure is referred to as "popping." It involves putting gentle pressure on the tail just behind the cloaca and watching to see if hemipenes pop out. Only experienced people should try this because it is easy to injure snakes when everting their hemipenes.


Once the gender of your snakes has been determined, you will need to condition them for breeding. First-time breeding males do best when they weigh around 700 grams or about 1.5 pounds. It may take a male a year and a half to reach this size. First-time females should weigh 1,500 grams or about 3 pounds. It may take a female three years to reach this size. As females and males mature, they will naturally get longer. Longer females will need to weigh more than 1,500 grams to produce good fertile clutches. There is a definite length-to-weight ratio for female ball pythons. A female that is 4 feet (3.5 meters) long must weigh more than 1,500 grams to produce a viable clutch of eggs. She will more than likely need to weigh closer to 2,200 grams or about 4.5 pounds. The ability of any given female to success­fully produce viable eggs is directly linked to the amount of fat she has stored. Too much or too little fat inhibits the ability of the follicles to properly develop.

Once your snakes are the appropriate size and age, you can begin to consider breeding them. In captivity, ball pythons are considered nonseasonal breeders. This means that they can be bred during any time of the year. However, most breeders tend to breed their ball pythons during the winter, when day lengths are shorter and the ambient air temperatures are cooler. Do not place your ball pythons in hibernation, as this process will kill them. They only require a slight cooling during the breeding season. It is best to cool your ball pythons for about a month prior to introducing them to each other. During this time, the ambient air temperature during the day can be in the mid 70s (about 23°C to 25°C) and drop down to the low 70s to high 60s (about 20°C to 22.5°C) at night. The snakes will still need a hot spot during this time. Daytime highs at the hot spot can be 90°F (32.2°C), with nighttime lows of 80°F (26.7°C).

Watch your snakes' behavior. If they are always on the cool side of the cage, turn down the heat a little. How your snakes behave will give you important clues as to how to develop an effective breeding program. Breeding season can begin as early as September and go through May. Normally, ball pythons are bred in October through March in the north­ern hemisphere. For the southern hemisphere, the breed­ing season corresponds to the months of May through October.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)