Slow Grown or Worryingly Small?

I’m inquiring because ultimately I don’t have much experience in variations in size, but a ball python I’m interested in is a 2 year old male that’s currently only 279 grams in weight. That sounds worryingly small, but the breeder/seller is insisting that the snake in question is just being “slow grown”. In pictures its body condition appears relatively healthy, but at 2 years old still looks very much like a hatchling. My 2019 hatchling weighs more than him at over 300 grams and in no way powerfed. Wanted opinions on the matter before I proceed further.

While they all grow at different rates and a lot comes into play from size out of the egg to how fast the animal take it’s first meal to genetics, 279 grams from a 2 year old male is very small.

So that could mean one or two things, the animal is a poor feeder or as the breeder answered is slow grown aka maintenance fed, all you need to do is feed an appropriately size prey once a week and he will catch up

I grow my animal slow but I don’t maintenance feed, sadly some people have a hard time between the extreme of maintenance feeding or overfeeding.


Thank you for the reply. I thought that sounded pretty small. I’ve never heard of maintenance feeding before, so that’s good to know. Would you say this is in the camp of extreme cases?

Seller says that they feed him a small adult mouse every week currently, before he was apparently eating every other week with no mention of him being a picky eater or missing meals. Does that feeding schedule sound in line at all with his weight? It doesn’t really sound like it to me, but again I’ve only had a hand full of ball pythons.

Edit; you mentioned genetics can be at play, the animal in question is a super mystic pastel pied, poss spider.

It is very small my personal expectation for a male are 350 to 500 grams by a year.

Small mouse is definitely too small at 120 grams they can take down an adult without issue and now he can definitely take a large mouse. So year that is maintenance feeding.


@stewart_reptiles Would you say that having been maintenance fed to that degree that the animal would still be able to achieve a normal adult size if put on a proper prey size/feeding schedule, or would it be safe to assume it would end up a small adult at best?

He will reach the size he is meant to achieve it will just take longer.


That’s good to know. Thank you for your time and replies! :smile:

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