Find out how big a ball python can get, plus learn about their average lifespan, diet, and more!
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Ball pythons are a type of nonvenomous snake found in Africa. They are one of the most popular types of pet snakes in the world. Ball pythons are named for their habit of curling up into a tight ball when they feel threatened. These snakes can grow to be quite large, but how big do they get?
Adult ball pythons typically grow to be between 3 and 5 feet long, with females usually being larger than males. The largest recorded ball python was more than 7 feet long! These snakes can live for 20 years or more in captivity, so if you’re thinking of getting one as a pet, be prepared for a long-term commitment.
What is a ball python?
A ball python is a small to medium-sized python found in western and central Africa. The largest recorded wild Python sebae reached a length of 5.74 m (18 ft 10 in), making it one of the longest snakes ever recorded. The average length of a ball python in the wild is about 1.2–1.6 m (4 ft 0 in–5 ft 3 in). However, captive ball pythons typically only reach an average adult size of 1.0–1.2 m (3 ft 3 in–4 ft 0 in).
The size of a ball python
Most ball pythons will fall somewhere in the middle of the size range. Adult females usually measure between 3 and 5 feet long, and adult males measure between 2 and 4 feet long. However, it is not unusual for a ball python to reach 6 feet in length.
The weight of a ball python
The weight of a ball python can range from 1 to 5 pounds.
The length of a ball python
ball pythons for sale can range in size from 10 inches to over 6 feet long. Some captive-bred morphs (designer color patterns) can get even larger, with some reaching up to 8 feet in length! Most pet ball pythons will top out somewhere between 3 and 5 feet long, with the average adult size being closer to 4 feet.
The lifespan of a ball python
The lifespan of a ball python is typically 20 to 30 years, although some have been known to live as long as 50 years in captivity.
The diet of a ball python
Determining the size of a ball python can be tricky. They are not typically measured in length like other snakes. Instead, their girth or mass is generally used to estimate their size. A good rule of thumb is that a healthy adult ball python should be at least the thickness of a man’s wrist.
A ball python’s diet consists mainly of rodents such as mice and rats. In the wild, they will also eat birds and other small animals. In captivity, they should be fed pre-killed prey to avoid the risk of injury.
The habitat of a ball python
The ball python is a small to medium sized snake, native to Africa. They get their name from their habit of curling up into a tight ball when they feel threatened. Ball pythons are generally shy and docile snakes, and make popular pets.
Adult ball pythons typically reach lengths of 3-5 feet, with females usually being larger than males. They are heavy bodied snakes, with thick necks and small heads. Ball pythons have heat-sensing pits on their face which they use to locate prey. They are proficient swimmers and can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes underwater.
In the wild, ball pythons typically inhabit areas of dense vegetation, such as forests or swampy marshland. They prefer areas where there is plenty of cover for them to hide in case of predators. During the day they will often hide in burrows or crevices, emerging at night to hunt for food. Ball pythons are mainly terrestrial snakes, but will climb trees in search of prey or shelter.
Ball pythons typically live for 20-30 years in captivity, although some individuals have been known to live for over 40 years.
The reproduction of a ball python
A female ball python will lay a clutch of 2-12 eggs which hatch 60-75 days later. The newborn snakes are about 10-20 inches long. Male and female ball pythons reach sexual maturity at 3-5 years of age, although some males may mature as early as 2 years. Females grow to be larger than males, typically reaching lengths of 4-6 feet, with some exceptional individuals exceeding 8 feet in length. Males typically reach lengths of 3-4 feet.
The predators of a ball python
Ball pythons are one of the most popular snakes in the pet trade, and for good reason! They are small (adults usually only grow to 3-5 feet in length), docile, easy to care for, and come in a wide range of color morphs.
But did you know that ball pythons are actually native to Africa? And that they got their name from the fact that they will sometimes curl up into a tight ball when they feel threatened?
In the wild, ball pythons prey on small mammals like rodents and bats. But in captivity, they will happily eat frozen/thawed mice or rats.