Ball Python Feeding Tips (Here’s what you need to know)

Wild animals do not have a consistent diet plan like human beings. When it comes to feeding your ball python, it may be challenging to establish their next feeding schedule given this inconsistency.

So, how often should I feed my ball python? Typically, a ball python adult snake, over one year, will eat once every 14 days while the younger ones will eat at least once in 5 days. Understanding your ball python’s age and size will enable you to develop the right feeding program for them.

It may be difficult for you to tell when your ball python is hungry, but you need to find out how often you should feed them since they cannot talk.

If you want to understand how often you should feed your ball python, this is the ultimate guide. We help you know whether you can feed your ball python every two weeks, what is the best way to feed them and how to tell if your pet is hungry. Read on through the rest of the sections to find out all the answers you need.

As a ball python owner, you desire to see your pet grow and thrive in good health. Given that food contributes to good health, you may want to feed them as often as possible, and a feeding routine is necessary.

Usually, a weekly feeding routine is ideal for a ball python. Baby ball pythons will stick to this routine, while the adults may eat once in two weeks. The differences arise due to the fact that the baby ball pythons require food for growth and maintenance while the adults eat only for maintenance.

While you may provide food every week, your pet will decide whether to eat the food. During the cold months, they will refuse food and may go up to a month without eating. These pets are also uncomfortable eating in a new owner’s home. When this happens, you should not worry. As long as your pet is healthy and you’ve kept it in proper conditions, it will eventually resume its normal eating habits.

Another factor that will dictate how often you feed your ball python is their weight. Most snake owners prefer to feed their pets weekly when they want to attain maximum growth. After this, it is necessary to skip some meals for your ball python to maintain a healthy weight.

An overweight ball python’s tail does not taper to a point, and the width between the vent to the tip is usually big. If you notice these signs on your pet, then waiting longer before giving them their next meal is necessary to keep obesity issues at bay.

What Is the Best Way To Feed a Ball Python?

The way you feed your ball python is dependent on their size and age. You need to identify the best time, food, and how to place their food in the cage.

Given that ball pythons are actually obligate carnivores, they eat whole rodents to get the right nutrition. However, frozen rodents are ideal for optimal feeding. While feeding them, you should stick to a routine to avoid overfeeding them. You also need to establish their weight before deciding the number of rodents you can feed them on.

Most snake owners prefer to purchase frozen rodents in bulk since buying a rodent per week is expensive, given the high shipping costs. You can also team up with other snake owners during purchase and order more rodents. While doing this, be careful of stores that experience occasional salmonella outbreaks, as this infection may easily pass to your pet.

If you are unsure how many rodents are enough for your pet, consider giving them rodents that are an equivalent of 15% of their body weight. These rodents, as a source of food, also supply the ball pythons with water. However, you should supply your ball pythons with water in their water dish as they may require it from time to time.

Besides rodents, ball pythons also feed on chicks. When it comes to consuming chicks, not all ball pythons will embrace this option, and you need to identify your pet’s preference. You can also feed your ball python with live rodents where you cannot access frozen rodents.

This, however, requires supervision as adult rodents may injure your pet. Alternatively, go for the unweaned, pink rodents. If, after 30 minutes, your pet does not feed on the rodent, consider removing it from the cage.

When feeding your pet, you should know that frozen rodents will not meet all their dietary needs. Therefore, unlike snakes in the wild, which have variety, your pet may suffer vitamin D deficiency, affecting its health. To deal with this deficiency, dust your pet’s food with calcium and vitamin supplements.

Feeding should take place inside the cage, and you should alert your pet before bringing them food. This is because ball pythons by nature are ambush predators and removing them from the cage to feed them may make them refuse the food even if they were hungry. Finally, given their nocturnal nature, feeding your pet at night is good, as they are mostly active at night. You can, however, experiment with different times and find out what works for you.

How Do I Know If My Ball Python Is Hungry?

Ball pythons, especially adults, can stay up to a month without eating. When they are new, they will reject food as they continue familiarizing themselves with their new environment. If you notice this behavior, do not worry. They will soon signal you they want food when they can no longer sustain their hunger pangs.

A hungry ball python will lay still with its head poised and ready to strike. If you notice this, you should approach the cage with a tissue to signal them its food time lest they strike you. They may also prowl around the cage and flick their tongue more frequently as they seek prey.

When dropping food into your hungry ball python’s cage, you should be very careful. This is because your pet may strike at your hands due to the scent of food. To place food in the cage, use a pair of tongs.

Also, if you have more than one ball python, you should place them in separate cages to prevent them from fighting over food. These pets have curved teeth, and the bigger one may bite or even try to swallow the smaller one.

How long can a ball python snake go without it eating?

Feeding your pet is of utmost importance, and all pet owners should adequately feed their pets to ensure they take care of their wellbeing. Because feeding your pet is vital, it is only natural for you to wonder what will happen to your ball python pet snake when it does not want to eat. We did some digging and found out how long a ball python can go without eating.

A Ball python snake can go without eating for up to six months. These snakes can go for such a long time without eating because of their ability to slow down metabolism. After slowing down metabolism, ball python snakes usually use stored energy. They are not active animals, meaning they do not need a lot of energy and survive with the little they preserve.

If you have a ball python or are thinking of getting one, you might also be wondering if it is normal for these snakes not to eat. You might also be wondering how often you should feel a ball python and whether a ball python can starve itself to death. Read on for answers to these pressing questions.

How Do Ball Python Snakes Manage To Stay up To Six Months Without Food?

Snakes are unique creatures, and many people do not understand their survival tactics. Some may call it nature’s sorcery, but the truth is that ball python snakes’ ability to stay up to six months without eating can be explained.

Snakes, including ball python snakes, can lower their metabolism to levels that help them survive for long without food. Ball python snakes can reduce their metabolism rates by nearly 70%. Additionally, ball python snakes demand very little energy; therefore, they can survive long without eating while still preserving their energy.

When a ball python snake lowers its metabolism rates, its body turns into a storehouse for storing energy. To conserve their energy, ball python snakes usually trim down activities to the bare minimum. With a ball python snake, you generally have a low maintenance snake.

Is It Normal for a Ball Python to Not Eat?

Ball python snakes are not the most compliant when it comes to eating. It is normal for a ball python to not eat, especially in winter. Snakes usually shed their skin during the chilly months, and during this time, they are rarely hungry. Ball python snakes will also not eat when they are ill or when the conditions in their enclosures are wrong. Additionally, snakes go through a regular fasting period, and during such a period, they do not eat.

There are several things you can do to help your ball python snake eat. For starters, you should ensure that you provide your snake with the proper conditions. Ball python snakes enjoy being in dark and warm environments. Therefore, ensure your snake’s enclosure provides your snake with such ambiance.

But what if you duplicate all the ideal conditions that your ball python snake likes, and they still refuse to eat? Because ball python snakes can refuse to eat for several other reasons, you need to stay calm and find out the exact reason for your snake’s behavior.

In quite some cases, you will find that you do not need to worry. If, for example, your female snake is not eating because it is ovulating, you do not need to worry because as soon as the breeding season passes, your snake will most likely go back to eating as usual.

If you think that your snake is not eating because it is sick, you should inform a vet and have it checked out as soon as possible. It is important to note that stress, too, can cause snakes not to eat. It is an often-overlooked matter, but pets too can get stressed because of many things. For example, your snake could be stressed because of being put in an enclosed place, having come from the wild where it was not used to enclosure.

A picky ball python snake can also stop eating when you introduce it to different prey. The general rule is that you should carefully decide what to do about the situation, depending on why your snake refuses to eat.

How Often Should You Feed a Ball Python?

Ball python snakes eat different types and sizes of prey depending on their size. Small ball pythons might feed on crickets, fuzzies, or pinkies, while adult ball pythons might prefer eating adult rats and mice. It is, however, not enough to know what your snake should eat. Knowing how often you should feed your ball python snake is also as important as understanding what you should feed it.

Usually, adult ball python snakes should be fed after every 10 or 14 days. A ball python snake whose growth rate has slowed down can be considered an adult snake, and the growth rate usually reduces after year one. Any baby ball python (less than a year old) should be fed every 5 or 7 days. Young ball python snakes can stand regular feeding because they digest food faster than adult snakes.

Will Ball Pythons Starve Themself To Death?

When your ball python refuses to eat for a long time, it is only natural for you to wonder whether it is on a mission to starve itself. A ball python will only seek to starve itself to the point of death under limited circumstances. If a snake lives in deplorable conditions, it might starve itself to death.

If the owner neglects it and fails to provide it with a proper diet, a ball python snake might starve itself to death. A ball python snake might also starve itself to death if it is stressed. Nonetheless, cases of ball python snakes starving themselves to death are rare.

To prevent your ball python snake from starving itself to death, you should take proper care of its enclosure, ensuring that your snake never lives in deplorable conditions that could lead them to decide to starve. Also, invest in cleaning out the snake’s enclosure and in an enclosure big enough for your pet to move around freely.

It is also vital that you try to duplicate the snake’s natural habitat to reduce the chances of stress being an issue. Also, keep the snake’s enclosure as warm as possible to reduce the chances of your snake becoming stressed. Note, that, if your ball python snake decides to starve itself, it will most likely only die if it stays without food for more than six months since snakes can stay up to six months without eating.


Ball pythons, just like other snakes, are not frequent feeders. Therefore, they can skip some feedings, and this should not worry you. However, if they skip more than two feedings, it could be a sign of disease, and you should contact your vet for a checkup. You should also watch their diet and ensure they are getting enough supply of all the essential nutrients.

While you may fear giving them a lot of food in one feeding to prevent them from being obese, ball pythons naturally control their weight by reducing their food intake up to once a month. Therefore, as a pet owner, you should stick to a regular feeding schedule and supply the food to their cage. If they do not eat at the end of the day, it is okay to remove it and wait for the next feeding.

One of the most crucial things you need to remember is that snakes do not need to be fed daily like most pets. It is also important to remember that even though it is normal for your snake not to eat, you should try to ensure it eats as regularly as it should. Lastly, remember to offer your snake a comfortable enclosure and life to prevent it from starving itself to death. Do this, and your ball python snake could live for many years.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

Recent Posts