Feeding Ball Pythons

Ball Pythons are a constrictor and their diet consists of small rodents. They will eat mice and rats throughout their lives. They are nocturnal, so a good time to feed is at night. A separate feeding cage is recommended so the snake associates the cage with feeding and not your hand. This is a good lesson for everyone: You should never leave a live prey item (other than a pinky mouse that cannot bite a snake) unattended.

Ball Python Feeder-Sizing Chart

  • Hatchling-99 grams: Mouse Hopper
  • 100-199 grams: Mouse or Rat Pup
  • 200-349 grams: Rat Hopper
  • 350-499 grams: Weaned Rat
  • 500-649 grams: Small Rat
  • 650-1199 grams: Small Rat - Medium Rat
  • 1200-2799 grams: Medium Rat
  • 2800 grams and up: Large Rat
Rat Sizes


Ball Pythons eat rodents, primarily rats and mice. The size of the food item is dependent upon the girth of the snake. Don't feed your ball python anything bigger than the thickest part of its body. This is recommended for ALL snakes. If your snake is a hatchling it should be fed every 5-6 days but as it gets older it's not really needed to feed as much, since there fat stores have built up during the year. 10-14 days is good feeding for an adult ball python.

How to get hatchling started feeding

How to get baby Ball Pythons to feed. Start hatchlings feeding on either live rat pups or mouse hoppers. Put the young rodent in the snakes enclosure and leave ot for the snake to feed. It’s a good way to start them off. If the Baby Ball Python doesn’t feed, take the food item out and try again in a few days.

Wait a few days after hatching from the egg before offering the first meal 7-10 is a good starting piont or after first shed.

Here's some steps to follow on getting baby ball pythons started feeding.

Start Week 1 a few days after the first shed. Be sure the hatchlings are housed by them selves in a small 6qt tub with with fresh water and a hide box.

  • Week 1 drop a rat pink in each box and leave it over night.
  • Week 2 again drop a rat pink in each box and leave it over night.
  • Week 3 drop a mouse pink in each box and leave it over night.
  • Week 4 don't even offer them a meal this week and leave them alone. Add some crumpled up newspaper to their boxes for added security.
  • Week 5 again drop a rat pink in each box and leave it over night.
  • Week 6 place the snake in a deli cup with a rat pink in if after few hours they don't eat it, try replacing it with a mouse fuzzy for a few more hours.
  • Week 7- out assist feed a mouse pinky twice a week until they start feeding on there own.

Hint for a ball python that isn't feeding

If your Ball Python isn't taking food, try looking at the temperatures of the enclosure, is his tank to big, are there enough hides? Did you try different colored mice? (If you were feeding white mice try feeding brown.) What time of day where you feeding them? Some Ball Pythons only take during the night, and then some don't care. Ball Pythons will often refuse food if they are handled excessively or when their habitat changes. They will need time to get comfortable in new surroundings before accepting a meal.

Power feeding is never a good idea

Some people power feed there Ball Python so they grow faster; It will cause your snake to become too fat and may have an ill affect. If you over feed your Ball Python it cuts it's lifespan in half. It's called power feeding and should never be done. If you feed your Ball Python one rat a week it will grow to its maximum size. If your snake does not take to rats then you can feed it two adult mice back to back.

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