How Big do Ball Pythons Get? Ball Python Size & Growth Chart

When it comes to snakes, “large” and “small” are relative terms…

For example, many hobbyists may refer to Ball Pythons as a “small” or “medium” snake, but did you know that some exceptional Ball Pythons have attained lengths over 6 feet?!

That’s longer than the average person is tall!

Still, thanks to their relatively slender body and lack of limbs, Ball Pythons (opens in new tab) don’t take up much space, especially when coiled up – even at those lengths.

Most people are in for a shock when they “unravel” any snake – these guys are masters of deception when it comes to their actual size. They love to fit themselves into small, tight spaces.

To further complicate matters, baby Ball Pythons start out life pretty tiny, and like most reptiles, they grow slowly. Slower than, say, a puppy, kitten, or human baby.

To become a Ball Python growth expert in under 10 minutes we’ll help you answer the following questions:

  • How fast do Ball Pythons grow?
  • How can I tell if my Ball Python is at a healthy weight?
  • What kind of Ball Pythons are the biggest?
  • Why isn’t my Ball Python growing?

So, regardless of whether you already have your pet Ball Python and want to find out if or how much more it will grow OR you simply want to decide if an adult Ball Python’s size fits into your home and lifestyle, just keep reading!

How Big do Ball Pythons Get?

Full grown ball python
Knowing the expected adult size of any reptile is critical before adopting as this will allow you to properly assess whether or not you have adequate space for their enclosure.

On average, adult Ball Pythons measure 3 to 5 feet long and weigh about 2.5 to 5.5 pounds.

When they curl into their namesake defensive ball, fully-grown Ball Pythons should be about the size of a volleyball or larger.

The thickest part of their body is about as big around as a baseball or an orange.

Ball Pythons will continue to grow throughout their entire lives, but most of them reach “adult size,” and their growth slows down considerably, at around 3 or 4 years of age.

If you’re not exactly sure how old your Ball Python is or how big it should be, given its age, you may find the following age-associated size guidelines to be helpful.

It’s important to keep in mind that this information is “on average”, but each Ball Python will grow at its own rate depending on its genetics, food source, environment, temperature, and more.

Slower or faster growth is NOT necessarily a cause for concern.

Baby Ball Python Size

Hatchling Ball Pythons typically measure around 10 inches long and may weigh 30 to 100 grams, although 40 to 60 grams seems to be the average. 

Their initial growth rate will vary widely based on their hatchling weight. Some healthy 3-month old Ball Pythons may weigh only 100 grams, while others hatch out of the egg already weighing 110 grams!

Larger females tend to produce larger eggs… which means larger babies.

Generally speaking, a hatchling Ball Python should double its weight by around three months old, at which point it may be considered a juvenile.

Juvenile Ball Python Size

It’s reasonable to expect a juvenile Ball Python to measure 16 to 24 inches long and weigh between 500 to 1000 grams.  

A baby Ball Python that has doubled its weight may weigh as little as 80 grams or as much as 300 grams. Most reputable breeders sell their Ball Pythons once they’ve reached that milestone and entered the “juvenile” stage.

At this point, your juvenile Ball Python will still be growing rapidly.

It’s reasonable to expect a juvenile Ball Python to gain around 50-100 grams per month, give or take. It will continue this growth until it’s at least a year old, when it may weigh anywhere from 500 to 1000 grams.

As long as your juvenile Ball Python continues to gain weight, rather than lose it, you’re on the right track!

By the time your juvenile Ball Python reaches its first birthday, it will probably measure 16 to 24 inches long.

Sub Adult Ball Python Size

A sub-adult Ball Python measure 2.5 to 5.5 feet long and gain an additional 300 to 500 grams per year  

Ball Pythons are considered sub-adults when they’re 1 to 3 years old. At this point, they’ve put a decent amount of size on, but they’re still growing noticeably fast, and they aren’t quite adult-sized.

Many sub-adult Ball Pythons will reach an adult length before they reach their adult weight – you could consider this the “lanky teenage phase,”.

In fact, from 2 to 3 years, you will notice that your snake seems to be “filling out” more than growing in length.

Adult Ball Python Size

An adult Ball Python measure 3 to 5 feet long and weigh 1,200 to 2,500 grams

Most Ball Pythons will reach their full size at three years of age, which is when they will be considered an “adult”.  However, those who are fed and grown on a slow schedule, might not reach this milestone until 4 or 5 years of age.

At this point, they’ll measure 3 to 5 feet long and weigh 1,200 to 2,500 grams. From this point on, they will continue to grow, but the growth will be so minor that you probably won’t even notice!

How Fast do Ball Pythons Grow?

Young boy observing ball python in enclosure
Like children, Ball Pythons certainly experience growth spurts! Between 3 months and 1 year growth will be lightning fast and slow down slightly until around 3 years of age for most snakes, at which point they should be relatively done growing.

It’s a good idea to have a general understanding of how fast your Ball Python will grow so that you can plan accordingly for its food and enclosure.

Of course, a Ball Python’s growth is mainly dependent on extremely variable factors, such as:

  • Prey species
  • Prey health
  • Prey nutrition status
  • Feeding frequency
  • Hunger strikes
  • Temperature
  • Snake’s activity level
  • Snake’s overall health and potential illnesses

Contrary to popular belief, Ball Pythons and other reptiles do NOT grow to fit their enclosure!

They will continue to grow to their full potential as long as you feed them, regardless of the size of their habitat.

Please do NOT try to keep your Ball Python small by keeping it in a cruel, cramped enclosure.

Even Ball Pythons that had extremely stunted growth for the first few months or years of their life will reach their full potential size; it just takes them a little longer.

Ball Python Growth Rate

Ball Pythons grow extremely fast in their first 12 months of life.

By the time they reach a year old, they’ve usually doubled in length and weigh ten times as much as they did when they hatched!

They continue to grow noticeably for the next two to three years, or until they are three to five years old.

After Ball Pythons reach their adult size, typically from 3 to 5 years old, their growth slows considerably.

It may not be obvious or apparent to you, but if you track the numbers with a scale and measuring tape, you will see the numbers slowly creep up over the years!

Ball Python Size & Weight Chart

Age

Weight

Length

1 Month

50-150 Grams

10-12 Inches

2 Months

70-170 Grams

10-12 Inches

3 Months

90-180 Grams

10-12 Inches

4 Months

140-280 Grams

12-18 Inches

5 Months

190-380 Grams

12-18 Inches

6 Months

240-480 Grams

12-18 Inches

7 Months

290-580 Grams

12-18 Inches

8 Months

340-675 Grams

12-18 Inches

9 Months

390-750 Grams

12-18 Inches

10 Months

425-850 Grams

18-24 Inches

11 Months

450-950 Grams

18-24 Inches

12 Months

475-1100 Grams

18-24 Inches

18 Months

600-1800 Grams

24-30 Inches

24 Months

800-2000 Grams

30-42 Inches

30 Months

1000-2200 Grams

36-42 Inches

36 Months

1200-2400++ Grams

36-48++ Inches

How to Tell If a Ball Python Is Overweight

Ball Python Eating Rat
Just because your snake doesn’t need to eat every day or weekly… doesn’t mean they need to gorge themselves on exceptionally large prey! 

Obesity is a prevalent issue in captive snakes, especially inactive species like Ball Pythons.

Obesity will, undoubtedly, shorten the life of your snake and make it very unhealthy.

The tricky thing about snakes is that scientists have found they store fat internally before they store it externally.

By the time your Ball Python starts looking chunky, it’s already built up a massive store of internal fat that’s putting pressure on its organs!

Here are some signs that your Ball Python may be overweight:

  • Wrinkles or folds in the skin
  • Scales are spaced apart, with skin visible and stretched between scales.
  • Evenly round body
  • Feels “squishy” instead of “firm”
  • Tail tapers drastically starting at the vent; tail looks skinny compared to the body

Here’s what to do if you expect that your Ball Python is overweight:

  • Start tracking its weight, so you know if something is working to help it drop grams!
  • Feed a smaller prey size or different prey species. Mice, rabbits, and chicks are lower in fat than rats.
  • Offer food less often. Overweight adult ball pythons can safely go 28-56 days without a meal.
  • Add branches, bird ladders, and ropes to the enclosure to increase your snake’s activity level.
  • Encourage your Ball Python to move more by handling it more often and placing it on climbing opportunities (get creative! Stair banisters, bookshelves, cat towers, wooden chairs, and ladders are all great ideas.)

How to Tell If a Ball Python Is Underweight

While an overweight Ball Python is undoubtedly the more common issue, some pet Ball Pythons become underweight due to illness or the prolonged hunger strikes they’re known for.

An underweight Ball Python will have a ridged back and a sharp triangular body shape when moving on a flat surface.

Severely malnourished Ball Pythons may have a belly that curves in, loose skin, sunken eyes, and bony jaws.

If your Ball Python is underweight, you can:

  • Start tracking its weight, so you know what’s helping it gain weight.
  • Feed a larger prey size or a fattier age and species of prey. For example, extra-large retired breeding mice have more fat than adolescent “small” or “medium” rats.
  • Offer food more often, up to every ten days for underweight adults or every five days for malnourished babies.
  • If appropriate feeding practices don’t help, take your Ball Python to your reptile veterinarian for a health check. Of particular importance is a fecal exam to check for parasites.

Are There “Miniature” or “Giant” Ball Pythons?

Are you worried that an average-sized Ball Python may not fit in your home and lifestyle, but you’ve already fallen in love with their appearance, temperament, or husbandry requirements?

Unfortunately, if you think they’re too large, “miniature” or “dwarf” variety Ball Pythons aren’t a thing – yet. Due to sexual dimorphism, males do tend to be smaller than females.

It may also help to purchase offspring from parents that are smaller than average, but there are no guarantees.

However, if you’re looking for something on the “giant” side of the Ball Python size spectrum, you’re in luck!

Imported Ball Pythons from the region around the “Volta” river are notoriously large and in charge.

These giants routinely reach lengths of over 6 feet and weigh over 4,500 grams! They also have proportionately larger heads than similar-sized “normal” Ball Pythons.

Why Isn’t My Ball Python Growing or Gaining Weight?

Underweight Ball Python
It is imperative that snakes under a year of age continue to gain weight and grow month after month. Regularly weighing your snake and making note of their progress is recommended. 

If you’re worried about your Ball Pythons growth, the first thing to note is that as long as it’s NOT losing weight – things are likely fine.

And as long as it’s gaining some weight, even if it’s not as much weight as you’d expect, things are good, and you likely don’t need to change anything.

That being said, some serious issues could affect your Ball Python’s growth, and they’d need to be addressed.

Ball Python Growth Problem #1: Parasites

Intestinal parasites are the number one cause for unexplained weight loss, or lack of growth, in young animals, including Ball Pythons.

Other symptoms of parasites include…

  • Lack of appetite
  • Regurgitation
  • Discolored or diarrheal stools

Researchers have found that because many parasites present similar symptoms the only way to diagnose intestinal parasites is by taking a fresh stool sample to your local reptile or exotics veterinarian.

From there, they will examine the fecal sample it under a microscope for the presence of microscopic parasite eggs.

Different types of parasites require different medications and at varying frequencies. Your veterinarian will make the proper prescription and give you all of the information you need.

Ball Python Growth Problem #2: Insufficient Diet

It may seem challenging to underfeed a snake since they’ve evolved to go very long periods between meals.

The truth is that not everyone is accustomed to the idea of Ball Pythons ingesting prey that is larger than their head! Beginner snake owners may be tempted to feed their Ball Python pinkie rats when, in reality, they’re ready for smalls!

A Ball Python’s food should be as wide as the widest part of the snake’s body or slightly wider.

It’s also challenging to remember and follow a new routine with something that happens so infrequently – once a week to as little as once a month! It helps to create a reminder on your phone or a note on your calendar.

Ball Python Growth Problem #3: Winter Fasting

While these tropical snakes don’t necessarily go through an entire brumation, like their temperate cousins, Ball Pythons will sometimes decide to fast through the Winter – or any other time of year, for any reason, honestly.

Fasting is not necessarily a cause for concern unless your Ball Python starts losing weight.

At that point, it’s time to start looking into ways to tempt your snake to eat, such as…

  • Scenting the prey
  • Braining the prey
  • Zombie walking the prey
  • Warming the prey
  • Offering alternative prey items
  • Assisted feeding

Ball Python Growth Problem #4: Disease or illness

There are many other diseases and illnesses that could stunt a young Ball Python’s growth.

If you’ve looked into every other potential cause above, your best bet is to take your Ball Python to a veterinarian for further diagnostic testing.

Wrapping Up How Big Do Ball Pythons Get

While Ball Pythons emerge from their eggs as tiny babies, sometimes even weighing less than 50 grams, they all grow up to be a medium-large snake that’s capable of taking down rats and adorning your neck as you move around the house.

Their growth rate varies based on several factors, some of which are uncontrollable, but they generally take 3 to 5 years to reach their full adult size of 3 to 5.5 feet long.

Even if your Ball Python isn’t growing as fast as our chart suggests, try not to stress too much. In general, any growth is good growth!

Determining your Ball Python’s age based on its size or comparing it to the size of other Ball Pythons that are the same age won’t do you much good – every animal grows at its own pace!

The MOST important things you can do are monitor your Ball Python’s body condition and weight, so you can ensure that it’s growing without becoming overweight or underweight.

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