I have had a normal female ball python for about 6 years now and I estimate she is about 6-7 years old. I just got a scale and she only weighed in at the 800 grams. I was really expecting more! I have started (about 6 months ago) consistently feeding her every 14 days a f/t small rat, or else a f/t mouse weekly, whichever I have on hand. I would like her to get to breeding size, which I’ve read is about 1500g? I also stumbled upon someone saying they could breed after their second winter, is that true? She doesnt seem to be really getting much bigger, and she is properly sexed. How can I go about getting her weight to pump up?
And it’s not like she is sickly looking or anything. Shes a good thickness and is very strong and active. Is she able to breed at this size? How long will it take before she can be bred?
Hmmm…I’m not going to lie but this sounds like a interesting case. Is she a picky eater or a mouser? My buddy has a 6 year old girl bp that’s 3400 grams so its astounding that your girl is only 800. If yours has been fed consistently mice then that could be a issue but I’ll let the mods chime in on this cause my guesses could be way off and I can’t say I’ve dealt with something like this before.
Firstly I’d check the sex again, my 7 year old normal is a bad eater and weighed in at 1700g. As for breeding 1500g seems to be the industry lowest but you have to look at body conditioning first. Building eggs takes alot out of your snake. I personally would never breed her as shes already had issues with feeding or gaining weight. Probably better to pick up another female grow her on or buy a female that’s up to weight. The snakes health is more important.
Thank you guys!
There is not proper weight but more of a proper body shape/proportion, they all grow at different rate and of course a lot can impact that weight out of the egg (some can hatch at 45 grams some at 90 grams), how soon they start eating (some will eat first time offered some will start 6 weeks after their first shed), prey size, feeding frequency, fast, and of course genetics.
Over the years I raise quite a few animals I have had animals that we 1200 grams at a year and some that were barely 900 grams at 4 or 5 years, and of course I have some animals that were 4000 grams by age 6, so there are a lot variable but I never focus on weight.
First thing I would re-sex the animal second I would start pairing in the 1000/1100 grams range if the proportion are right. While she does not have the size she has the sexual maturity, and once she lays her first clutch appetite will increase and so will growth, granted there are no underlying issues.
I do know what everyone else is thinking about this, but I really feed a lot more. I feed my girls every week and they are really waiting for it. When they are small I feed mice about the same size as their middle. My girls from last summer get every week a 20 to 25 gram mouse. Before they turn one year old I change to rats and don’t feed mice anymore. In general the small weaners ( from 30 to 50 gram). By the time they get around one to one and half year I feed larger weaners ( 50 to 80 gram) and from there I just check their middle and feed a little lesser thick. My two year old girl is now eating a small rat every week ( 90 yo 120 gram) . She is around 1700 to 1800 gram now. My other girls are growing in the same speed. I did double check several breeders on this topic because I also heard that feeding should be lesser when they grow bigger, but they all advised me to feed every week. I have seven girls from different breeders and asked 6 of them and all advised the same. So I don’t know if she doesn’t want to eat more, but if she wants I would simply start feeding her a rat every week and if possible finish the mice and don’t buy them again. They are really to small for adult ball python girls. The only ones I feed lesser often or sometimes a small prey are the boa’s because their metabolism is slower.
The two winters rule is what I understood only for difficult eaters who are a little lesser than 1500 gram because when they start breeding they often start eating a lott, but then you also have to offer a lott. Only one girl is a difficult eater, the others 6 eat every time and are really waiting for it.
Ps… this for girls, the ( almost) adult boys I feed smaller but still every week, although my oldest didn’t eat for 10 weeks now. It looks like hormones are bothering him
Why do you wait to almost a year to switch to rats?
It’s around 10 months I change. Because of two reasons. The main one it that it is really difficult to get the small rats. Mice I can get everywhere, rats starting from 30 to 50 gram are also a little difficult to get, but at least easier. Finding rats lesser than 30 gram is really difficult. Most people still feed mice till that size.
The second is that I have one small male who only likes rats and the new girl I bought last week also got rats from the breeder. Both are from june and august 2019 and only weight about 160 gram even though I feed the male every 5 days. The female got a 20 gram rat every week from the breeder. My two girls from june and juli 2019 are already 300 gram and I feed them only ones a week a 20 gram mouse. They are growing in the same speed as the three older ones I got very young and are from januari and juli 2018 and also got mice to eat. So I also get the idea they grow quicker on mice when they are young. The biggest problem is that mice stop at 30 to 40 gram and rats get bigger so you have to change to rats in time. Changing around 500 gram range is really easy. They are still in serious feeding mode so with a little scenting they really don’t seem to mind what’s fills their belly. But if you change older it becomes more difficult. I saw that with my oldest male and the champagne girl. I got them when they were 18 months old and it is really a hustle. The champagne is still on mice.
But by now, if I have choose between a slow growing rat eating snake and a older mouser, I’ll choose the slow growing rat eating one because a mouse is really not enough for a adult female.
Yeah I can see if supply is an issue I’m lucky to be able to find whatever I need. All mine sped up quite a bit once I got them onto rats but of course if you don’t have em in the right size not much you can do