How to Separate Ball Python Eggs Safely

Ball pythons eggs naturally stick together once they’re laid as a way to keep them steady during incubation. 

Although this is a great evolutionary advantage, it’s not the best for fitting them in an incubator.

As we’ll see in this ball python breeding step-by-step tutorial, you should put eggs in an egg box before they go into the incubator. 

The egg boxes we use are normally shallow enough to fit a ball python egg in one layer. To do that we sometimes need to pull them apart. 

Over the years I’ve had to separate plenty of ball python eggs so I’ve learned some tricks along the way to help you in your ball python breeding journey. 

In this post, I’ll go over how you can separate ball python eggs in case you ever run into that situation. 

fresh ball python eggs

What do ball python eggs look like?

Ball python eggs look different depending on where the ball python lays them. They’re usually white and plump. 

Unlike chicken eggs, ball python eggs are soft and leathery. Since they don’t have a hard shell as chicken eggs do, they can tear with enough force. 

A ball python egg is parchment-shelled so that they’re porous and allows water flux across the eggshell. When the eggs are exposed to dry conditions they can dehydrate and affect the viability of those eggs. 

A well-hydrated ball python egg will look plump and full; a dehydrated egg can easily look deflated and wilted.

Since the eggs depend so much on hydration and humidity, a tear in the eggs can be fatal. 

When should I separate ball python eggs?

Ball python eggs in an egg box

You should separate ball python eggs when it provides the best chance at survival. There’s no need to separate ball python eggs in the wild, but in captivity, it could make the difference between hatching and dying. 

For us ball python breeders, separating the ball python eggs is a preference. Here, we only separate eggs when we need them to fit in the egg box. 

It is important because ball python eggs stay in the incubator for about 2 months. 

The incubation process requires high heat and high humidity which is a perfect breeding ground for mold. 

To avoid mold, you must avoid still water touching the eggs themselves. If condensation happens on the egg, it could begin to mold and kill the embryo. 

Because of this, ball python eggs shouldn’t touch any edges or lids of the container they’re in. Ball python eggs have to be separated when they don’t fit into their container without touching the walls or the lid. 

Some ball python breeders will even separate each one so that one never compromises another.

The problem with separating ball python eggs is that when they’re stuck, they’re stuck. You can always pull the ball python eggs apart, but they eventually become so fused that pulling them apart can tear the egg. 

It’s not always easy, but there are some ways and techniques to pull them apart easily and safely. 

CLICK HERE to learn how to incubate your ball python eggs IN DETAIL

How to separate ball python eggs when they’re stuck together

ball python eggs in vermiculite

Slowly pull apart if within a few hours

If your ball python’s eggs were laid within 2-3 hours from when you find them, pulling them apart shouldn’t be difficult. 

Check to see if you can easily separate the eggs by slowly pulling them apart. 

Wet a q-tip to slowly separate the eggs

A few hours after your ball python lays its eggs, they will stick together to the point where they can’t be pulled apart without tearing. 

Although there are ways to fix a tear in a ball python egg(we’ll talk about it later in this post) we’ll try to avoid that as much as possible. 

To avoid tearing the eggs you can wet the area that’s stuck together by rolling a wet q-tip where the eggs meet. 

If you don’t have a q-tip, your finger will work just as well. Just make sure you don’t wet the egg too much to where it’s left dripping. 

Why do ball python eggs stick together?

Ball pythons stick together as a way to keep them from rolling around. This gives them the best chance at keeping humidity and warmth for the best incubation environment. 

During incubation in the wild, the mother snake will wrap around the eggs to keep them warm. The adhesion prevents them from tumbling around making it hard for the mother to wrap around. 

After seeing plenty of ball pythons lay eggs, I can say that some don’t stick to the bunch. Those eggs that somehow miss the sticky stage and roll away from the clutch don’t have a high chance to survive.

Step-by-step: How to breed ball pythons from an actual breeder

How to patch up a ball python egg

ball python in an egg

The bad thing about ball python eggs being soft and leathery is that they can tear. Ball python egg tears are bound to happen the more you try to separate them. Even with the most care, ball python egg rips will happen. 

Don’t lose hope right away when a ball python egg rips, there are some solutions. 

A small tear in a ball python egg can be patched up with non-toxic school glue. Patch the hole and let the glue dry to reinforce the eggshell. 

You can use the same glue to reinforce any thin parts of the ball python egg as well. Ball python eggs don’t always come out perfect. Some have tips that don’t plump up and some have thin parts of the shell which we call “egg windows.”

Egg windows aren’t too big of an issue and they can be reinforced with glue

For larger tears in the egg, a bandaid works great. If you want to avoid the absorbent part of the bandaid, you can use medical tape instead. 

A torn egg is still viable as long as no arteries were torn with it and as long as the egg stays hydrated. 


The best way to separate ball python eggs is to use a bit of water to hydrate them before pulling them apart.

It’s up to you whether you need or want to separate the ball python eggs, just know that separating them comes with the risk of tearing them.

If your ball python eggs have a tear, they can be fixed with some school glue until they hatch. This will help seal the egg so it doesn’t lose much of its hydration which is a vital part in the egg viability.


Lourdais, Olivier, Ty CM Hoffman, and Dale F. DeNardo. “Maternal brooding in the children’s python (Antaresia childreni) promotes egg water balance.” Journal of Comparative Physiology B 177.5 (2007): 569-577.