What To Feed Ball Pythons? [Complete Guide]

Ball pythons are mostly terrestrial snakes that are native to the African continent. They are known for their docile and gentle nature. This is why they make good pets for children and adults alike. However, it is important to know how to feed a ball python in order to maintain the health of your pet.

In the following details we will explain this and answer more questions related :

what to feed ball pythons What To Feed Ball Pythons? [Complete Guide]

What To Feed Ball Pythons?

Ball pythons typically feed on a variety of small animals such as mice, rats, lizards, frogs, and other snakes. It is not uncommon for them to go without eating for months at a time in their natural habitat. It is not recommended that you allow your ball python to go without eating as this can lead to health problems such as metabolic bone disease or even death.

Ball pythons depend on their food on small prey, and they are not like other snakes in that they eat prey larger than them, and they eat once every one to two weeks, and these snakes take a long time to digest, so they remain days after eating.

It is preferable to provide food that is as large as the widest part of the snake’s body. In the wild, these snakes use smart methods of hunting, and they can wait for their prey for several days until they have the appropriate opportunity to pounce.

Ball pythons as pets get their food easily, because you, as a breeder, have to provide adequate and appropriate food for them, as well as you can provide them with large cockroaches, live mice or frozen mice.

After eating, it takes two to six days for her to finish digestion, and amino acids help her in that process. During digestion, she prefers to be in dark and warm corners.

If you see that the ball python defecates, leave it for two or three days and give it a new meal, “If you give it its prey and it does not come towards it, this does not mean that it rejects it, most of the snakes are nocturnal activity so they will pounce on the prey at night.

What Else Can I Feed My Ball Python?

You can feed your ball python some foods from other options, for example, they can be:

  • big night crickets
  • hamsters
  • jerboas
  • chicks
  • Quail
  • Multimammate mice
  • Guinea pigs
  • rodents
  • rats
  • mice

How Long Will A Ball Python Go Without Eating?

A medium-aged ball python can end a whole month without food without facing any health problems, while old ball pythons can even exceed that much if they are in good health and do not suffer from any disease.

It is common to see large snakes practicing the habit of hunger strike, in this case the breeder must examine the snake if he is an expert in that or ask to consult a veterinarian in order to make sure that the snake is still in good health.

Some specialists suggest that this hunger strike is part of a special method for snakes that includes deliberately losing weight, and the snake can practice this method once every two years.

You may know that they are ending their hunger strike if you see them searching for prey, or roaming extraordinarily active at night.

When Should I Feed My Ball Python?

Ball pythons are able to eat live prey or pre-killed prey, beginners use live prey in an attempt to simulate life in the wild, but in fact live prey poses a danger to your snake in confined spaces.

Therefore it is highly recommended to feed the frozen rodents, as it is safer for the snake and more convenient for you, eg it is easier for you to keep the previously killed prey frozen, while keeping the live prey will require some things.

Ball pythons are snakes that practice their activities at night, so the best time to provide food to the snake is at night or in the evening, or when the surrounding area is without light, even if that includes just turning off the lights.

You can get the killed prey from the pet store, you will get it frozen and ready, just thaw it before giving it to the snake.

The ball python will love prey that has already been killed, except for snakes that have been recently brought from the wild. It will take some time to get used to the non-living prey.

Do You Have To Feed Ball Pythons Live Food?

Specialists advise feeding ball pythons to prey that has already been killed, not live prey that requires the ball pythons to kill prey by themselves.

The reason for this is in order to keep your ball python more safely and not to risk it, because live prey may have sharp teeth and claws and may resist and fight with the snake.

It is true that ball pythons are skilled predators, but they are inside closed places, such as the place you allocate yourself for the ball python. The place may be narrow and they cannot maneuver, and you may face some difficulty in killing the prey.

Therefore, it is preferable that the food be pre-killed rodents or frozen mice or the like.

What Size Rat To Feed Ball Python?

If it was the largest part of a snake’s body is approximately one inch, you have to know the snake cannot eat food larger than the largest part of the snake’s body, because if it eats prey that is larger than its stomach, it will be exposed to danger and may vomit or food may close its mouth or expose it to suffocation.

It is preferable to feed pinky mice to snakes, which weigh from 1 to 3 grams, because they contain a low percentage of fat and are rich in proteins necessary for the snakes to remain alive.

It is recommended to give Snakes to other young mice whose weight is 5 grams.

How Often To Feed Ball Python?

Ball pythons are perfect for anyone who is looking for a new pet. They don’t require much maintenance and they are easy to feed. The only thing that you need to do is make sure that they have enough food in their cage every week.

We recommend feeding your snake every week, but if you notice that the snake has lost weight, then you may need to feed it more often.

A ball python can be fed once a week. They should be fed prey that is equal in size to the snake’s girth.

There are some types of snakes that need to be fed every day, or even twice a day. These snakes are usually larger than ball pythons.

As for the young ball pythons, they need to be fed at least once or twice a week.

Ball Python Feeding Chart

ball python feeding chart What To Feed Ball Pythons? [Complete Guide]

This chart is intended to give a general understanding of the average feeding schedule of ball pythons — not a strict feeding schedule. Keepers should feed their animals based on the individual snake’s metabolism and needs. Understanding healthy body weight and fluctuations in feeding schedule are vital to the proper keeping of any animal. Do not rely strictly on any chart, as individual needs may vary.

Allow your Ball Python to acclimate to its new home for a couple of weeks. Start your hatchling (about 15″ in length) off with a single pre-killed one week to 10-day old “fuzzy” mouse. A smaller sized hatchling may require a smaller mouse; try a pre-killed 5-day old. Older ball pythons may be fed larger pre-killed mice or pinkie rats.

If you have not had any experience force feeding a snake, you may not want to try it yourself until you have seen someone do it. Force feeding, whether of a mouse or with a formula inserted by catheter and syringe, is very stressful for the snake (and it isn’t much fun for the owner!). If your new ball has gone several months without eating and is beginning to noticeably lose weight, take it to a reptile vet or contact your local herpetology society and ask to speak to someone who is knowledgeable about ball pythons and feeding problems.


Ball pythons are among the most popular pet snakes in the world, And Ball pythons are not dangerous. They are not picky eaters, and will eat a variety of different prey items.

Ball pythons can eat only rats or mice throughout their lives, but they also like to add other things to their diet in captivity and feed on other rodent species such as hamsters, jerboas, and other exotic breeds. Small ball pythons should only be fed large crickets, fuzzy mice, and pinky mice until they are older.

In the wild, ball pythons feed on rodents, birds and other small animals. But in captivity they can be fed a variety of different food items including mice, rats, rabbits, chicken eggs, and even frozen-thawed mice.

Live food is not required to feed ball pythons; however it is recommended. It provides more mental stimulation for the animal and encourages hunting behavior.

Ball Pythons are not picky eaters, so you can feed them with live or frozen food.

The most common types of food for snakes are mice and rats. You can buy frozen rodents at the pet store.

You can also order live rodents online or from a pet store.

Some owners feed their snake’s pre-killed prey to avoid the risk of injury to their pets.

If you choose to feed your snake live prey, make sure that it is healthy and active before placing it in the enclosure with your pet.

Ball Pythons are not picky eaters, they will eat frozen and live food. However, they will do much better with a diet of fresh food. Ball Pythons are actually quite picky eaters, and it is very important to feed them live food at some time.

A major reason for feeding a ball python live food is that it can be difficult for them to digest the nutrients from their prey if given only frozen food. Live prey offers more nutrition than frozen prey because it contains more moisture and nutrients. Frozen prey also dries out much faster than live prey so it is easier for the snake to get indigestible pieces stuck in their teeth and throat which can lead to illness or an unpleasant time when trying to remove them from your ball python’s mouth.

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Mustafa Tshash

I'm Mustafa Tshash a Pet breeder with years of hands-on experience in this field.
One of my primary goals is to educate pet owners about the correct steps and essential tips for caring for their pets.
I actively engage with pet owners through various channels, including workshops, written publications, and online platforms, to ensure that my message reaches them.
You can contact me at the e-mail: Mustafa-Tshash@HowTo-Pets.com
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