Big Mamma! While I have a few 3000g+ females, this Lemon Pastel is my largest girl at 4000g! Still feeding and growing. I cannot wait until all my 2009-2010 females are at this stage and size. Patience, and holding on to your girls! Many new and/or young impatient breeders will buy up snakes, and all the time flip them before they ever get a single clutch out of them, or right after they do get a clutch or constantly replacing their snakes before they ever give them a chance to grow and age. Nothing wrong with keeping your snakes, this takes years. When I buy snakes or hold back babies, I am thinking 3-5yrs down the line and not just rushing to get them to 1500g.
Many breeders think of 1500g as be the golden weight where all the magic happens. I for one prefer my girls with a bit more age and size to them. As a friend of mine put it, when you breed boas you learn patience. Female boas will not be ready to breed for 3-4yrs and you know this from day one. No rushing it, just feed and be patient. With Balls, everything and everyone is in such a rush to 1500g and eggs whether it be because of racing to be first on a project, or fear of prices coming down and what losing a year will cost them, or because it’s just what they have been told or read somewhere.
There are two schools of thought in breeding ball pythons, size vs age/maturity. Female ball pythons have been bred as small as 1000g and as young as 18MO. While many breeders will vary from 1200g to 1500g to start their breeding regardless of age, some prefer to see a little more meat and more important to them, age on their girls. While I will breed a 18-24MO 1500g female just like anyone else, if I feel they are ready and willing, I actually prefer to wait for their 3rd year and breed them anywhere between 1500-2000g, 1800-2000g even better. Not saying anyone is wrong or right, there are just different ways of doing things and opinions. I prefer to air on the side of maturity and more size vs just “they can breed at X weight”. Many breeders dread when their balls stop feeding at 1200-1300g and stress themselves to death over their snakes not feeding, or losing a year. I can assure you, the snake does not stress one bit by skipping 2-3-6MO of food and is in no way in any danger. The stress you as the keeper/breeder feel is all self imposed..lol
If you go into breeding snakes and think in terms of years vs months and grams, you will enjoy this a whole lot more. If you go into this already thinking in your mind that your females will not breed until 3yrs vs 18MO and 1500g, you will be able to relax and just enjoy your snakes a lot more. And guess what? This way if they are ready at 24MO, great! If not, you will not be stressed out and disappointed. Relax, enjoy your snakes….when they are ready, you will know it.