Ball Python Shedding Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Shedding is scientifically known as ecdysis, this is a natural process your Ball Python will go through.

I’m here to help you understand why, when, and, how your snake will shed their skin, and most importantly, what you can do to help them through this process.

Why Do Ball Pythons Shed?

Ball Pythons, like a lot of reptiles, have inelastic skin, which means their skin won’t stretch as they grow. As a result, they’ll shed their skin regularly to make room for their growing bodies.

Even though adult Ball Pythons have stopped growing, they’ll still shed their skin. Because the skin, being organic matter, eventually deteriorates and needs to be replaced with a fresh layer.

How Often Is The Shedding Process?

The shedding frequency will change as your Ball Python ages, when they’re young they will shed more frequently to keep up with their growth rate.

Age Of Ball PythonShedding Schedule
Hatchling: 0-2 monthsEvery 3-4 weeks
Juvenile: 2-36 monthsEvery 3-4 weeks
Adult: 36 months +Every 4-6 weeks

How Long Does Shedding Take?

Healthy snakes will typically shed their entire top layer of skin in one complete piece. The shedding process should only take 10-14 days. 

If it’s taking longer than this, your snake may be suffering from stuck shed. The scientific name for stuck shed is dysecdysis.

This video clearly demonstrates what to do if this is the case.

Youtube Channel: Snake Discovery

Shedding Signs

Signs of shedding are similar to illness and stress, the best way to find out if your snake is preparing to shed will be the cloudy eyes and wrinkled skin. It’s important to know your pets mannerisms to clearly identify their needs.

  • Lethargic
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dull scale coloration
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Agitated/defensive behavior
  • Cloudy eyes

What To Do During The Shedding Process?

Limit Handling Your Ball Python

When you notice your Ball Python has begun the shedding process, it’s best to avoid handling them unless necessary. 

Shedding can be a stressful time for your snake and being handled may only stress them out more potentially causing you and them injury. 

Stop Feeding Your Ball Python

Your Ball Python will have little to no appetite during the shedding process, even if you offered it food, it’ll likely not eat it.

It’s best to avoid feeding your Ball Python during this time, there is a risk of them regurgitating the food which causes unwanted mess within their enclosure. 

Ensure Correct Enclosure Environment

The enclosure needs to have the correct temperature and humidity requirements to not only provide the best replication of their natural environment, but it will also assist with their shedding process.

Ensure the enclosure levels are;

  • Cool Side: 76°F – 80°F
  • Ambient Temperature: 80°F – 85°F
  • Warm Side: 88°F – 92°F
  • Humidity Levels: 50% – 60%

Provide Coarse Moist Hides

Moist hides are great for your Ball Python during the shedding process, this is because they’ll spend a lot of their time in there. The moisture will help keep the humidity levels high and assist the process.

Providing moist hides with coarse surfaces will allow your snake to rub against which will help remove the shedding skin. I recommend providing objects that replicate their natural environment as best as possible.

Clean The Enclosure

After your snake has finished shedding, you’ll need to immediately clean the cage. Snakes often defecate at the end of the process and this will need to be removed to prevent bacterial infections.

Summary

In summary, Ball Pythons shed their skin regularly to accommodate their growing bodies and replace deteriorating skin. 

Shedding frequency varies depending on the age of the snake, with hatchlings and juveniles shedding every 3-4 weeks, and adults shedding every 4-6 weeks. A healthy snake should shed its entire top layer of skin in one piece within 10-14 days. 

If the shedding process takes longer than 14 days, your snake may be suffering from stuck shed or dysecdysis, which can be harmful, and professional help may be needed.