What Do Pythons Eat?

Pythons, boas, and anacondas: what‘s the difference? Giant snakes capture our attention as stars of monster movies. None of these huge snakes are venomous or evil. Reticulated pythons, boa constrictors, and anacondas are some of the biggest snakes in the world, and many people get confused about which is which.

If threatened, some pythons roll into a ball and tuck their head in the coils; others may try to escape, get into a striking, or S-shaped, position, or use their constricting power if grabbed. They are found in rainforests, grasslands and savannas, woodlands, swamps, rocky outcrops, desert sand hills, and shrub lands, depending on the species.

Most pythons seek shelter in tree branches or hollows, among reeds, in rocky outcrops, or in abandoned mammal burrows. The python can also feel the preys heart beating, so when it stops, the snake knows it is safe to release its coils and begin to eat. The skulls joints are able to flex and fold along with its extremely pliable skin to maximize the mouth space, allowing very large food items to pass through its esophagus.

Depending on the size of the snake, pythons may eat rodents, birds, lizards, and mammals like monkeys, wallabies, pigs, or antelope.

What are pythons favorite food?

Depending on the size of the snake, pythons may eat rodents, birds, lizards, and mammals like monkeys, wallabies, pigs, or antelope. One rock python was even found to have a small leopard in its stomach! Once the meal is consumed, pythons look for a warm place to rest while their food is digested.

What do you feed a python?

Pet ball pythons are mostly fed domestic mice, rats and chicks. Just as wild pythons eat a variety of prey, it is important for your pet snake to have variety too. Mice and rats are the staple of a ball python’s diet, but adding the occasional chick, quail, or young rabbit can provide enrichment.

Can a python eat a human?

The reticulated python is among the few snakes that prey on humans. … Considering the known maximum prey size, a full-grown reticulated python can open its jaws wide enough to swallow a human, but the width of the shoulders of some adult Homo sapiens can pose a problem for even a snake with sufficient size.

Do pythons eat dogs?

Reticulated pythons are the world’s longest snakes and can grow to nearly 23 ft, they usually feed on birds and small mammals in the wild, but when found close to human settlements, they have been known to eat dogs and, in some cases, people.

Burmese pythons, one of the largest snakes in the world, are best known for the way they catch and eat their food. The snake uses its sharp rearward-pointing teeth to seize prey, and then coils its body around the animal, squeezing a little tighter with each exhale until the animal suffocates. Stretchy ligaments in their jaws allow them to swallow animals up to five times as wide as their head!

But exceptionally large pythons may search for larger food items like pigs or goats. They have poor eyesight, so instead they stalk prey using chemical receptors in their tongues and heat-sensors along their jaws.

They are capable of reaching 23 feet (7 meters) or more in length and weighing up to 200 pounds (90 kilograms) with a girth as big as a telephone pole. Research biologists Skip Snow and Mike Rochford prowl the Everglades examining and removing these unwanted, invasive snakes.

You might think that both captive-bred and wild ball pythons have a pretty straightforward and similar diet, but do you know the differences? Naturally, what your ball python eats in the wild will be different from how they get food in captivity, but the menus do overlap a bit.

Image Credit: Jodi Erickso, Shutterstock Ball pythons are native to West Africa, thriving in wetlands, thin woodlands, and savannahs. Image Credit: Lamnoi Manas, Shutterstock Ball pythons in the wild are opportunistic eaters, meaning they arent confined to eating rodents only.

Domesticated ball pythons should eat a diet of fuzzy, pinkie, medium, large, or jumbo rats and micedepending on their life stage. Just remember that even though wild ball pythons eat local rodents and wildlife, that doesnt mean your pet can. Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy.

A mother to four human children and 23 furry and feathery kids, too Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. A mother to four human children and 23 furry and feathery kids, too Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds.

Ball pythons are excellent pets for people who like snakes. Theyre relatively low-maintenance, theyre small, and theyre clean. But they have dietary needs that are very different from a cat or dog. As a new ball python owner youll need to know what to feed your snake, how often to feed it, and what to do if it wont eat.

As a general rule, you should select a rodent that is 1 to 1.25 times the size of the midsection of your snake. Your pet snake, though, will be fine with fresh pre-killed or even frozen rodents (youll need to thaw them first.)

Even small rodent bites can cause infection that will make your snake sick. Maintain a comfortable temperature, avoid disturbances, and watch for signs of shedding and illnesses. Your vet can give your snake a thorough examination to determine if it has parasites or another health-related problem.

Reptile Guide: 9 Irrefutable Reasons Why Ball Pythons Make Great Pets.

HABITAT AND DIET

Pythons can be difficult to find and watch long enough to learn their habits. They are found in rainforests, grasslands and savannas, woodlands, swamps, rocky outcrops, desert sand hills, and shrub lands, depending on the species. Pythons may be active day or night, depending on species, habitat, and when prey is most active.Most pythons seek shelter in tree branches or hollows, among reeds, in rocky outcrops, or in abandoned mammal burrows. Two exceptions are the woma and the black-headed python, the only pythons known to create their own burrow by digging with the head and scooping out the dirt by curving their neck. Their jaws are countersunk, lower jaw fitting inside the upper jaw, which keeps dirt out of the snake’s mouth.Like most snakes, pythons don’t chase after their prey. Instead, they are ambush hunters. They use both sight and smell to locate prey. Pythons also have an additional advantage: most have special temperature-sensitive “pits,” or holes, along their jaws that can sense the heat of a nearby animal. This helps them find warm-blooded prey even in the dark or among dense foliage.The python is a constrictor. It grabs its prey with its teeth, then quickly wraps coils of its body around the prey and squeezes. The python doesn’t actually crush the prey and break its bones, though. Instead, it squeezes tightly so that its prey can’t breathe; each time its prey exhales, the constrictor tightens its coils to take up space, causing suffocation. The python can also feel the prey’s heart beating, so when it stops, the snake knows it is safe to release its coils and begin to eat.The snake then begins the leisurely process of unfolding its jaw and swallowing the prey whole, usually head first. The skull’s joints are able to flex and fold along with its extremely pliable skin to maximize the mouth space, allowing very large food items to pass through its esophagus. This is accomplished with rhythmic muscular contractions that pull the prey down the snake’s throat and into its stomach. How does the snake breathe while its mouth is full? It has a special tube in the bottom of its mouth that stays open to one side to take in air.If this all sounds grotesque, think about the feeding behavior of a pride of lions—the python’s method is much less messy! Constrictors are able to minimize the stress of their prey and injury to themselves by using this fast and efficient method.Depending on the size of the snake, pythons may eat rodents, birds, lizards, and mammals like monkeys, wallabies, pigs, or antelope. One rock python was even found to have a small leopard in its stomach! Once the meal is consumed, pythons look for a warm place to rest while their food is digested.Arboreal pythons have unusually longer teeth than their ground-dwelling kin. This may help them penetrate through the feathers of birds. Their tail is also extremely prehensile, allowing these snakes to launch three quarters or more of their body at prey during a strike.

FAMILY LIFE

Unlike their close relatives the boas, pythons lay eggs. Some lay them in a shallow nest or even cover them with leaves and soil. But what’s really remarkable is that most python mothers stay coiled around their eggs to protect them while the eggs develop; if the temperature gets too cold, the mothers of some species warm their eggs up by “shivering.” This involves rhythmic contractions of the muscles and is described as looking like the snake has the hiccups. This is known as thermogenesis.Even though snakes are ectothermic, the mother python can, amazingly, raise the temperature of her eggs a few degrees by doing this. It takes a lot of energy, though, so she may not reproduce again for two to three years as she gains back the weight she lost. After the eggs hatch, she leaves, and the babies are on their own.

Ball Python Origin

Ball pythons have grown in popularity—and many breeders have dealt their cards creating morphs that are too cool for school. Even though ball pythons are one of the most popular snake choices for reptile lovers all over, their natural roots tell a different story.

Habitat

Ball pythons are native to West Africa, thriving in wetlands, thin woodlands, and savannahs. They need an environment that will nourish their scales, keeping them soft to shed naturally.Generally, ball pythons hang out next to a water source, so it is plentifully available to them at all times. They use the water to regulate their body temperature. Also, they like to stay tucked out of sight, steering clear of any predators nearby.

Natural Diet

A ball python’s natural diet consists of small rodents, shrews, and birds. They eat roughly every week or two in the wild, but it can be more or less depending on the available opportunities.

Wild Ball Python vs. Domesticated Python Diet

Even though snakes are fierce predators themselves, that doesn’t mean they’re safe from all. Ball pythons have quite a few natural predators to mention, such as:Even humans can technically be predators to ball pythons. We invade their natural habitats, and some capture them for the snake trade. In any case, we are to blame as well for population disruption.

Feeding Method

Your domesticated ball python has a great advantage over its wild cousins. They get meals literally dropped in front of them to enjoy. Wild pythons, on the other hand, have to work for their food. Wild ball pythons will stalk their prey and strike aggressively.

Ball Python Diet

Their feeding needs vary depending on their size, and you don’t need to feed them every day.

Common Concerns Feeding Ball Pythons

Ball pythons are picky eaters. And if your snake is new, know that snakes — and especially ball pythons — are sometimes too stressed to eat in their new home environment for weeks or even months. If your ball python won’t eat, understanding why can help you know how to encourage your snake to eat again.