You must be wondering, what does a full grown ball python look like? And how big can they actually get?
Well there is a slight difference in size for full grown ball pythons in captive, in comparison to wild ball pythons. The average ball python hatchling will be somewhere between 12 and 15 inches long. A full grown ball python (adult) can be anywhere between 3 and 5 feet in length. You my be thinking this is big for a snake, however it’s classed as one of the smaller python species. What ball pythons lack in length compared to other species, they make up for in width. A full grown ball python usually gets quite thick around the belly, making them look more sizeable than they actually are.
A full grown ball python in captive can easily grow up to 3 feet in length in its first 3 years as a juvenile. After the first 3 years has passed the rate of growth will slow down. This will continue as your snake matures. Some ball pythons that are well fed and well cared for can actually reach sexual maturity in as little as 18 months. Although most become sexually mature between 2-3 years of age.
In the wild, a full grown ball python can grow anywhere between 5 – 6 feet in length on average, with some individuals exceeding this length. Ball pythons in captive are much less likely to ever grow to this size, as their vivarium size will play a big factor in their achievable size.
When Do Full Grown Ball Pythons Stop Growing?
When do full grown ball pythons stop growing, and is there a specific time this will happen? Well, assuming your ball python is healthy, usually they will reach full size as an adult at 3 years of age. However, snakes never actually stop growing. Although after 3 years it will slow considerably, but never fully stop. As captive bred ball pythons are usually sold as babies, many owners are curious to how fast their new pet snake will grow. Like all snakes, ball pythons start off small, and can grow to lengths of 4-5 feet commonly for captive species. This may sound like a big snake, however these are small snakes compared to their cousin pythons, which can range up to 25ft.
Ball pythons grow at a rapid speed within their first months of life. The first 12 months of a baby ball python will see its biggest growth rate. A ball python is sexually mature at roughly 24 – 36 months. From this stage its growth rate will start to slow down until full size at adulthood.
Reasons Why Ball Pythons Grow Fast?
There are a number of factors which can have an affect on how fast your ball python grows. This includes, sex of the snake, varied diets, vivarium size and environmental conditions. Keeping a record of your ball pythons weight monthly, is a great way to ensure that your ball python is growing at a healthy rate.
Sex of Snake
How fast a ball python grows can be determined by its gender. The sex of a ball python will determine its size, as female ball pythons will commonly be much larger than the male species. In captivity female ball pythons will grow to roughly 4-5 feet in length, compared to the male species which will likely only reach 3.5 – 4 feet in length. Obviously this can vary for individuals, but this is a general guideline. Females grow to a much larger length due to their reproductive organs. Males are not equipped with these organ, so have no reason to grow to the size that females need too.
Feeding your ball python the wrong diet will have serious consequences in its growth rate and ability. Feeding your ball python a balanced and healthy diet will allow your snake to grow fast, to its full potential. Researching the most suitable foods and dietary requirements for your ball python throughout the different stages in its life will improve its chances of healthy growth.
The size vivarium is a factor which may have an affect on how fast your ball python grows. Captive snakes will only grow to the size of their surroundings. Healthy snakes will be housed in the correct sized vivariums. Vivariums don’t even need to be too big, as a large space can cause stress for a ball python.
For an adult ball python, sized between 3.5 – 5 feet should be housed in a vivarium size of 4ft x 2ft x 2ft. This will give your ball python enough space to stretch out, and also not spacious enough for it to feel to o stressed. Naturally, ball pythons fear open spaces because in the wild they are vulnerable to predatory attacks, and this will be the same with captive snakes. They don’t know the difference.
Environmental conditions can have a serious effect on how fast your ball python grows. The factors can be both both inside and outside of the vivarium and are the most common reasons why ball pythons don’t grow fast, to their full capability. These environmental conditions can include factors such as;
Ball pythons are nocturnal. Many ball python owners will want to spend the days holding and interacting with their pet snake. However this can cause a lot of stress for a ball python as their eyes are extremely sensitive to light.
Ball pythons are ectothermic. This means they can not self regulate their body temperature. They regulate their temperature by moving between cool and warm spots within their enclosures. Vivariums that lack temperature gradient can cause a full grown ball python to stop eating, putting them at risk. Keep a close eye on your thermometer and make sure your heat lamps are working correctly.
Incorrect humidity levels can cause a variety of health problems. This stems from shedding problems, respiratory problems/infections and feeding problems. All of which have growth rate consequences. Again, you can keep track with a digital hydrometer for the more accurate results.
A full grown ball python is generally a very docile and shy species. They enjoy spending their days curled up in hides, avoiding anything and everything. If a ball pythons enclosure lacks a suitable hide, your snake will become stress and may not eat as a result of this.
Any of these environmental factors above can have serious affects on a ball pythons health and wellbeing. Improper levels of any of these factors may result in health issues such and stress and illnesses. This will inevitably lead to your ball python refusing food, which in turn will affect its growth rate.
Well there you have it, everything you need to know on full grown ball pythons. Remember that ball pythons grow at different speeds throughout their first three years. Usually you will see the biggest size gains within the first year as juveniles will be eating more regularly than adults. They will continue to grow until 3 years of age, at which point they will be fully grown as adults.
Each individual may vary in growth rate, but this is completely normal for any snake specie, not just ball pythons.
Most Recommended For Ball Pythons
Bathing Water Bowl – Click Here
Heat Lamp and Guard – Click Here
Reliable Thermometer – Click Here
Vivarium/Enclosure – Click Here
Climbing Branches – Click Here
Hydrometer – Click Here