In this article, we will answer the following question: Will a ball python eat an egg? We will answer the other 9 most common questions when it comes to the feeding of a ball python.
Will a ball python eat an egg?
Ball pythons don’t eat eggs in the wild, and they don’t have the basic physiology to digest them, unlike the African egg-eating snake.
There are some foods that ball pythons should not be fed. This is because they are not a natural part of a ball python’s diet, and they do not meet its nutritional requirements.
You should avoid the following:
- Insects, like crickets. Ball pythons do not naturally feed on wild insects, as they are too small. They won’t recognize them as food, and they won’t thrive on them.
- Fruits and vegetables. All snakes are obligate carnivores, and cannot survive on plant matter. There is no such thing as a vegetarian or vegan snake.
- Eggs, cooked or raw meats, such as chicken. The organs, blood, hair, skin, and bones of whole rodents are essential. Feeding them muscle meat will not keep them healthy.
- Fish, lizards, and amphibians. These animals are cold-blooded, and ball pythons do not recognize a cold-blooded animal as food.
Remember, if your ball python is eating rodents, there is no reason to offer them alternative or supplemental foods. Mice and rats contain the nutrients your ball python needs to grow.
What do ball pythons like to eat?
Ball pythons are among the most popular pet snakes. They are a calm snake that is very easy to handle, but you need to know what to feed a ball python in captivity. Since royal pythons originate from West Equatorial Africa, new owners are wondering if they need an exotic diet plan.
In the wild, ball pythons hunt small mammals such as African soft-haired rats, striped mice, and shrews. They also eat birds occasionally, as they can climb trees. In captivity, ball pythons eat pre-killed frozen rats and mice, thawed in warm water. You can also feed pythons to the chicks.
What do Ball Pythons eat in the wild?
Ball pythons are native to tropical regions of Africa, from Senegal in the west to Uganda in the east. They mainly inhabit savannas and grasslands, but can also live in forests and climb trees.
Ball pythons are not found in temperate regions, like the United States, so their natural prey is not the kind of thing we can get to quickly. Foods that ball pythons can eat in the wild include:
- Small mammals. These can include shrews, rats (like African soft-haired rats), striped mice, gerbils, and anything else that’s small enough to dominate.
- Birds. Since ball pythons can climb trees, birds can be part of their diet.
- Very young hatchlings can also eat insects, to begin with, but they will soon be passed on to rodents when they are big enough.
Would ball pythons eat fish, toads, frogs, or lizards in the wild? Probably not. Although many other snakes do, ball pythons probably wouldn’t see these creatures as food options. This is because they are prepared to search for warm-blooded prey, using heat detection wells near their mouth.
If a python were to starve, they might eat a cold-blooded animal out of desperation. However, it is not possible to say for sure. What we do know is that they don’t recognize these creatures as food when offered in captivity.
Can Ball Pythons Eat Frozen Mice?
Wild ball pythons capture and eat live prey. They kill their prey by constriction, grab the rodent or amphibian, and twist their bodies around it, squeezing it to death.
In captivity, this is not necessary. Frozen rats and mice are readily available online. So it’s just a case of thawing them in a bowl of warm water and offering them to your snake.
Most ball pythons, while not instinctively primed to feed on dead animals, can be trained to eat frozen / thawed rodents. It takes a bit of persistence, but if you buy your snake from a reputable breeder, they will have done this for you before you take the snake home.
We recommend feeding your ball python exclusively rats starting at the size and pinkie size of your newborn. Buy supplies in bulk and store them in your freezer to save money.
If you prefer, you can use mice to start with, until they grow too big for them. However, we found that the transition of ball pythons from mice to rats can sometimes be difficult. So if your snake’s size allows it, feeding them rats can make their life easier.
You can buy live mice and rats from pet stores if you want to feed your snake prey live. However, we would not recommend it. Live prey (especially rats) can attack, bite, and injure snakes in self-defense. This can lead to your snake getting permanently scarred, infected, or even dying.
We’re sure you don’t want to take a chance on your new pet, especially when you can click this link to buy 50 Pre-Killed Frozen Rats on Amazon. It is significantly safer for your snake.
What else can I feed my ball python?
If your ball python isn’t eating rats or mice, there are a few other things you can try. Sometimes ball pythons don’t recognize white mice or rats for food. This is because, in nature, none of the small rodents they would eat would be white.
In this case, you may have better luck with:
- Brown, gray, or black mice and rats
Some suppliers in the US have also started breeding the African soft-haired rat, which is a natural prey for wild ball pythons. They might be a good choice if you can get your hands on them. Here’s our complete guide to raising mice and rats for snake food.
Always make sure to use a reputable supplier for your python’s food. It is essential that your snake is not exposed to parasites or infections from contaminated prey.
Since ball pythons can also eat birds in the wild, you might get lucky feeding them chickens. Some reptile feeding specialists store chicks alongside rodents, although they are harder to find. Furthermore, birds are not the most complete food from a nutritional point of view. Rodents are the best food for ball pythons.
If your ball python refuses to eat frozen rodents, you can try offering them live prey as a last resort. Watch closely when feeding to make sure the rodent doesn’t bite or attack your snake.
Will Ball Pythons eat other snakes?
Pythons don’t eat other snakes. This is because snakes are not a part of a ball python’s diet in the wild, and there is a good reason for that.
Ball pythons, like most other types of pythons, have small heat-sensitive “pits” under their nostrils. These pits are unique to boas, pythons, and pit vipers. They use these organs to detect the body heat emitted by endothermic (warm-blooded) animals, which is mainly the way they hunt.
Since snakes are ectothermic (cold-blooded), they do not emit body heat in the same way that mammals do. For this reason, a ball python will not see a snake as a viable food. However, we still do not recommend keeping two snakes together in the same enclosure.
This happens for the following reasons:
Snakes are asocial animals. They live alone and do not interact with other snakes unless it is time to mate. Always being around another snake could create unnecessary stress. This could lead to illness or food refusal.
Male pythons are known to fight. This is a typical occurrence in nature, during mating season when males compete for the right to reproduce with a female.
Although ball pythons do not eat snakes naturally, if one is significantly smaller than the other (and the large one is hungry), there is a chance they will decide to eat it.
How often do ball pythons eat?
In the wild, ball pythons eat when food is available. As soon as they have digested their food, which will vary depending on how big it is, they will go back to looking for food. They will eat smaller meals more often when they are younger. As adults, they will hunt larger rodents less often.
As a ball python owner, you should follow the same rule for your snake. Young ball pythons (less than one-year-old) should be fed pinky or furry mice or pinky rats about once a week. As your snake ages, you can progress to feeding it every two to three weeks.
Of course, you should increase the size of the rodent you use as your snake grows. It is much better to feed a snake with one large rodent than two smaller ones. Choose a rodent that is about the same width as your snake, or slightly larger.
Keep an eye on the condition of your snake’s body to get an idea of whether its feeding schedule is working. Pythons can overheat if they are offered food too often, leading to obesity. This is because your satiety signals decrease only 24 hours after eating, according to a study conducted in Physiology & Behavior.
In the wild, pythons can sporadically go weeks or even months without eating. For example, it is common for snakes to go a long period without food during winter.
This is because food is scarcer and temperatures are lower. Snakes cannot move as fast in cold weather as they are ectothermic.
A study in Zoology found that ball pythons can lower their metabolism and regulate other bodily processes to cope with hunger. The researchers found that the snakes were able to survive for more than five months without any ill effects.
So if your ball python hasn’t eaten for a few weeks, there is no immediate need to worry. Check your snake’s weight each week and continue to offer it food from time to time. If her weight begins to drop, consider seeing a vet.
Will Ball Pythons Eat During Molting?
If you notice your ball python starting to shed, indicated by its milky blue eyes and opaque scales, don’t try to feed it. Ball pythons generally do not eat during molting because it is a stressful experience for them.
Even if you convince them to eat, they will regurgitate their food most of the time. Wait until they have completely finished peeling, and then offer them food a few days later.
Why isn’t my ball python eating?
One of the only downsides to this pet snake is that ball pythons can be very fussy when it comes to eating. In nature, they would not find the white mice and rats that we offer them.
For this reason, ball pythons sometimes have trouble recognizing them as food. We always recommend purchasing a captive-bred ball python from a reputable breeder, rather than a wild import.
The most important things to remember are that one of the most important aspects that we must know is our pet’s diet. All snakes are carnivorous, but depending on the species of snake that we have as a companion, we must offer it to eat some animals or others.
Also, the frequency of feeding in a snake depends mainly on its size. In autumn and winter, a snake’s metabolism slows down, so they can go even months without eating anything.
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FAQ on Will a ball python eat an egg?
What can I feed my ball python?
You can feed your ball python with frozen rodents, thawed/warmed to above room temperature. This type of snake accepts dead prey, pieces of meat, and specially prepared meals as well.
How long do Ball Pythons fast?
Ball Pythons usually fast up to 6-8 months. However, there is a record of ball pythons fasting for up to 22 months. Fasting is not recommended as it can make your pet ill or cause unnecessary stress.
How long do ball pythons live?
Ball pythons can live up to 30 years in captivity. They are among the most popular pets with snake lovers.
PetMD – What Do Snakes Eat?
Animal Corner – Snake Characteristics
MSD Manual – Nutrition in snakes