Eating Habits of the Ball Python in the Fall
General Eating Habits
- Ball pythons are known as some of the pickiest eaters in the domestic snake world. A change in the temperature of the tanks, dirty living environments, seasons and temperament cause ball pythons to reject the food offered to them. Typically, ball pythons eat one frozen or live mouse twice a week. The size of the mouse should match the girth of the ball python at its widest point. Digestion of these meals takes up to two days and overfeeding the ball python by giving them another mouse before the first meal has been digested is just as unhealthy as not feeding them.
- The breeding season for the ball python begins in early October, at the height of fall. At this point, male and female ball pythons become ready for copulation, especially if the snake is well-kept and of a good weight. Breeders introduce male pythons to several females a few times a week over the span of a month. During this time, the male fertilizes the females' eggs, which the female gestates in her body from 50 to 120 days before laying them. The eggs hatch 50 to 60 days after laying.
Fall Male Feeding Habits
- Throughout the spring and summer months, the well-kept ball python shows a good appetite that allows it to prepare for husbandry. During the mating season, however, both male and female pythons will refuse food as the breeding process begins. After copulation, with the eggs fertilized, the male's portion of the breeding process is complete and its appetite returns, though slightly reduced. In January, food can be reintroduced to the male in small amounts and less frequently, usually 12 to 14 days apart, until spring when they regain their hearty appetite.
Fall Female Eating Habits
- Impregnated females generally show no interest in food during gestation. Food can be offered to them, but they will generally refuse it. Throughout the winter, the female gravitates toward the colder portions of the tank. She will generally refuse food until she has laid her eggs and they have hatched in early spring. Because the female ball python often fasts for up to six months, preparing her for the winter by feeding her properly during the spring and summer is essential. Once the eggs have hatched, food can be reintroduced in the same manner as with the male ball pythons.