Many breeders purchased their pet ball pythons as babies or juveniles. Thus, it’s common to see keepers become curious about how long their baby or juvenile snakes would get to.
For our ball pythons, growth comes with the responsibility of providing them the necessary care. We become curious about how fast they grow and when they stop growing so that we can factor in the maximum enclosure size they would need.
Growth is an integral part of every living thing. We never actually saw it happen but we can tell when something or someone has stopped growing.
In the case of our ball pythons, we keep wondering “do they stop growing?” if yes, “when do they stop growing?”
However, it’ll surprise you that unlike humans, ball pythons grow in a unique way. That said, I’ll in this article expound more on ball pythons growth rate, when they stop growing, and reasons captive ball pythons will stop growing before reaching adult size. Keep reading to the end.
When Do Ball Pythons Stop Growing?
Typically, a ball python in captivity will stop growing rapidly when it reaches its full size at about three years. In the wild, these creatures take longer to reach the lengths of a full-grown ball python. So, this timeline increases, and ball pythons becoming fully grown at around four to five years old.
That is when you ask about when do ball python stop rapidly growing, but if you are asking about the size and length of your ball python, I would say “never”.
The fact is that ball pythons are ever-growing species of snakes. They’re classified by The Ecology of Indeterminate Growth in Animals as INDETERMINATE GROWERS.
This means somehow they never stop growing. Even if it’s adding only a fraction of an inch in a month, the fact is that they grow continuously.
Ball pythons are fast growers. During the first few months to years of their lives, they grow rapidly. Once they have reached adulthood or adult size usually between 1-3 years of age, their growth rate is reduced.
However, they never stop growing completely as humans would. Being that ball pythons long-lived snakes, they’ll keep adding some inches to their length every month or so.
It’s very simple and easy to know if your ball python has increased in length or not. You do this by measuring and scaling your snake every week. Aside from this, you must also keep records of its growth.
This way it’ll be easy to quickly notice when your snake isn’t growing as supposed to. In sum, as regards when ball pythons stop growing, they only stop growing when they die.
Do Ball Pythons Grow Fast?
Yes, ball pythons grow fast. This rapid growth happens during the first few months of their lives. That is from 1-month to 3 years of age. At 3 years, both male and female ball pythons are considered sexually mature for reproduction.
However, not all captive ball pythons grow with such speed during their first 1-3 years. This stunted in growth is often a result of some factors such as its habitat, diet, and many more.
All of these factors will be explained in detail in the course of this article. Keep reading to find out.
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At Which Age Are Ball Pythons Fastest Growing?
As earlier elaborated, ball pythons grow very fast during the first few months after birth. This means that the moment your baby ball python is born when it starts eating after its first shed, its growth rate is on the increase.
But this is only valid provided that the right quantity of food is given regularly. In addition to that, the conditions of the habitat is kept appropriate.
This is even more important. This reason is because, with improper conditions of the habitat, food alone has very little it can do to their growth rate.
That said, it would suffice to say that a happy ball python is a healthy ball python. And a healthy ball python is the fastest-growing snake.
Will Ball Pythons Start Growing Again?
Ball pythons never stop growing, hence they wouldn’t start growing again. They grow continuously. The only condition where a ball python would stop growing is in the case of ill-health.
In this case, your snake’s growth rate will be reduced drastically or stop completely. Once the snake is treated with the disease, it’ll start growing again. But this is dependent on the individual snake’s eating habits, metabolism, and immune system.
If after recovering from a sickness your snake’s eating habit is poor or its immune system is low, your snake is likely going to slow-down in growth rate.
5 Reasons Your Ball Pythons Will Stop Growing Before Reaching Adult Size
I did mention that ball pythons are fast growers. They grow rapidly in their first few months after birth. However, during this fastest-growing stage, some factors can affect their growth making them slow-down in growth or stop abruptly.
This section will focus on these factors because if you know how they affect your pet snakes you can prevent them. These factors include habitat, diet, and health.
Your snake’s habitat includes its enclosure and every other component of the enclosure. Its surrounding factors such as lighting, heating, humidity, and enclosure temperature if inappropriate will affect ball pythons’ growth rate.
Keep in mind that one of the side effects of improper habitat is that it’ll cause stress to the ball pythons. Ball pythons are nocturnal snakes, hence providing light in their cage during the day will stress them out.
This will even become worse if the tank lacks in cage decorations, hides, and branches. As they are ectothermic (meaning that they rely on the temperature of their environment to regulate their body temperature); they need about 88° F heat in their enclosure.
This heat is needed especially for digesting food. Poor humidity on one end can lead to retained shed or respiratory infection.
In sum, any of these environmental factors that are not properly maintained will not just cause stress to the snakes but may make the snakes refuse to eat.
Your snake’s diet is as important as providing and maintaining the right habitat. The food prey must be nutritious to provide your snake with all the nutrients needed for growth.
A snake that is picky in eating will lack the necessary nutrients for growth, and the result will be a reduced growth rate. That said, keep in mind that overfeeding is as dangerous as irregular feeding.
While overfeeding will lead to obesity, underfeeding will lead to stunted growth and weight loss. For optimal growth for your ball python, the type of prey, size, and frequency of offering the prey play vital roles.
Check our article on Ball Python Feeding Chart where we elaborated more on how to feed ball pythons in captivity.
This applies to all living things, good health enhances or maintains a steady growth rate. Thus, a ball python with an underlying health issue will not grow as it is supposed to.
These health issues such as respiratory infection, retained shed, parasites infestation and many more are often the result of poor husbandry and cage set up.
You would know that your pet snake is sick if your snake refuses to eat followed by a significant weight loss over a short time. These symptoms are often accompanied by lethargy, discharge from the mouth and nose, and breathing difficulty.
Ball pythons are seen to be one of the snakes that can grow big (both in weight and length) if well cared for.
An adult male ball python would grow to 2 to 3 feet on average. The females on the contrary range between 3 to 5 feet or even 6 feet. The males will usually get to that size in their first 12 to 18 months after birth.
But the females take a little more time to get to adult size. Their growth rate is very rapid during the first few months and years of their lives. Besides, this speedy growth rate is influenced by diet, health, and good husbandry.
As a breeder, knowing how long your snake would get would help you to provide it the correct size of the enclosure.