This is a very popular question amongst new keepers of ball pythons. When you go to a pet store to select a feeder rodent for your ball python, the selection and size of available rodents can sometimes be overwhelming to new ball python keepers. What you may consider being a “small rat” might be thought of as a “medium rat” - or visa versa - in the eyes of staff working at your local pet store. That’s why it’s ever so important to understand and be able to visually identify if the rodent offered to you is of appropriate size or not for your ball python.
The technique that you will learn from this blog on how to identify the proper rodent size can be applied throughout the entire lifecycle of your pet ball python as it grows into adulthood. You will be able to select the proper size feeder rodent for your ball python with confidence, up to and including adulthood!
The technique for knowing the proper size feeder rodent to offer your ball python is pretty simple and straightforward. “Choose a feeder rodent that’s slightly larger than the largest part – or girth – of your ball python.” The photo below illustrates the area of your ball python that you should use as a basis of measurement.
A keen observation of your snake might lead you to a valid question along the lines of, “The neck and head area of my ball python are a lot smaller than the largest section of its body. Won’t this become a problem?” No, this is not a problem nor will it become one. In fact, ball pythons are physically designed to swallow prey items much larger than their heads. You can read more on this topic in one of my previous blog entries entitled, How are Ball Pythons able to swallow such Large Prey? I must also mention that the size of the circle in the above photo is for illustrative purposes only. You need to base the girth "around the snake" using the circle as a reference point as this section is the largest section of a ball python. The girth "around the rodent" should equal or be slightly larger than the largest section or girth of your ball python.
Hatchling ball pythons can be fed more frequently than adult ball pythons because they are young, active and growing. The frequency of feeding and the type of feeder rodent you decide to offer your ball python is completely up to you. Regardless of the type of feeder rodent you decide to feed your ball python, you can use this technique to identity the appropriate sized feeder rodent throughout the entire life of your pet ball python. I must mention in closing that if you feed mice to your ball python, your ball python will ultimately become much larger in terms of girth than an adult mouse. Feeding more than one mouse either the same day or more frequently will make up for the difference in size.
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