Breeding Longevity of Female Ball Pythons…

Posted: May 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

The question below comes from a Facebook  friend of mine. If you want to see a topic discussed here, send me an email at, send my Facebook page a message, or comment below here and I will address the topic in a future post!


Everybody debates about how young or old a female ball python can breed, so is there a age limit to the breeding life of  female ball python?


The simple answer is: No, there is no set age limit.

The more in-depth answer: In my experience over the last ten years breeding ball pythons, I have found various answers to the above question. Every breeder seems to have his or her own opinions on that.  I honestly believe that it depends on the individual snake. Every snake is different. For example, in my collection I have one African import that I raised from a hatchling, who is the tiniest of adult ball pythons. I think she must a dwarf and I’m being completely serious. She is now 8 years old and barely 1,000 grams on a “heavy” day. She eats extremely well; she just won’t grow any more. She bred for the first time 2012 and produced 4 viable eggs in 2013. I assumed that pairing her up would trigger a growth response, but in her case it did no such thing. All her babies hatched out and were perfectly fine however, just a bit smaller than the normal sized hatchlings that I am used to seeing.

I have found that if the female ball python is not ready to produce eggs, she will not have eggs. And if her body can undergo pregnancy, then she will. That is how mother nature designed them. As a breeder, it is very important for you to know your animals. By that I mean, you need to be aware of any and everything associated with the animal in question. No one know my snakes better than I do and that is why I was confident it would be okay to breed the tiny 8 year old female, who by the way is about to drop eggs again this year! Anyway,  I know their feeding habits, egg laying habits, and breeding habits, just to name a few. For a breeder to be successful, he or she needs to understand their collection.

Now let’s get back to the topic of breeding size. If a female is what I consider a good weight for her length, then I will pair her up with a male and let nature take its course. I have found that putting a male with a smaller female, who is at 1,000 grams or so, will lead the female to eat voraciously and gain weight at a fast pace. One of my female Mojaves did this last year. She went from just over 1,100 grams to over 1,500 grams in 6 weeks. During that time I allowed her to breed and fed her weekly. She packed on the weight and is expected to have eggs in another month or so! Come on Albino Mojaves or Albino Super Mojaves!!!

In regards to age, I have 2 females who are around 30 years old each. They were long time pets that I acquired when their former owners didn’t want them any more. Both females have viable eggs. Last year one of the females laid 15 perfect eggs! It was the largest clutch I have ever gotten from a ball python! So clearly, in my opinion, ball pythons have a very long breeding life and I think it is possible for a female to have eggs nearly every year if she is fed properly.

The female pictured above had 15 perfect eggs in 2013 and is about 30 years old. She maternally incubated all of her eggs successfully! This ball python is a monster and I always joke when I show her to people that she is a Burmese!

  1. chrystal says:

    Thank You, I have a 20 yr old – that was an imported egg, that I bought to hatch with no quarantees. She is my “Baby” pet that started my love and interest into Bps, before that I was heavy into Rosy Boas. This year she will have only laid her second clutch..and going onto 21. Being aware of risks with all breeding projects, she actually is my favorite and would love to see live an other 20 years.

    • That’s a really cool story about buying her as an egg and hatching her. After you got her, how long did it take for her to hatch? I am curious as to the developmental stage she was in. I had not heard of people buying eggs to hatch…that’s pretty awesome!

      • chrystal says:

        4-5 days after I bought the egg. $3 is what I paid, that was over 20years ago in California.. Imported with no guarantees. I was in there buying feeders for my Mangrove monitor at the time and just figured – if it didn’t hatch, the egg could be food.

  2. reptileman1 says:

    Wow, that is a cool story! Still actively producing at 21! I would love to see her life chronicled over the next few years as she continues to live on! GREAT job!

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