Are you ready to breed ball pythons as pets? This may sound like a simple question, but one seriously needs to consider all the facts before going ahead with such a decision. You need to make sure that you have proper food supplies. A female ball python will lay a clutch of 4 to 8 hatchlings. These hatchlings each have a different food taste, you will need to cater to them all. Secondly, you should have a customer base to sell these hatchlings or you will have to keep feeding and cleaning them for life. Next, breeding these pythons is not an easy task. Many times, the eggs fail to hatch, hatchlings die within a few days, or sometimes they tend to eat up each other on introduction. If you are ready to face all these problems and take good care of your pets, then continue reading.
Steps to Breed Ball Pythons
Breeding ball pythons is easier said than done. Ball pythons reach sexual maturity between 18 months to 4 years of age. Their breeding season in captivity is between November to March. You should stop feeding them during this time. Make sure they are in good health and weigh properly. Females need to be 1,200 grams in weight and about 18 months to 2 years of age. Males need to be 700 grams and at least 1-year-old.
When the month of October begins, you need to turn off the heating pad at night. Allow the temperatures to drop towards 73 to 75ºF at night. During the day, the temperature should be maintained at 85 to 88ºF. Maintain a thermal gradient to help the snake regulate itself. Turn off the lights the minute the sun sets in your area. This helps create a more natural atmosphere for the snake and helps stimulate the natural photo period.
Introduce the male to the female on the 1st of November. Within a few hours, the snakes will start courting and copulating. Leave the male with the female for 2 days. Then place another female with the male. You should keep the male to female ratio to about 1:3 and maximum 1:4. Do not mate one male with more than 4 females as it will stress him out and he will eventually die. Continue this cycle till March. By January, the females will have started developing egg follicles, so make sure you are keeping a watch before you introduce the male to these females' enclosures.
Separate the male from the females once a week and offer a little food to both of them. It is very important to give them a break for rest and food. This will help keep the male's stamina up for the entire breeding season. Offer them food even if they refuse to eat it. If the male refuses to eat food, loses weight, and looks too worn out, you should remove him from the scent of the breeding females. He should no longer be a part of the breeding cycle. His health is more important.
By the end of January, ovulation will begin in the females. You will see a swelling on the mid body of the female with a tight constriction on the top of the tail. When you see the female ovulating, it means that she is gravid. Stop placing the male ball python near her. The length of time from follicular development till ovulation is extremely variable. It can take from a few weeks to 6 months to occur. The female will shed her skin a few weeks after ovulation. This shedding is called a pre-lay shed and is used by the female to form a nest. After about 30 days, she will begin to lay her eggs.
By the end of February or early March, females will lay 4 to 8 eggs. You need to prepare an incubation chamber by bringing home a 12qt Rubbermaid box. Fill it halfway with vermiculite and add water to it till it forms clumps. Make sure the mixture is not too wet as it will kill the eggs. If you feel the eggs are too dry, add a little more water. After placing the eggs in the vermiculite mixture, close the box.
There is no need to place holes in the box as air will be circulated if you keep opening the box every couple of days to check on the eggs. Place the box in an incubator shelf. If you do not have an incubator, you can place an electric tape on the top of the tank and put a piece of 1/8 inch glass over the tank. This will help seal humidity and temperature in the tank. Incubate the eggs at a constant temperature of 89ºF for about 55 days.
Gradually, after laying the eggs, the female will start eating normally. Breeding albino ball pythons is more or less the same. Only make sure that you bring in an albino ball python pair together for breeding. This was all about how to breed ball pythons. You need to put in a lot of time, labor, and patience if you plan on breeding these creatures. Hope the above information helps you successfully breed these beautiful snakes.