Breeding Schedules (Ball Pythons)

What does your breeding schedule for your ball pythons look like? Everyone is different… when you first introduce your males to your females, 1) how long do you keep them together? 2) how long do you keep them apart after confirming a lock? 3) how many times do you introduce your male back to the female before she’s visibly gravid? 4) how long do your girls take to lay their eggs? 5) how long do you incubate before cutting eggs?

Thanks, looking forward to some great discussion!

I usually pair them up around Oct. I’ve paired smaller males with success, around 500g, and smaller females, around 1200g. I’d generally recommend waiting a little longer on males because if they are strong breeders and go off feed they don’t have much reserve to fall back on. I haven’t seen any ill effects from pairing up a little earlier than the recommended 750g / 1500g general guideline but some find that schedule controversial.

  1. 2 to 3 days
  2. 1 month
  3. I continue introductions until the female ovulates or if the male goes off food for too long (judging by body weight/condition). This can be anywhere from 2 or 3 confirmed locks to 10+. I probably average around 4 or 5.
  4. How long until eggs? about 30 days after pre-lay shed or 45 days after ovulation. Unless you mean the actual process of laying eggs, which is usually a few hours but sometimes longer.
  5. Incubate until first pips. Usually around 60 days. Debatable whether cutting is beneficial but I’ve cut all but one of my clutches and haven’t lost a single baby (coming up on my 3rd consecutive breeding season).
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awesome thanks for your reply!! I’ve seen so many different methods and schedules. I’ve done corn snakes once, but this is my first year breeding ball pythons, super excited! pairing up a proven mojave female to a banana leopard first-timer male.

so would you say you tend to breed for 4-5 months, then? until she ovulates?

Just me, not a recommendation:
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0) - when you first introduce your males to your females, Any time they seem ready, I do not do seasons. But I do check for low pressure and introduce at those times if possible.

  1. how long do you keep them together? Until the lock is over or 2-3 days
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  2. how long do you keep them apart after confirming a lock? 2 to 3 weeks or so.
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  3. how many times do you introduce your male back to the female before she’s visibly gravid? It varies, as many as it takes or untill she refuses him consistently .
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  4. how long do your girls take to lay their eggs? Temperature dependant and maybe also individual dependant, in my small sample 28 to 32 days after pre lay shed.
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  5. how long do you incubate before cutting eggs? Again temperature dependant. Remember even expensive thermometers are not 100% accurate. Especially if your not calibrating them. see link for how to- Post your own special tips and tricks for ball python husbandry - #2 by ascended
    I dont have 2 with the same reading. But i find its cutting is not needed. I would not window but might slit after a week after the first slit. But I have not needed to. Consider there may be a slight thermal gradient in your incubator as well as inaccurate thermometers, I now rotate my egg boxes to reduce any variation in temperature as much as possible.

The above has given me no slugs and 100% hatching hatching rate and all healthy hatchlings for my small sample of my first 3 ball python hatchlings. And stood me well in the past for many more colourbrids (minus the barometric pressure and temperatures for colourbrids).
My only caveat was I kept all the breeders one degree lower than most internet recommendations for non breeding temperatures to preserve sperm viability.

For me (and others peoples systems). If its not broken don’t fix it. Again, not a recommendation, just what has worked for me,

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Sweet, thanks so much for contributing to this thread. This is really helpful for me and I’m sure other folks too. I’m looking forward to using the wealth of knowledge while entering our first ball python season. I’ve got a C Serpents/Hot Box incubator on the way!

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Your welcome, many more experienced than me here will will also help more than me. explore the discussion regarding that and come to your own conclusions.
I have found this is the best place to discuss and learn for me as an experienced snake breeder in the past but as one new to ball pythons.
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I forgot to say, - I also tried to incubate a few degrees cooler than the internet suggested because some people here advised it to avoid health problems (which made sense to me with my past experience with other snakes,). But a heat wave in the UK messed that up for a good few weeks.
Consider, regardless of incubator quality, the background heat or coldness even has an effect too :slight_smile:
We had over 42c - 106 f which is unknown in the cold UK and so I had to cool my snake room so my eggs would survive to the best of my ability.
That also messed up temperatures and so expected dates of everything.

I would advise use the numbers as a guide only and be patient. there are too many variables

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