Are female or male Ball Pythons more aggressive?

Are female or male Ball Pythons more aggressive?

Are female or male Ball Pythons more aggressive? Neither female nor male Ball Pythons are aggressive. There are subtle differences between the sexes, however…

Are female or male Ball Pythons more aggressive? Neither female nor male Ball Pythons are aggressive. There are subtle differences between the sexes, however…

Male and female Ball Pythons are incredibly docile. In fact, temperament seems to vary more by individual than sex. While neither sex is more aggressive (defensive) than the other, there are slight differences between them. These differences are more to do with their attitudes towards food and each other than us.

Are Ball Pythons friendly pets?

Acid ball python handling

Ball Pythons are friendly pets in the sense that they are incredibly docile, and some even like to come out and explore with you from time to time. You can read more about this here.

In my experience, highly strung ball pythons are incredibly rare. It has to be said, however, that genetic variation both on an individual and morph-based scale does play a role. Many hobbyists say that the Puzzle, Confusion and Acid morphs are jumpier than most others.

When handling my animals, you can definitely see that the Acid morphs tend to move a little faster. Some of the Acid babies are also a little jumpier. I still wouldn’t say that they are in any way aggressive, though. They calm down just as well as any other Ball Python morph with time.

In any case, it’s rare for Ball Pythons to bite once over a month or two old. Even if they do, what we are really seeing with nippy babies is defensiveness. They still haven’t decided whether you’re going to eat them or not, so they either roll into a defensive ball or strike out.

There probably is no such thing as a truly “aggressive” Ball Python. That’s why I always prefer to say “defensive” instead.

As adults, defensive ball pythons are very rare. If an adult of either sex is being defensive it is usually either because it is shedding, sick or never been handled – not because it’s male or female.

Acid Spinner Ball Python close up

Are female or male Ball Pythons more aggressive?

As we’ve just discussed, Ball Pythons aren’t aggressive. Furthermore, I find that both sexes are equally docile when faced with humans. That’s not to say they’re the same, however.

Each sex has certain behaviours and activity patterns that are typically male or female. This comes down the fact that they each have slightly different priorities. For females, the main priority is often getting enough food to produce a healthy clutch of eggs. For males, the priority is copulating with as many females as possible, and chasing away other males.

Let’s look at two examples from my snakes, and a short list of their particular habits.

Example 1, Maisey, displays what I would call very female character traits, while Example 2, Ruben, is a typical breeding male. Both were around 8 years old at the time of writing, and in full health.

Example 1: Maisey

  • Quite shy but very calm, tolerates handling well. Nonetheless, she doesn’t like to be held too high above the ground.
  • Very occasionally decides she doesn’t want to go back in her enclosure and gives you a wrestling match.
  • When very hungry, springs out of her tub and strikes wildly. This is generally during early winter when she’s building follicles.

Example 2: Ruben

  • Docile most of the year but restless if handled during breeding season.
  • Great feeder but goes through fast once a year if breeding.
  • Gets restless during breeding season and tries to get to the females constantly.
Ruben the male Pastel Clown Ball Python
Ruben the male Pastel Clown Ball Python

Are female Ball Pythons ever aggressive?

Ball Pythons are wonderfully laid-back, docile animals. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have the incredible world-wide popularity that they enjoy. In fact, you can keep them and literally go years without being bitten, if at all.

Notwithstanding, there is one time when a female Ball Python will become excessively defensive, to the point of striking at you. This is of course when she is protecting her eggs. Eggs are a protein-packed treat that many predators, from Monitor Lizards to small mammals go crazy for. It’s only natural for a female Ball Python to be jumpy when guarding a clutch of 6 or 7 of them.

If you decide to breed Ball Pythons, you should expect the occasional nip from a brooding female. Fortunately, these lite taps and are almost painless. You can read more about potential bites in the Do Ball Pythons bite? article.

Are female or male Ball Pythons more aggressive?

Do female Ball Pythons fight?

All in all, it’s true that male Ball Pythons like to fight each other more than females do. Notwithstanding, females will occasionally fight both other females and unwanted males that they want to kick out of the enclosure. Your best bet is to never attempt cohabitation with this species.

Fortunately, if a fight does occur – during breeding for example – it’s not physically dangerous to them. It is stressful, however. One of the most common outcomes from a fight is no physical harm, but a great deal of emotional harm. Often, the loser will go into a sulk and stop feeding for a while, depending on how sensitive it is.

With competitive species like the Ball Python, it doesn’t matter what sex you keep, they are all capable of fighting and should always be housed alone.

Female Spinner Blast Ball Python

Table: behavioural differences between male and female Ball Pythons

Sex:Male Female
FeedingWill fast if breedingWill fast when gravid
Breeding season behaviourRestlessnessExtreme hunger
Do they fight?Yes, oftenOccasionally
Are they ever defensive?– As hatchlings
– during shedding
– As hatchlings
– during shedding
– when protecting eggs

What’s better, a male or female Ball Python?

Now you know neither sex is truly aggressive, and both are docile to humans. So, which is better? That depends on your long-term plans.

Personally, I have a very slight preference for female Ball Pythons. Really this is just because most of them tend to get a little bigger and chunkier than the males. But then again, the males can be a lot more active during the breeding season, which is a big plus if you want to observe them.

If, for example, you invested in a glass-fronted pvc enclosure rather than a tub, you might be better of with a male. I’m not saying females are always less active than males, but when breeding it certainly is the case. Some males will search for females for days on end. In fact, it’s probably the most activity you’ll ever see from this otherwise sluggish species.

On the other hand, if you plan on breeding Ball Pythons in the future, you’re better off buying a female to start with. Females of recessive morphs like Clown or Pied are more expensive, and a better investment. This is because they are the ones that lay eggs, and that’s what breeding is all about!

This also means that males are cheaper and generally easier to find, whatever their morph may be. If you have no plans to breed, but really like the Piebald morph, then why not save yourself some money and buy a male?

The truth is that asides from the slight behavioural differences I mentioned earlier, male, and female Ball Pythons behave almost exactly the same way towards humans. Your only considerations are whether you count on breeding, and whether you would like a female in the hopes that she will grow a little larger.

Further information

I hope this article has helped answer some of your questions! If you’d like a full Ball Python care sheet, follow this link to my Ball Python Care Sheet.

Other resources related to male and female Ball Python behaviour:

What Are the Pros and Cons of Choosing a Female Ball Python?

Differences Between Male and Female Ball Pythons

Are Ball Pythons Aggressive? 04 TIPS to Tame An Aggressive …

2 thoughts on “<center>Are female or male Ball Pythons more aggressive?”

  1. Hi were looking for a pied ball python (juvenile) female, do you breed these or able to pass on a number or website to us who do, reputable only plz

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