How Early Can Young Female Ball Pythons Breed?

This is a great thread with some very solid information. I would like to add that this question is popular among those who have not bred ball pythons before, and that I hope that newcomers understand the nutritional requirements to support a healthy female through egglaying and recovery. A world of information is out there for us, and sadly a lot of it, is anyone’s opinion.

I truly appreciate JKR as a trusted source of quality facts and opinions weighing in on this subject in a public forum. Everything I read has rung true.

On the other hand, I hope folks with a pair of ball pythons they have raised on pet store live mice, understand that they need to elevate their offerings to provide a female with nutrition to handle the very taxing process that breeding puts on a female especially.

Again, it’s a common newbie question and one most of all of us have asked at one time or another. But responsible care is still of utmost importance as well all learn and grow from experience.

For what it’s worth, this is my first year breeding ball pythons, and the knowledge I have gained in experience is incredible, despite how many paperback books, Reptiles magazines, or internet searching I have read through, making sure our animals are healthy is of utmost importance, way ahead of wondering when we can breed them.

Thanks to the above posters for their valuable inputs. I mean all the best. We have a hobby that is continuously exploding. We will only learn more as we go, and it’s people like you leading the way!


Very well said.

There are so many variables in care that are important. Here here. I too am very intrigued by the topic.


I have females that have laid multiple time for me that aren’t 1800 grams still to this day. Wow.

I do remember the “common knowledge” being if you breed too early, then they would lay small clutches for the rest of their lives. I’ve never found that to hold true in my small experience tho. I could see these weight rules stemming from it or something similar


I have not personally seen these small clutches either. In my opinion, the smaller clutches are the results of underfeeding. I have had females under two lay eggs almost every year for the last 6-7 years and my smallest clutch has been 6 eggs. I’ve had as many as 12 eggs from a first time female under 1500g…I’m really not sure how that happened. This past summer I had two first time females lay 10 eggs right at two years old.

I did experience my very first eggbound female ball this season from an 11 year old female that was around 4kg.


I did have a 4 egg clutch (3 good, 1 slug) from a pewter female I bought earlier this year.

Though she was pretty lean when I first got her:

The breeder I got her from must have been keeping her lean on purpose to save money from feeders. Meh. I started getting her feeding, she was developing follicles so I bred her to my butter spinner male. She was pounding food and reached almost 2kg while gravid.
She’s 1600 grams now after laying and immediately going back on food, which is heavier than when I got her at 1400 grams.
Now she’s chunky and looks like a proper female.


EXACTLY!!! I have been saying this for years. Some breeders actually think they have control of when a female reproduces. As mentioned, in the wild, a female ball python breeds when SHE is ready. Has absolutely nothing to do with her weight, age, or anything like that. Point, blank, bottom line, female ball pythons breed and lay when they want.


This girl ended up laying 4 eggs, 3 healthy, 1 slug.

Hit pretty decent odds though, two females: a pewter bee (pastel cinnamon spider) and a butter spinnerblast (butter pastel spider pinstripe) both of which I kept! The male was a butter spider, ended up selling him of course.

Recent pictures of the two girls, because they’re so pretty:

The female is gravid again this year after taking 2021 off, but I’m not sure how many she’s gonna lay this time around. I wasn’t able to give her a proper palpating because she was being difficult about it lmao, I’ll probably update this with that, to see if she lays another small clutch or something bigger.


Controversial point.
If they are ready they will go despite size and weight, if not they wont. (but just because they can doesn’t mean it is healthy or they should, human females can theoretically reproduce at around 12 but should they? is it safe or right?) its more complex than that.
If too early and they try, you risk serious complications or worse, and even if its not too bad you maybe will have to risk one or two years until they recover and catch up from the excess demand on their system and are ready to go again. even then it may have longer lasting negative affects.

Same goes for breeding every year.

Doesn’t seem worth it to rush things to me

The older and in best condition is my guide.


The reproductive physiology of snakes is so vastly different from that of humans (and mammals in general) that I’d be careful of putting too much stock in that comparison.

Granted, I’m not a breeder, nor am I an expert in reptile reproductive biology, so I realise my opinion probably doesn’t count for much.


It does matter :blush:


Thanks. :slight_smile: I mostly just meant that I can’t offer any first-hand experiences or observations on the topic.

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“The reproductive physiology of snakes is so vastly different from that of humans (and mammals in general) that I’d be careful of putting too much stock in that comparison”

The reason it isn’t recommended a 12 year old girl have a baby is mostly because they are not emotionally mature enough to raise another human being. If the body wasn’t physically capable it wouldn’t be possible.

Snakes are 100% instinct and they don’t have any concern of age or size. When they’re ready, their body tells them it’s time. To compare of snakes to humans shows lack of experience and understanding of how snakes behave.


Well, in humans, another issue is that the pelvis of a 12-year-old girl, even if she’s hit puberty, is usually still small and undeveloped compared to an adult woman. Given the obscenely large size of a human infant’s head, that small pelvis can cause complications during delivery (adult women with small pelvises can experience the same complications).

But since snakes don’t have a pelvis, that’s a non-issue for them.


As can happen in the same female at say 24 years old. We’re comparing apples to pumpkins.


Yeah, that’s my point. Since snakes are built and reproduce totally differently from humans and other mammals, the same rules don’t apply. :slight_smile:


I was agreeing with your post I quoted. My response was actually for ascended. :blush:


Also maybe because they are not finished growing? I personally think breeding anything that is still growing is going to stunt growth as extra energy is being put to the eggs/creatures growing inside them. No scientific evidence just my personal opinion.


Case by case. My wife has been 5.3 and 105# since the 7th grade and we have two kids.

I wouldn’t pair a thin 1200g female but I would a robust healthy 1200g female. They go or they don’t. Again, we’re comparing two drastically different concepts here. My problem is arbitrary ideas casting shade on breeders because of… opinions. No breeder that know their animals well is going to risk the health of the animals in question.


I have no problems breeding a 1200 gram female if she is done growing. A lot of them don’t get much bigger than this. My objection is when a snake clearly has a lot of growing left to do I don’t think they should be breed.

I do disagree here there are plenty of breeders who practice questionable practices.


My sample size is relatively small but I’ve never heard of or seen a mature female top out at 1200 grams.

On the contrary I’ve seen numerous breeders with a larger volume of animals than anyone posting in this forum stating they pair females at 1200ish grams with no ill effects and I’d be shocked if they stopped growing at that weight. I personally have a few females I’ve began pairing at that size and by the time they ovulate and produce they’re 1500+g easy with no observable issues.