Ball Python Lifespan: How Long Do Ball Pythons Live?

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Considered a popular pet, the ball python is a long-lived and playful snake. But how long do ball pythons live, in captivity or in the wild? Do female ball pythons live longer? What are your expectations for their average lifespan?

In this article, we will try to answer these questions. We will discuss the average lifespan of this particular snake species, both in captivity and in the wild. We'll also discuss what life is like for this reptile from egg to adult. let's start!

How long do ball pythons live
The average lifespan of a ball python in captivity is 20 to 30 years.

©viper345/Shutterstock.com

How long can a ball python live?

The average lifespan of a ball python in captivity is 20-30 years . It's unclear how long ball pythons have lived in the wild, as their lifespan is usually tracked in captivity. They are popular pet snakes, so it makes sense that we know more about their lifespan in captivity!

The oldest ball python lives at a zoo in St. Louis and is estimated to be 63 years old in 2021. Amazingly, she laid her eggs at 62 years old and hadn't had contact with a male ball python for 15 years. The oldest ball python with an official birth record lived at the Philadelphia Zoo until he was 47 years old.

Given their extended lifespan in captivity, it is safe to assume that ball pythons do well as pets or in zoos. In these cases, their ability to live well in excess of 20 years is evident.

female ball python lifespan

Ball pythons exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning that as adults females are larger than males. However, there was no significant difference in longevity between the two. As you can see above, the estimated oldest boa constrictor was a female boa who laid eggs at 62 years old, while the oldest captive ball python on record was a male boa constrictor.

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Whether you're interested in keeping ball pythons as pets or just want to learn more about them, it's important to understand how their life cycle works. Now let's discuss it in more detail.

How long do ball pythons live?
The oldest ball python lived an estimated 63 years (and is still alive today!)

© Krisda Ponchaipulltawee/Shutterstock.com

Average lifetime of Ball Python

This is the average life cycle of a ball python, from developing in eggs to molting as it ages. That way, you can see how your pet boa is doing at any age!

Egg

Ball pythons hatch from eggs laid by a female snake. Female ball pythons lay an average of 5-10 eggs per clutch (or group of eggs). Ball pythons lay fewer than a dozen large, healthy eggs on average, unlike other species that lay large eggs and hope for the best.

This tends to produce larger, healthier babies. It takes an average of 50-60 days for the eggs to hatch under the mother's care and warmth. Snakes have a unique set of teeth that they use at the right moment to cut their way through tough, soft eggshells.

Once hatched, ball pythons can move within a minute. They are independent and like to feel safe in a smaller enclosure. While it's important to expand a ball python's enclosure as it ages, newly hatched hatchlings prefer to live in smaller containers.

young snake

How long do ball pythons live?
Female ball pythons lay an average of 5-10 eggs per clutch (or group of eggs).

©Heiko Kiera/Shutterstock.com

Juvenile ball pythons are usually two feet long, and females grow faster than males. This is mainly because they lay eggs. Juvenile ball pythons also range in age from two to six months.

As they grow, pythons will be able to eat larger and larger prey, but it is important to only feed pet python food of a certain width, as they will swallow the entire meal. You should also weigh your food – juvenile pythons should not eat any single meal weighing more than 15% of their body weight.

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Male pythons are sexually mature at about 8 months and are still in juvenile stage. Female ball pythons take more time, usually more than two years to reach sexual maturity.

adulthood

Most ball pythons are considered adults when they reach full size. This happens around the third year of their lives. Female boas will be larger than males, about 3-5 feet long, while males will stop growing between 2 and 4 feet.

Female ball pythons are able to reproduce into old age. Many pythons struggle with obesity in captivity, which is why it is important to never overfeed an adult python if you choose to keep one as a pet.

Considering the lifespan of ball pythons, would you like to learn more about other snake species and their lifespans? Now let's compare the different snake species!

How long do ball pythons live?
Many python species are capable of giving birth to babies later in life.

©Mark_Kostich/Shutterstock.com

Comparing the lifespan of ball pythons with other snakes

Can other snakes live as long as ball pythons? Since ball pythons can live for about 20-30 years in captivity, if not longer, here are the lifespans of many other species of snakes:

  • Burmese pythons are closely related to ball pythons. They can live up to 25 years in captivity, but in rare cases they may live much longer.
  • Green tree pythons are brightly colored and well camouflaged in their natural environment. However, they have a slightly shorter lifespan of 10-15 years, both in captivity and in the wild.
  • Reticulated pythons are also closely related to ball pythons. Their average lifespan in captivity is 18-23 years.
  • Corn snakes are a popular pet snake. They are small and easy to care for, with an average lifespan of 10 years in captivity. However, some snakes are known to live longer than 20 years, so this seems to depend on the health of the individual snake.
  • King snakes are another pet snake that is growing in popularity. Their average lifespan in captivity is 15-20 years, much longer than their wild counterparts.
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As you can see, ball pythons are one of the longer-lived snakes on this list, especially in captivity. It just goes to show you how unique and special this snake is!

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baby scaleless ball python
baby scaleless ball python

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about the author

august croft


I am a non-binary freelance writer working full time in Oregon. A graduate of Southern Oregon University with a BA in Theater and a major in Creative Writing, I have an interest in a variety of topics, especially the history of the Pacific Northwest. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping on the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my family's kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast-iron skillet.

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