27 Ball Python Facts (Only Ball Python Owners Know)

I’ve lived with ball pythons for about 7 years now and the facts I’ve learned about them keep getting better. Here are 27 of the most random ball python facts I have as a ball python owner.

Fact 1: Ball pythons fart 

You read that right. Ball pythons fart and it’s not just a little air escaping, it’s a full-on trumpet blaring sound. 

Ball pythons digest their food and it creates gasses in their bodies just like we do. There’s only one place for the gas to escape and it’s through their cloaca(snake’s version of a butthole).

They release that gas as a fart when they poop and it can be very loud. 

Fact 2: There are 7,300 different morphs

Butter Spinner Adult Ball Python

Ball pythons are a one-of-a-kind snake species because there are no subspecies, but they inherit genes from their parents that give them specific colors and patterns.

Banana, Albino, Blue-eyed leucistic, and Pastel are popular ball python morphs. Each of these morphs has unique traits we can differentiate by its color and pattern. 

Fact 3: Don’t boop  their noses

Ball pythons are head-shy meaning they don’t really like being touched on their heads. Some ball pythons will get used to people petting their heads, but most will jerk away from your touch.

The jerking action is a reflex they use protection. 

Fact 4: Ball pythons can swim

Ball pythons aren’t aquatic, but they can swim when given the opportunity. Put a ball python in water and they will move their body side-to-side to swim forward. 

They won’t ever swim underwater, but they will try to find a shallow place to escape the water. They can’t breathe underwater but they’re known to hold their breath for a few minutes at a time especially when soaking in their water bowls.  

Fact 5: Females grow bigger than males

Scientists believe that female ball pythons grow larger than males because the larger the female is, the more eggs they will have.

You can cut ball python eggs before they hatch. Here’s how.

Fact 6: They are escape artists

Ball pythons, like most snakes, can get out of an enclosure or tank if the enclosure isn’t secured. If your ball python is in an unlocked enclosure there is a high chance they will try to escape at one point or another. 

Fact 7: Albino ball pythons aren’t all white

We know albinos as having no pigment, but it’s actually a lack of melanin. Ball pythons that lack melanin still have a yellow pigment that shows their pattern.

The all-white snakes that you commonly see are actually leucistic which is a different genetic phenomenon that makes them lack all pigment. 

bel ball python
Blue-eyed lucy

Fact 8: No two snakes are the same

There are hundreds of thousands of ball pythons imported from Africa in the United States, many of which are the same morph, but no two snakes look alike.

A ball pythons morph affects its colors and patterns, but their patterns aren’t carbon copies of each other. 

Just like we have our own unique fingerprints, ball pythons have their own unique patterns. 

Fact 9: Eye wrinkles

Ball pythons’ eyes will sometimes have wrinkles or indents in their eyes. They don’t have eyelids. Instead, they have a layer of skin called eyecaps to protect their eyes. 

The eyecaps sometimes get wrinkles in them if it’s dry, but it’s nothing to worry about. They actually shed their eyecaps just like they shed the rest of their body. 

Fact 10: They constrict their prey

ball python eating

Ball pythons are non-venomous so in order to kill their prey, they will constrict it. Even though it’s not in their name ball pythons are constrictors.

Other constricting snakes include boa constrictors, anacondas, and corn snakes.

Fact 11: They’re shy 

Ball pythons are naturally shy. They will hide most of the day and only come out to hunt or breed. Not only that, but they also prefer to crawl into a ball and need to get comfortable and confident before they start exploring and roaming around.

Fact 12: They are nice 

Ball pythons are a docile species that will resort to striking in high-stress situations. They are more likely to strike when they’re little as a defense. As they grow older they become more mellow and not very defensive. 

Fact 13: They each have different personalities

Ball pythons may seem like simple-minded creatures. After all aren’t they just big worms? Not so much. Their mind and behavior are a little more complex than that.

Every ball python has their own personality. In other words, they have unique behaviors and habits that you get to know the longer you have one.

Fact 14: Sticky eggs

ball python eggs

Ball python lay their eggs separately but they stick together once they dry. This is no evolution mistake. Ball python eggs sticking together gives them the best chance at survival.

A study on reptile egg positioning showed that eggs with the embryos at the top had a higher hatch rate and survival rate than eggs with embryos at the bottom of the eggs. 

We believe that keeping the embryo in the upright position, even if that means reorienting the eggs within 12 hours of laying, will create the best hatch rate. 

Facts 15: Ball pythons can lay infertile eggs

Not every egg a ball python lays is fertile. Ball pythons lay an average of 7 eggs at a time but sometimes they’ll come out infertile. These infertile eggs are called slugs.

 The difference between a fertilized ball python egg and a slug isn’t the fertilization. They look completely different. 

A slug is small and darker yellow while the fertilized egg is plump, large, and more white. 

How to hatch ball python eggs

Fact 16: Ball pythons fight with their necks

Ball pythons do not fight to the death. They will strike at any predators or when they feel threatened, but they’ll treat their own species differently.

Male ball pythons will fight other male ball pythons over a female by pushing their necks together and bucking each other. The loser is whoever gives up first.

17. They’re climbers

Ball pythons are ground-dwelling creatures. They are what is known as terrestrial (of or relating to the ground). 

Even though they are mostly found on the ground they will climb if they want or need to. Ball pythons have even been found in burrows in tree trunks well above the ground. 

They’re not the best at climbing like most arboreal creatures, but they will give it a shot.

Fact 18: Prefer mice over rats

Ball pythons have food preferences. They seem to prefer mice over rats. When ball pythons don’t eat, their owners can offer their snake a mouse that they’ll eat right away. 

This could be because they are smaller or it could be that they have a completely different scent.

Not only do they have prey preferences, but they also have preferences of live food vs frozen/thawed. 

Ball Python Feeding Guide

Fact 19: They’re curious

Ball pythons like to explore. They are shy but once they warm up to a place or person they’ll be crawling left and right exploring their surroundings

Fact 20: They make good pets

Ball pythons are one of the best pets to have. They stay small, they’re docile and they don’t make too much of a mess. 

They’re perfect beginner snakes for those who want to have a reptile companion.

Are ball pythons good pets?

Fact 21: Ball pythons are born with a tooth

Ball pythons hatch from eggs. Their eggs are a delicate, leathery material that can be cut open. Ball pythons are born with a tooth to help them rip open their eggshells.

The tooth falls off shortly after they hatch and it’s barely visible to the naked eye. 

It’s is made of dentine and enamel, two materials that make up our teeth. 

Fact 22: Headstamp pattern

Ball pythons have unique patterns on their heads depending on their morph. Some genes have similarities within the morph of their head pattern. This is called a headstamp. 

A great example of an easily detectable headstamp is the Spider morph headstamp.

Ball Python
Blade Super Pastel het Clown

Fact 23: Their color changes as they age

Ball pythons are born bright colored and with clean patterns no matter their morph. As they age, the colors of their scales change. Most ball pythons will get darker and their colors usually fade. 

Some morphs will lighten with age like a Puma for example. 

Fact 24: They have infrared sensors

Ball pythons use a combination of vision, smell, and infrared sensors to detect any prey or threats. 

Their infrared sensors are in those holes on their upper lip called heat pits. 

These heat pits play a very important role in their survival and it’s a sense unique to certain reptiles. 

Fact 25: They don’t burrow

Lots of sources will tell you that ball pythons will burrow, but the truth is they don’t make burrows themselves.
In the wild, ball pythons can be found in burrows, but they take over burrows of other animals like rabbits or rodents. 

It’s rare for a ball python in captivity to create a burrow for itself. They’d rather go into a hide and stay above the substrate. 

Fact 26: Ball pythons hiss

Ball pythons like most snakes don’t have vocal cords, but they can make sounds. They can hiss to ward off any predators or express discomfort.

A snake’s hiss is just air being pushed out of their larynx, unlike vocal cords which make sounds with vibrations. 

They will rarely be defensive enough to hiss, but the ones I’ve seen hiss are grown, whereas babies are more likely to strike. 

Fact 27: They can retain sperm 

Ball pythons have the unique ability to retain sperm and use it when they choose to. The longest time recorded for a python to hold sperm is 14 years. 

This was discovered when a python mysteriously laid viable eggs after not being with a male for 14 years. 

Resources

Aubret, F., Blanvillain, G. & Kok, P. Myth busting? Effects of embryo positioning and egg turning on hatching success in the water snake Natrix maura. Sci Rep 5, 13385 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep13385

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54121551