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How to Breed Ball Pythons
The purpose of this article is to increase your chances of success in keeping ball pythons. I’m going to show you some quick and easy tips that will help you on your way to success in keeping these awesome animals.
ok sex – Make sure your animals are correctly sexed and that you have a male and a female. There are two ways to determine the sex of a ball python, one by “jumping” and the other by “probing”. In my opinion, blasting is the easier method between the two, it does not require any tools and there is no danger or danger for the animal. To probe a ball python, you must insert a metal probe backward toward the tail into the left or right side of the vent. Once the probe is inserted, you perform a scale count to determine the sex of the animal. Males usually probe quite deep around 8 or more undertail scales and females probe around 2-4 undertail scales. I will cover more detailed instructions on how to sex your snake in another article, if for any reason you are unsure about sexing your pets, find a qualified reptile veterinarian in your area. to get help.
sexual maturity – Males and females become sexually mature at different ages and weights. Sexual maturity in ball pythons appears to be determined more by weight than age of the animal, although age most definitely plays a role in sexual maturity. Females usually mature around two or three years old and weigh between 1200 and 1500 grams, some may mature a little faster or a little later, but the vast majority will mature in this age range and weight. Males mature much faster than females and usually reach maturity between 6 months and 1 year, although a few young males breed as young as twelve weeks old! The breeding weight of the males varies from the order of 400 grams for the small ones up to 800 grams or more for the largest beginner breeders.
Seasonal change and temperature drop – In the wild, ball pythons are seasonal animals and usually breed between October and December during the rainy season, with the spawning season being around March and April. Baby ball pythons begin to hatch and take their first meals after the rainy season when prey is plentiful. Now in captivity, they can breed all year round, but having seasonal changes and a drop in temperature increases your chances of having maximum production. I like to start gradually lowering my temperatures in November by a degree or two each week until I reach my maximum temperature drop of 5-7 degrees at night from my daytime highs which in the off season , are 85 to 87 degrees. During breeding season, I go down to 80 degrees on a low night on the warmer side of the tub for three or four months, then go back up to my off-season temperatures of 85-87 degrees.
Pair them for breeding – Once you have determined that you do in fact have a male and a female and that they have reached sexual maturity and weight, it is time to begin pairing these animals for breeding. I introduce my males to my females’ tanks and not the other way around because female ball pythons give off a lot of pheromones during breeding season and these pheromones are great for signaling male ball pythons that it’s time to breed. Once I have introduced the male to the female I leave the pair uninterrupted for 24 hours, after which I check to see if they are actively breeding, if they are I give them another 24 hours, if they aren’t, I move the male to the next female tub and start the process over. Once the male has managed to mate with a female I offer him a small meal which is usually a small rat and 48 hours of rest. Once he is well rested, I repeat the process. I continue this process of pairing my males with females until the females have ovulated or it is clear that they will not produce for the season.
Ovulation – Being able to correctly identify an ovulating female ball python is extremely helpful when breeding for maximum production. Here are some quick tips to help you identify active ovulation and a female that has already ovulated.
Identify active ovulation – A female ball python that is actively ovulating will have a very noticeable swelling of the lower 3rd part of her body; she may even appear to have just eaten a large meal. You’ll also notice his cock being sucked into his clumsy “L” shaped body. This classic position is known as “Suck” to veteran ball python breeders and is a great indicator that the female is ovulating.
Ovulation has taken place – If you happen to miss active ovulation, all is not lost, and you can always tell if your female ball python has ovulated by using these quick tips. First, just observe her for a few days and see where she spends the majority of her time. Is it on the cold end of the tub or the hot end? If it’s on the warm side of the tub, chances are your female has already ovulated and no longer needs to be mated. If she’s still reaching for the cooler end of the tub and wrapping around the bowl, chances are your female hasn’t ovulated and still needs to be bred.
Egg laying and incubation – After ovulation, your female ball python no longer needs to be paired with a male and you can start setting up the incubator and making arrangements for the ball python hatchlings. Just about three weeks after ovulation, she will enter a shedding cycle known to veteran breeders as “POS” which stands for “post ovulation shedding”. After the “POS”, you wait about 30-40 days until your female lays a clutch of eggs.
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