Are ball pythons aggressive

Ball pythons are not aggressive. They have a gentle nature and are reluctant to bite.

However, ball pythons may strike and bite if they feel stressed or agitated.

Due to their gentle nature and beautiful colors and patterns, ball pythons are favorite pet snake among many snake hobbyists.

Ball pythons are easy to care for and handle. They respond very well to handling. Ball pythons may bite if they are not treated right during handling. Most of the people that have been bitten by ball pythons were bitten during handling. As such, there are concerns on ball pythons aggression.

We conducted extensive research by reading extensively on the internet. Following discussions on ball python forums and enquiring from experienced ball python keepers. We have prepared this article to present our findings to you.

Write to us in the comments section telling us what questions you would like answered and to give us your opinion on ball python aggression.

What is the temperament of a ball python?

Ball pythons are snakes which are well tempered. They have a gentle nature which makes them great beginner pet snakes. Due to their docile nature, ball pythons are easy to handle and care for.

Ball pythons that have been reared in captivity are especially more docile. On the other hand, wild ball pythons captured and reared as pets may have a tendency towards aggression. Do not capture wild ball pythons instead purchase them from reputable local breeders.

When purchasing a new ball python we recommend you go to the pet store in person. As such, you will have the opportunity to handle the ball python you intend to purchase and test out its temperament before purchasing.

Ball pythons have different personalities and therefore different temperaments. Some may be more gentler than others.

Are ball pythons aggressive?

Are ball pythons aggressive
Ball pythons prefer to coil themselves into a tight ball with head tucked in the middle instead of confrontation.

Generally speaking, ball pythons are not aggressive. Ball pythons are gentle snakes that are reluctant to bite. In fact, ball pythons are very timid and prefer to avoid confrontation. When threatened they prefer to coil their body into a tight ball with their head tucked at the middle.

Although ball pythons are generally gentle, a particular ball pythons may be more aggressive than the norm. Ball pythons can potentially lash out and bite whoever is handling them if they feel stressed or agitated. They may also strike if they are not treated right during handling.

Are male or female ball pythons more aggressive?

Neither male nor female ball pythons are aggressive. There is therefore no drawing line between female and male ball pythons in terms of aggression.

Snake aggression is dependent on individual snakes’ personality. Different ball pythons have different personalities. As such, one ball python may tend to be more aggressive than the other.

Both male and female ball pythons are very docile and rarely become aggressive. Aggression in ball pythons is therefore not determined by sex.

Female ball pythons may become aggressive if they have laid eggs and are trying to protect them. This however does not mean that female ball pythons are more aggressive than male ball pythons.

Are baby ball pythons aggressive?

Generally speaking, in most snake species baby snakes are more aggressive. Baby ball pythons may tend to be more aggressive than adult ball pythons.

Baby ball python aggression is usually as a defensive mechanism. They are small in size and may feel threatened by your large size. They see you as a predator and are simply warning not to get too close. Baby ball pythons will however be reluctant to bite but you may come across a real striker.

We recommend buying baby ball pythons from reputable ball python breeders. Captive bred ball pythons are generally less aggressive as they are accustomed to being handled.

What are the instances that a ball python may become aggressive?

A ball python is a gentle snake that makes a good pet snake even for beginner hobbyist. However, when stressed or agitated a ball python may become aggressive and could possible strike out and bite.

There are a number of instances that a ball python may become agitated and bite whoever is handling them. You should be weary of these instances and avoid handling your ball python then.

1.       During feeding

Your ball python may occasionally become aggressive when it is near feeding time. Ball pythons regard anyone who approaches them during feeding as competition. They may become aggressive to defend their food.

Ball pythons are defensive even after a meal. It is best to avoid handling your ball python before or after a meal to avoid being bitten. You can handle the ball python after they have had a bowel movement or after the lump of feeding is no longer visible.

2.       If you smell like their prey

Another occasion where a ball python may strike you, is if they smell something edible on you. Avoid handling a ball python if you recently played with a mouse or any other type of rodent.

We recommend washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water if you intend to handle your ball python. This will help remove any smell of prey that may be on you.

Alternatively, you can purchase good pet handling gloves such as the RAPPICA animal handling gloves. Good snake handling gloves will help protect your hands from being bitten. They are therefore handy when handling ball pythons.

3.       During the shedding process

Ball pythons just like other snakes become aggressive around the time of shedding. Avoid handling your ball python if you notice they are about to shed.

Additionally, your ball pythons’ new skin can be very sensitive. If handled after shedding your ball python may get agitated and strike you.

We recommend waiting until a day or two after shedding before attempting to handle your ball python.

4.       When they are protecting their eggs
Female ball python protecting her eggs
Female ball python protecting her eggs

A female ball python may become aggressive towards anyone handling them when they are protecting their eggs. It is best to avoid handling a female ball python with eggs if you notice the tale tell signs of a ball python that is about to strike.

If you need to clean their enclosure, to add or remove something from the enclosure, wear snake handling gloves. Avoid putting hands into your snakes’ enclosure when she has eggs so as not to stress her.


Ball pythons are docile snakes native to west and central Africa. Their gentle nature and relatively small size makes them a favorite in the exotic pet industry. Unlike other snakes, when threatened they prefer to coil into a tight ball with their head firmed tucked in the middle.

Ball pythons are not aggressive snakes, however, when stressed or agitated they may lash out and strike whoever is handling them. There are several instances that a ball python may bite their handler including.

  1. Before or after feeding time
  2. During the shedding period
  3. When a female is protecting her eggs
  4. Handling them after handling their potential prey

Ball pythons like other snakes will warn you before they bite you. It is best to be weary of the tale tell signs of a snake that is about to strike to avoid being bitten.

Related; Are corn snakes aggressive?

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