iHerp Answers! mail us Problem? search Search       Create an Account, It's Free!
  Home > iHerp Answers > Is my ball python gaining weight too fast?
Q: Is my ball python gaining weight too fast?
Posted By:

Ivyna J Spyder

In Relation To:

I got a ball python from a neighbor over a month ago who was giving it away for free. Though they meant well, they weren't really taking care of it right. Specifically, they must not have been feeding it nearly enough. When I saw it, I assumed it was a very young snake because of its size, but then they said they'd had it for TWO years! But it was only 144 grams. I was no ball python expert, but I knew they tended to be a lot bigger at that age.

Thankfully he's a GREAT eater. Gobbles down everything I've offered. You can see on his tracking how much he's eaten, and I've weighed him around once a week.

I've been feeding around every 6 days. I started with small adult mice when I first got him, and now he's eating an adult (20-30 grams) and a jumbo (30-40 grams) each feeding. (I don't power feed- I wait til he's swallowed one, then he'll grab and constrict a second. I bet he'd take a third if I offered too!)

And he's already more than doubled in weight! Is that normal in such a short time? Is this just his body trying to 'catch up' in lost time now that he's getting properly sized prey items more frequently? Or is it just getting stored as fat?

Or is most of this added weight going to come out the other end? D: (He hasn't pooped once since I got him, so I'm betting it's going to be a big one when he finally does. Ew. Do they tend to drop a lot in weight when they go? How long before I should start worrying?)

If everything seems okay, should I look into switching him to larger rats soon? These mice aren't even leaving a bump in him anymore it looks like...


Points: 50
Topics: General Health , Feeding , Digestive
Tags: Ball, Feeding, Mice, Python, Undersize, Weight
Species: Pythons > Pythons > Python regius
Administrative: Show/Hide

Member Comment 8/2/2008 10:57:04 PM


how long did you have him that he hasnt pooped,ball pythons tend to hold it in them to digest it all so its common for them not to poop frequently.if it dosent defecate after shedding then you might have a problem.also you should feed him a decent size prey once a week that shows a bulge in him

Member Comment 8/3/2008 12:44:44 AM


I agree with repninja.  One prey item per week, the prey item size should be the same as the girth of the snake.  Maybe its time to switch to rats so that way he only has one item at a time.  Also like what repninja said if he doesnt poop after his next shed, might call and make a vet appt!  Good luck, i hope everything works out for you.  Judd

Member Comment 8/3/2008 1:43:09 AM

Katie M
I tend to disagree with the theory of one larger prey item versus two or three slightly smaller prey.  The theory behind this is that it takes snakes a bit of time to digest (up to a week), and in that time, a very large prey can basically rot from the inside as the snake digests from the outside.  Just my two cents
Accepted Answer 8/3/2008 11:05:23 AM

Joseph Jenkins

I looked at his tracking, if you've had him for a month and a half and hes eaten that much without ever pooping, something is definitely up

Hes probly either constapated or has worms, u might want to see a vet

Author Comment 8/4/2008 1:58:11 PM

Ivyna J Spyder

Joseph: Yeah I figured as much. There is a high chance he has parasites- his last owners were feeding him WILD mice... But I've been waiting for him to poop so I can get it tested to find out for sure! I guess we might need to do something first. Made a vet appointment for Friday, but let's hope he decides to go before then and save everyone some trouble.

Member Comment 8/5/2008 6:10:10 PM

It's also quite possible that he's using all of the nutrients in the rodents you're feeding him to grow. Just like a baby snake, you won't get a defecation as often if there is nothing left to poop.

All of my ball pythons start on rats and slowly work up to one small/small rat every week (between 75-95g). Even my biggest female only gets one small/small rat a week. Ball pythons are very sedentary and just don't need a lot of food. Though a lot of them will take larger prey items, you'll find that they will become overweight rather quickly.
Member Comment 3/28/2011 2:21:23 PM

Justin Miller
Keep his feedings to smaller meals just more of them. If you are feeding frozen thawed it is always to offer the same volume just in smaller amounts so for Example two smaller rats instead of one larger one. With balls it's good to keep a good feeding response so I would keep him to about once a week. dalvers63's response is right on.
You are not logged in. If you would like to participate (it's free!), you must log in, or Become a Member!

Member Login
Forgot My Password
Copyright ©2008, All Rights Reserved. iHerp, LLC | Terms of Use 5/26/2020 5:55:13 AM |