Ball Python size is part of their appeal as a pet snake species. They get big enough to easily handle, but not so big that housing them becomes difficult. Overall, most Ball Pythons end up being around 4ft (1.2m) long as adults, which is a perfectly manageable size. Like all snakes, there are some “big fish” stories out there, but I still haven’t seen a 6ft long Ball Python!
Let’s take a look at the factors that affect size and how fast Ball Pythons grow, before giving you access to some more in-depth articles on the subject.
How big do Ball Pythons get?
Ball Pythons are medium sized species. Much stockier and more robust than a Corn Snake for example, but also smaller and more manageable than a Boa Constrictor.
Their average size is around 3-3.5ft (90-106cm) for males and 3.5-4.5ft (106-137cm) for females. It must be said though that this varies a great deal, and buying a male doesn’t guarantee you a smaller pet. In fact, I have one male that is over 4ft long, and one female that is under 3ft, though both are perfectly healthy and normal.
|Males:||3-3.5ft (90-106cm) – occasionally 4ft (120cm)|
|Females:||3.5-4.5ft (106-137cm) – maximum 5.5ft (168cm)|
Factors Affecting Ball Python Size
Size is what we call a continuous (aka quantitative) trait: something that varies on a scale. As in humans, Ball Python size is determined by a number of genes, rather than just one. So predicting how big your snake will be is very, very hard.
Fortunately, most snakes fall within a broad size range, despite varying alot within it. This is mainly because if there was a 1ft long male, he’d have a hard time mating with a 20ft female – this is one factor that keeps a species a species, after all.
So, what you get with Ball Pythons are snakes that range from 3ft (90cm) to 5.5ft (168cm). Yes, that’s a size variation of 86.66%, but that is the outer limits of their size variation. You can still be almost certain that your Ball Python will within those two lengths when fully grown.
2. Feeding Habits
Like any reptile, overfeeding or underfeeding Ball Pythons will affect their growth. It’s become pretty trendy these days to try to give your snake a “life like it would have in the wild”. So much so that there’s people feeding their Ball Pythons only once a month, and saying its good for them.
To me, that’s just cruelty, fuelled by idealism and a touch of anthropomorphism. In truth, the appetite of these snakes varies throughout the year and by individual. Some adults will only eat once a month or not at all for some parts of the year, then eat ravenously in the run-up to the breeding season. That last thing you’d want to do is deprive them at that point.
Take a look at the Diet topic at the end of this post for more information on how to set a healthy feeding routine. With regular, intuitive feeding, your snake will grow to its full potential size without becoming obese or underfed.
By environment, I mean the enclosure. Ball Python enclosures need to achieve a few things, asides from providing the correct temperatures and humidity levels.
They also need to provide a place where your pet is safe from injury, and a place where it can feel completely sheltered from predators (even imaginary ones). This is fairly easy to achieve by including a couple of sturdy resin or plastic hides.
If your snake has secure hiding places like these, it will eat more regularly when young, and grow at a steady rate until it reaches full size.
How Fast Do Ball Pythons Grow?
Obviously growth rate varies according to all of the factors I’ve mentioned above. Under optimum conditions Ball Pythons do tend to grow at broadly similar rates, however. Take a look at the table of averages taken from some of my snakes below:
|Age in months||Average Length||Average Weight|
|Hatchling||10-12in (25-30cm)||40-70 grams|
|2 months old||12-14in (30-40cm)||90-150 grams|
|4 months old||14-18in (35-45cm)||150-300 grams|
|6 months old||18-24in (45-60cm)||300-600 grams|
|12 months old||24-28in (60-71cm)||600-900 grams|
|24 months old||28-36in (71-90cm)||900-1800 grams|
|36 months old||28-48in (71-120cm)||900-2250 grams|
|Males over 36 months old||28-42in (71-107cm)||1200-1800 grams|
|Females over 36 months||3.5-4.5ft (1.06-1.37m)||1800-3000 grams|
More on this subject:
- How big do Ball Pythons get?
- How long does it take for a Ball Python to grow? (and how care affects size)
- Volta Ball Python facts, myths and truths…