Snake’s diet varies depending on species. Some snakes primarily feed on eggs, while there are those snakes that won’t eat eggs at any time. So, can ball pythons eat eggs?
Ball pythons are pretty friendly, and they don’t grow too big; thus, they occupy a small space. These snakes are favorite pets among reptile enthusiasts because it is easy to care for them. But the main challenge comes in if you don’t know what is safe for ball pythons to eat.
In this article, we’ll learn if ball pythons can eat eggs and look at other foods they eat.
What Can Ball Pythons eat?
The common thing about all snakes is that they are carnivores. The only difference comes within species, where some snakes eat warm-blooded prey, and others safely feed on amphibians, eggs, insects, earthworms and other reptiles.
Likewise, young and adult snakes don’t eat the same thing. The younger and smaller snakes eat small prey, and the adult can handle animals that are relatively large like rodents. The same also applies to ball pythons.
The ball python’s diet varies with age. Younger pythons exclusively eat the smaller prey, which they can comfortably swallow. They mainly feed on baby mice and large crickets. On the other hand, mature ball pythons ingest a couple of foods such as mice, rats, chicks, etc.
Learn more: what do ball pythons eat – the complete list
Ideally, the appropriate prey size to feed your ball python should be equal to the snake’s widest part of the body or slightly larger. Any food bigger than this body part isn’t safe for the snake to eat because it will be difficult to swallow and can cause a choking hazard.
Can Ball Pythons Eat Eggs?
Ball pythons can’t feed on eggs at any time. These snakes will exclusively eat pre-killed and live prey. Snakes don’t masticate food, but they swallow whole prey.
They have a jaw that is structured in a manner in which the mouth can open wider than the snake’s body for easy swallowing of whole prey.
Typically, snakes that merely eat eggs use vertebral hypophysis (spiky part of the vertebrae) to pierce the hard-shelled layer of the egg. Digestive juices can take a pretty long time before dissolving the shell, so piercing shortens this period.
Snakes that don’t eat eggs like ball pythons, lack this vertebral. If they resort to eating eggs, this means that they would try to regurgitate them, and sometimes it’s difficult to spit the egg out. Unfortunately, if the snake is unable to spit out the egg, it might end up dying.
Other snakes that don’t eat eggs are rattlesnakes and boas. It is necessary to understand what a particular pet snake should eat to prevent giving foods that might harm it.
How Often Should Ball Pythons Eat?
It is good progress to know what ball pythons can eat and what they can’t. Now, the other significant thing is to understand how often these pets should eat.
The number of times to feed your dearest snake depends on its age. For instance, young ball pythons should eat 1-2 times a week, while the old pythons tend to eat only once a week.
Remember, the snakes swallow a whole prey, and this normally takes a couple of days before digestion is complete. Ideally, it takes 4-5 days for a python to digest the prey fully. During this time, the snake prefers to hide in a dark spot, which encourages smooth digestion.
Usually, snakes defecate after digestion is complete. It is only after defecation that you should feed your animal, but allow it first to rest for one or two days.
Fully understanding your ball python will help you better take care of them. As a suggestion, we would recommend you to get the best ball python book. Not to become an expert on ball python care but will help you avoid the common mistake in new pet snake owners.
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Also, snakes are not active throughout the day, they tend to be more active in the evening and at nightfall, and this is the best time for them to eat.
How Should I Feed My Ball Python?
To reiterate, ball pythons need to eat pre-killed or live prey. However, it is good to avoid feeding live animal feeders to your pet snake and go for the pre-killed ones.
The thing is, the live prey will fight for their lives and, in the process, might cause injuries to your snake friend. Eventually, such injuries will result in infections, and this is the last thing you want.
Also, allow the snake to eat whole feeders as their organs, skins, and other body parts supply it with essential minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients beneficial for the snake’s health. You can buy pre-killed prey like mice and rodents from the pet stores.
You can also freeze some dead prey and preserve them for the snake to eat during other days. However, make sure you thaw the frozen food to room temperature before feeding your pet. Feeding cold feeders can kill your snake; avoid them at all costs.
Why is My Ball Python Not Eating Food?
Although ball pythons are fussy and will not eat what they don’t want, there are so many reasons that can make them keep off from food.
First, when the snake is sick, normally it doesn’t eat food, and it appears more sluggish and tends to hide more often. If you observe other signs like distress and weight loss in your snake, you need to ask for a reptile vet assistance.
Secondly, snakes can go for several weeks without food during the winter season, and most of them will hibernate. Thirdly, giving prey that is too big for the snake to handle will force it to stay away.
Female snakes normally don’t eat when they are incubating their eggs. Moreover, perhaps your pet is ignoring food because it is preparing to shed, or it is already in the shedding process.
Your pet snake might also be refusing to eat because of stress from intolerable temperatures or humidity in the enclosure. You will need to have a correct thermometer and hygrometer to monitor the temperature and humidity, respectively, in the cage.
If you are handling your snake excessively, this is enough reason to make the snake avoid food because of stress. It is good to have a good time with your snake but don’t handle it too often; it might get bored easily.
Ball pythons can eat a variety of foods, including mice, chicks, rodents, gerbils, etc., but will never eat eggs. Their digest system isn’t adapted to digesting the eggs.
Consider feeding your ball python, or any other pet snake whole prey that are pre-killed. Feeding live feeders are inhumane for the prey and unsafe for the snake.