What Can I Feed a Ball Python?

what can i feed a ball python

For new ball python keepers, the issue of what to feed their snake can be one of the most frustrating parts of care. While the answer depends on your snake’s age, health and reproductive status, here are a few general guidelines:

Chewy Online Pet Supplies

35% Off at Chewy.com

+ Free Shipping

Save Now

Ball pythons in the wild feed on a variety of small rodents, such as mice, rats and grass mice.



When feeding your ball python live mice, it is essential that you purchase from a reliable company. Doing so will prevent the transfer of any chemicals which could be hazardous for your snake.

Be sure your mice aren’t too small for your python to swallow whole. The widest part of a python’s body measures an inch across, so only mice smaller than this should be fed to it.

If you are uncertain whether your ball python is suitable for mice, consult a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles. They can tell you if it’s safe for your snake to eat and provide some suggestions regarding what size snake to purchase.

Once your python reaches six months old, you can begin offering it larger prey items. At this stage, you can introduce a rat pup or adult mouse every ten days for its diet.


Wild ball pythons feed on rodents and birds, while in captivity they can be fed a variety of food items such as mice, rats or crickets. It is important to remember that a snake’s diet must include the same types of prey it would find in its native habitat.

The size of the prey item can also influence its nutritional needs. Younger snakes may eat smaller prey such as crickets, while adult snakes should only consume larger rats.

Rats are an easily accessible prey item for snakes, available in most pet stores and rat suppliers. Rats provide important nutrients like protein, fat, and vitamin A.

They provide a good source of calcium, which is necessary for snake growth. Feeding a female gravid python a rat can help her build up fat reserves to protect her eggs when needed.

Rats can be an ideal alternative for ball pythons that are too young to eat mice, or for those with health issues that make them intolerant to live prey taste or smell. Not only are rats cheaper and easier to maintain than mice, but when your snake reaches maturity size they’re much safer to eat than smaller prey items like mice.

Live Prey

Ball pythons can be fed live prey such as mice or rats. Unfortunately, this may not always be an easy choice for snake owners since some snakes may become picky about eating live prey or even fight back during feeding sessions.

Snakes can become accustomed to eating live prey items with some training and conditioning, however most prefer frozen rodents for safety reasons.

Before feeding your snake live mice and rats, get them used to eating frozen mice and rats first. Feeding a large mouse or rat that is too large for your snake may cause regurgitation and create sores in their digestive tract from the acid that comes up during this process.

Once your ball python has reached a bit of age (around three years), feed them once every two to 2.5 weeks or once in three weeks if you’re offering a larger meal. The size of the prey should be slightly smaller than their widest point so they can easily chew it without difficulty.

Frozen Prey

Ball pythons can be fed frozen prey such as rats and mice. Freezing rodents is a great choice for pet snakes since it’s safe, convenient, and provides essential nutrition.

Young ball pythons can begin their feeding regimen on small mice or rats, and as they mature they transition to larger rodents like rats. Rats make for a better choice for older ball pythons due to their larger size and ease of consumption.

Before feeding your snake, ensure the prey has completely thawed. You can do this by floating the rodent in water or placing it under a lamp for several minutes.

When introducing new foods to your snake, it’s best to do a gradual transition from live prey to frozen prey. This will acclimate your snake to the new food and make it easier for them to accept it.

Some ball pythons will not eat frozen prey, while others do just fine. Do your research and feed what you believe your python will enjoy most.