When is it the right time to sell a ball python hatchling, how many feeds?

When is it the right time to sell a ball python hatchling, how many feeds and what type?

In the past i used to sell snakes after 5 consecutive drop feeds, but ball pythons are a bit different and I am new to ball pythons
It seems people prefer more reliable strike feeds for ball pythons???.

Anyway, whats the right time in feed numbers or type of feeds to sell a Ball python hatchling,

Or is a feed after the second shed best?

What is best practice?
I want to do best practice and be confident my babies will thrive :face_with_monocle:


At least 5 consecutive feeds and at least 100g is my rule of thumb before I post them


I make sure they have fed at least 4 times but more importantly is how aggressive their feeding response is. If they are attacking the prey quickly and vigorously, then that’s good to go. But if I have a baby that is really skittish or hesitant, I will go more until they are showing a stronger response. Weight isn’t as important to me because most hatchlings start between 55 and 80 grams and so many hit 100 grams by the time you have given them four good meals. I do have a couple runts this year they came form boob eggs and so that I will play by ear based on their feeding response and whether the Buyer would readily have small prey items available.


That was my old standard for non ball pythons back in the day, i guess its still true with the additional ball python weight of 100g thing added.

Thts what i am not sure about, with a non heat seeker snake, people seem to prefer drop feed in my opinion, like for a corn snake. But I get the aggressive feeder point. Especially when heat of the prey is involved. The food item will cool over time possibly reducing the chance of it being taken. also i have had to re heat sometimes for the drop feeder which cant be good for bacteria. Also it will stink if not taken the next morning. People don’t like that.

My bananas have all had 5 feeds and strike feed immediately, but i have one that still wont strike but will drop feed but not as often, only 4 times and smaller prey. So I am not so confident she would feed well with a new environment with her.

Do you think for the passive drop feeder I should go for more than 4 or 5 meals before selling or does it not matter ? Of course i would state the type of way she and others take food in the advert.


I think since you would be honest and tell the perspective buyer the way they are eating, which we all do or should! It’s fine being drop fed. It is more important to me that a ball python feeds consistently, 1 a week or each time food is offered. In other words, I would feel better purchasing a python that has eaten 3-5 times in a row, rather then yes it’s eaten 8 times but some feeding days it refuses, or goes on a week or two hunger strike before feeding again. To me that is a big concern for a potential buyer, not strike fed vs drop fed. As you stated just be honest. In reality ball pythons, can and do go off food, decide they want live instead of thawed, ect. Established feeders are what we should strive for before selling.


I generally wait until they are on at least confirmed on f/t mice, which is usually their 4th meal. Also agree with the above on how aggressive they are in their feeding response.


I do minimum 5 consecutive. lately I have been going as many as 10-12, I like them nice big and fat before they go on to their new home I also feed them a variety too, live, mice rats frozen/thawed and pre-killed so when they go, I know they have been introduced to all


@zer0stark7 & @nikkip Thanks for your input.
I should have said, Frozen thawed goes without saying for me because i am in the UK. Our laws are a bit over the top regarding live.


Minimum & Recommended Shipping Sizes - just crosslinking these posts.

Also dropping our shipping guide :wink:

Great question Barry.


I really prefer if my snakes eat by strike feeding. I don’t like the idea of just setting the rat inside the tank and letting it sit there. It is a personal preference and I am going to hold my hatchlings/neonates until they have that confidence.


I see your point about confidence and respect your experience, also nothing worse than the smell the next day if not taken.
However, in the interests of learning and discussion I will raise some of my thoughts:
I have one that will take drop food within a few minutes every time and never has missed a feed or left it.
She eat F/T fuzzy rats from the start and as often as the strike feeders. if not more often, never missed a feed and on decent size prey.
What if she never changes? Do they all change eventually?
Maybe she would suit a similar to her, less confident person who might be scared by a snake jumping out of the viv when they smell food. To be honest some of mine have surprised me and made me jump and pull the food away on rare occasions. Also there is the risk of them biting the metal tweezers and damaging them selves in the frenzy.
Although I am thinking of keeping this one anyway. I like her calmness combined with her good feeding response.
However, I do question if that’s a good trait to breed if indeed it is transferable to offspring.


You know how I feel about drop feeding, yes a strike response is the best but I feel as long as it is eating consistently like yours it’s a win! Now the inheritable feeding response in its babies if you breed it is a good question! I think it has been talked about a little before on here, the general feeling is that there isn’t a real noticeable difference with the feeding response. In other words it is likely not genetically linked to cause the offspring to be a bad or good feeder. You can see both ends of the spectrum in a single clutch, from 2 great feeding parents right now I have 4 babies that ate(3 ate twice) and 4 are still refusing any food as of now in my pied clutch! To me your drop feeder is still a great eater, whether you decide to sell or keep for yourself!


I think I probably should have prefaced that I work with primarily boa constrictors. It kinda is a concern if a boa doesn’t want to slam food as they have huge feed responses. I know they are animals and that they are individuals, I was just saying the majority will willing strike feed.