Ball pythons are one of the most sold reptiles in the United States. But most of the buyers do not know all the fact about this reptile. Its scientific name is Python regius (also known as Royal Python). It is a constrictor. The ball python is native to Western and West-Central Africa. Most ball pythons sold in the US were born in Togo, Ghana or Benin.
They are known escape artists so the first of your considerations if you plan to raise one is to get an all-glass enclosure with a sliding or even multiple sliding screen tops. You can also consider investing in a commercial fiberglass terrarium or have one custom-built. Do not feel secure if the door to an enclosure is hinged. A python can lift the door and escape.
- Breeding ball pythons take time and a lot of patience and hard work. Be sure you are prepared for it. And make sure that the ball pythons have reached maturity before breeding. And breeding period may vary depending on the temperature.
- Set up a pre-breeding environment. The male and female python should be kept apart from each other except during the actual breeding time. The climate should be controlled. Shut off heat and light for fourteen hours a day in the beginning of November. The light and heat should only be kept on during the day.
- By the early part of December, place the female with the male for two days once a week. It should be done at the same time every time. The routine should be done until the middle of February.
- After breeding period resume the normal temperature and lighting prior to the breeding process. During the pregnancy the female may refuse to eat.
- The eggs (clutch) will be laid around March or April and the female will wrap her body around the eggs. You should remove the clutch and place them in an incubator soon after these were laid. Reminders: The male and female should again be kept separate from each other. The clutch should be in the proper position, right side up. It will help if you mark the tops of the eggs to prevent inverting them.
- The standard incubation chamber should be half-filled with moistened vermiculite, covered and kept at 85°F to 92°F. You can use an aquarium with shallow water with a water-safe heat control device placed in the water. Place the eggs, which are in a container with vermiculite in the aquarium, suspended over the water. A non-conductant lid should be placed over the aquarium to prevent heat loss.
- When the hatching begins you may see the heads of baby ball pythons (hatchlings) emerge from slits in the shell. They may stay like that for up to twenty-four hours as they adjust to breathing fresh air and continue to absorb the rest of the yolk. When they fully emerge from their shells, transfer them to a clean, moderately-humid terrarium as their moist incubator may have bred some external parasites. Place a small container of water inside the terrarium and start feeding them pinkies (baby mice) for about two to three weeks maximum.
Raising just one snake is expensive enough, so think carefully before you decide to breed your ball python. Determine if you have a market for the hatchlings and their food supply sources. A clutch of six hatchlings will consume 6 pinkies every week. Moreover you have to provide enclosures for them, too.