Corn snake breeder thinking of getting into ball pythons

Hi guys, so as some of you may know I breed corn snakes and this year will be my second go at it. Later in the year, I plan to buy another pair of snakes, such as hognose, milksnake, kingsnake, or maybee ball pythons. My only problem is that the closest live rat supplier is an hour and a half away and I don’t plan to raise live at the moment. I am just wondering, how hard is it to start newly hatched ball pythons on frozen/thawed? Should I not even attempt it and just go a different path or is there a moderately good chance I could pull it off without having to start them on live? Thank you in advance to anyone who answers.

Some hatchling BPs will take f/t but I wouldn’t count on it. Most usually don’t and you would likely need live rodents.

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I start all my baby balls on hopper mice. Once they take a few of those I try a F/T adult mouse and if they take that then the females transition over to F/T rat pups. Males I keep on mice


In the uk, not a lot of people use live as its not really allowed over here, well unless a last resort that is, and then you can.
So it’s frozen/thawed here, I’m sure there are some who use live but most I know don’t.

I will be using frozen/thawed when I start breeding Royals.

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I’m sure I’ll be fine then with a bit of patience.

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I would make sure to have a back up source on live. I breed mice strictly for ball python hatchlings, live hoppers is the best way to get them started. I fed f/t when I had a smaller collection and I could never get ball python hatchlings to take frozen thawed for there first meal.


I do have a backup supplier an hour and a half away if it is really necessary.

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I’m not trying to be the bearers of bad news but if you are producing a decent number of balls I can almost guarantee you will have a large number of them that won’t take f/t right off the bat. Might be something to keep in mind if your not wanting to constantly make the hour and a half drive.


I plan to stay corn snake heavy and just have 1-3 pairs of ball pythons unless I find a live supplier near me. I watch Brian Kuskos youtube videos and he has successfully fed all his ball pythons frozen/thawed for years without having to feed live, but maybe he is just lucky :woman_shrugging:

I’ve read something where the feeding response can be bred for. So if Brian always bred/bought the pythons that ate f/t first he would likely produce mainly pythons that will eat f/t. Also, each person has their own process for getting them to eat f/t. So he likely figured out what worked best for him.


Interesting point, I will keep this in mind when buying my first pair of ball pythons.


My first year breeding, I hatched one clutch of ten babies. Two took F/T as their first meals… Three months after first shed

My second year breeding, I hatched one clutch of six babies. Two took F/T as their first meals, again, months after first shed

My third year breeding, I hatched thirteen clutches of 104-odd babies. Maybe two dozen took F/T as their first meals

While I had the patience and time to waste a few hours teasing babies for the first two seasons until I got them to eat and then having to assist feed those that were just stubborn, there was no way I could spend entire nights teasing 80+ babies. That was when, on the advice of a couple very big names in the industry, I switched to starting babies on live hoppers.

Now, I offer live hoppers 48-hours after hatchlings leave the egg and >85% will take. Most of my babies have had two to three meals before they even shed their egg skin.

Can you start baby balls on F/T? Sure.

Is it vastly easier and more efficient to start them on live and then transition to F/T after a couple feeds? Very much so


That… is a massive jump from one clutch to thirteen lol. How did you manage that? Or I suppose the better question is how did you prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed?

I would not plan to try and start them on FT. You’ll have enough to stress about with your first clutches without having to deal with non feeders.

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Note that there was lag time between each breeding season. So if we take my first breeding season as Year 0, then my second season breeding was Year 3 and my third season breeding was Year 5. And I have been keeping and building my collection starting at Year minus-4. So third season breeding was basically all the females I had grown up over many years

I did not prevent that. It sucked and I hated it. I have never paired that many females again.