All About Ball Python Poop: Colors, Runny, and More

As a ball python enthusiast and owner, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with these fascinating creatures, including the not-so-glamorous aspect of their care: poop.

Poop is usually one of the first signs that something is wrong with the health of any pet. When the dropping changes in any way, it’s time to be on the lookout for other signs of illness and be prepared to act.

What Does Ball Python Poop Look Like?

As a fellow ball python enthusiast, I know that understanding your pet’s poop might not be the most glamorous aspect of snake care, but it’s an essential part of monitoring their health.

By keeping a watchful eye on your ball python’s poop, you can detect potential health problems early and take appropriate action.

Healthy Ball Python Poop

Ball pythons aren’t like other pets when it comes to their bathroom habits. Due to their low metabolism, they don’t need to poop as frequently as, say, a dog or cat. In fact, it’s common for ball pythons to have a bowel movement every few weeks or even once a month.

How often a ball python poops can vary depending on factors like diet, age, and individual differences. So, don’t be alarmed if your snake’s poop schedule doesn’t match that of your other pets!

Healthy ball python poop is composed of two main parts: urates and fecal matter. Urates are the snake’s version of urine, and they’re usually white, chalky, and somewhat firm.

Fecal matter, on the other hand, is typically brown and has a soft, slightly mushy consistency. The size and shape of the poop can vary, but it’s generally proportional to the size of the snake and the prey it has recently consumed.

The feces should be firm but not too hard, while the urates should be relatively dry and break apart easily. It’s normal for the feces to have a slight smell, but it shouldn’t be overwhelmingly unpleasant.

Your ball python’s poop can also vary based on its diet and individual characteristics. For example, if your snake has eaten a larger meal, you might notice that its poop is slightly bigger and softer than usual.

Similarly, if your snake has been fasting or is dehydrated, the poop may appear smaller and drier.

It’s also worth noting that ball pythons, like humans, have their own unique quirks when it comes to bowel movements.

Some snakes might consistently produce poop that’s a bit softer or firmer than what’s typically considered “normal.” As long as your snake is otherwise healthy and its poop doesn’t suddenly change drastically, these minor variations are usually nothing to worry about.

Abnormal Ball Python Poop

If your ball python’s poop appears abnormal, it may indicate an underlying health issue. Some signs of abnormal poop include:

1. Green Poop

You might occasionally see greenish poop, especially after your snake has eaten prey with a high amount of green plant matter in its stomach. This is normal and not a cause for concern.

However, green poop can also result from a bacterial infection or an imbalance in the snake’s gut flora.

You should not take any chances and should consult your veterinarian if you notice green feces, as your ball python may require antibiotics or probiotics.

2. Yellow Poop

If your snake’s poop is consistently yellow or orange, it could be a sign of kidney issue or excess bile in their system, which may indicate a liver issue. Usually, this is when dark yellow or orange urates mix into the stool during a bowel movement.

Yellowish feces can also be a sign of dehydration. Make sure your ball python has access to fresh water and that their enclosure maintains proper humidity levels. If the yellow poop persists, consult your vet for further guidance.

3. Red Poop

The most concerning color in your snake’s poop is probably red. Red or bloody feces can indicate internal bleeding, injury, or a parasitic infection. This is a cause for concern, and you should seek veterinary assistance immediately.

4. White Poop

Although urates are typically white, if the entire feces is white and lacks a solid, dark part, it could signal a lack of proper digestion or absorption of nutrients. A visit to the vet is necessary to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

5. Watery or Runny Poop

Watery or runny feces may be a sign of diarrhea, which can result from stress, parasites, or an inappropriate diet.

Causes of Runny Poop

1: Stress: Ball pythons can experience stress from various factors, including changes in their environment, handling, or even the presence of other animals. Stress can lead to digestive issues, resulting in runny poop.

2: Improper diet: Feeding your ball python an inappropriate diet, such as prey that is too large or too frequent feedings, can lead to digestive problems and runny feces.

3: Overhydration or dehydration: Both overhydration and dehydration can impact your ball python’s digestive system, causing abnormal feces consistency.

4: Parasites: Internal parasites, such as worms or protozoa, can cause digestive issues and lead to runny poop in ball pythons.

5: Infections: Bacterial or viral infections in the gastrointestinal tract can also result in runny feces, as they disrupt the normal digestive process.

Practical Solutions

1: Assess the snake’s environment: Ensure your ball python’s enclosure has appropriate temperature gradients, humidity levels, and hiding spots to reduce stress and promote healthy digestion.

2: Review their diet: Double-check that you are feeding your ball python the correct prey size and frequency. When my ball python experienced runny poop, I realized I was feeding prey that was too large, and adjusting the size made a significant difference.

3: Monitor hydration: Keep an eye on your snake’s water intake and ensure they have access to clean water at all times. Maintain appropriate humidity levels to prevent dehydration.

4: Parasite treatment: If you suspect parasites, consult a reptile veterinarian who can diagnose and recommend appropriate treatment for your ball python.

5: Veterinary consultation: If runny poop persists or your snake shows signs of illness, such as lethargy or weight loss, seek the advice of a reptile veterinarian to determine the cause and develop a suitable treatment plan.

How Often Does a Ball Python Poop?

One common question that new and experienced ball python owners often ask is, “How often does a ball python poop?”

Typically, a ball python will poop approximately one week after eating a meal. Based on my experience and observations, a healthy ball python typically poops every 2 to 6 weeks.

However, each snake is unique, and factors like their diet, age, and overall health can influence their bowel movement frequency.

As long as your snake is active, has a healthy appetite, and shows no signs of distress or illness, the frequency of their bowel movements should not be a cause for concern.

If you notice any sudden changes in your ball python’s defecation frequency or if they haven’t pooped in more than 8 weeks, it’s a good idea to consult with a reptile-savvy veterinarian to rule out any potential health issues.

Factors Affecting Ball Python Poop Frequency

1: Feeding schedule: Ball pythons are primarily known for their low metabolism, which means they don’t eat as often as other pets. Their feeding schedule directly affects how often they poop. A snake that eats more frequently will likely defecate more often than one that eats less frequently.

2: Size and age: The size and age of your ball python can also influence their bowel movement frequency. Younger and smaller snakes might have more frequent bowel movements due to their faster metabolism, while older and larger snakes tend to have slower metabolism and might poop less frequently.

3: Prey size and type: The size and type of prey your ball python consumes can have an impact on their defecation frequency. Larger prey items or those with higher fat content might take longer to digest, leading to less frequent bowel movements.

Why Is My Ball Python Not Pooping?

As a ball python owner, you may occasionally face situations where your ball python doesn’t poop for a while. This can be worrisome for any reptile parent, but understanding the possible reasons can help alleviate your concerns and guide you on when to seek professional help.

Here are the reasons why your ball python is not pooping:

1. Feeding frequency

Ball pythons don’t poop as often as other animals due to their low metabolism and infrequent feeding schedule. If you’ve recently fed your ball python, give it some time to digest the meal before expecting a bowel movement.

2. Shedding cycle

Ball pythons often hold onto their waste during the shedding process. Once your pet has completed shedding, it’s likely to poop within a few days.

3. Brumation

In colder months, ball pythons may go through a period of reduced activity called brumation. During this time, their metabolism slows down, and they may not poop as frequently.

4. Incorrect temperature and humidity

Ball pythons need a specific range of temperatures and humidity levels to thrive. If these conditions are off, it can affect their digestion and bowel movements. Ensure that your python’s enclosure meets the recommended temperature and humidity guidelines.

5. Stress

A stressed ball python may have irregular bowel movements. Factors like improper handling, a noisy environment, or sudden changes in the enclosure can cause stress. Identify and address the stressors to improve your python’s well-being.

6. Constipation

Ball pythons can become constipated, leading to infrequent or absent bowel movements. This can be caused by various factors, including dehydration, low enclosure temperatures, or consuming a prey item that’s too large.

7. Impaction

If your ball python has swallowed foreign objects like substrate, it can lead to impaction, preventing the snake from pooping. This requires immediate attention from a veterinarian.

When to Seek Help

If your python hasn’t pooped for an extended period (over a month) or is showing signs of distress, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or visible discomfort, consult a reptile veterinarian. Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your pet’s health.

How to Make a Ball Python Poop

Sometimes, ball pythons might have trouble pooping, which can lead to discomfort and potential health issues. Here are some tried-and-true methods that I have used to help my ball pythons poop when needed:

1. Reduce Prey Size

Feeding your ball python prey that is too large can cause digestive problems and make it difficult for them to poop. To avoid this, always ensure that the prey you’re feeding is no wider than the widest part of your ball python’s body. If you notice that your snake is struggling to pass waste, consider reducing the prey size in their next meal.

2. Give Your Pet Some Exercise

Encouraging your ball python to move around can help stimulate their digestive system and promote bowel movements. Provide ample opportunities for your snake to explore and exercise, either inside their enclosure or in a controlled, safe environment outside of it.

3. Soak Frozen Foods

If you feed your ball python frozen prey, make sure to thoroughly thaw and soak the food before offering it to them. This will ensure that the prey is fully hydrated, making it easier for your snake to digest and pass waste.

4. Soaking Your Ball Python

A warm soak can help stimulate a ball python’s digestive system and encourage them to poop. Place your snake in a shallow container filled with lukewarm water for 15-30 minutes, keeping an eye on them throughout the process.

Always ensure that the water is not too hot or too cold, as extreme temperatures can be harmful to your pet.

5. Provide Fresh Water

Ensuring that your ball python has access to fresh, clean water is essential for their overall health and digestion. Make sure to change the water in their enclosure regularly and encourage them to drink by placing the water dish in an easily accessible location.

6. Increase Humidity

Low humidity levels can contribute to constipation in ball pythons. To help them poop, try increasing the humidity inside their enclosure by misting the substrate or adding a humidity box. Aim for a humidity level of around 50-60% for optimal digestive health.

7. Optimum Temperatures

Proper temperatures are crucial for your ball python’s digestion. Ensure that their enclosure has a temperature gradient, with a warm side (around 88-92°F) and a cool side (around 75-80°F). This allows your snake to self-regulate its body temperature and promotes efficient digestion.

8. Visit the Vet

If you’ve tried all of the above methods and your ball python still isn’t pooping, it’s essential to consult with a qualified reptile veterinarian. They can help determine if there are any underlying health issues and provide appropriate treatment to ensure your pet’s well-being.

Does Ball Python Poop Smell?

The short answer is yes, ball python poop does have an odor, but it’s generally manageable and not overpowering. The intensity of the smell can vary depending on several factors.

The diet of your ball python plays a significant role in determining the smell of their poop. Ball pythons are carnivorous, and their primary diet consists of rodents like mice and rats. The digestion of these protein-rich meals can produce waste with a noticeable odor.

How hydrated a ball python is can also affect the smell of its poop. Dehydration may lead to more concentrated waste, which can be smellier.

The consistency and composition of your ball python’s poop can influence its smell. A healthy ball python poop consists of a dark brown or black solid part (feces) and a chalky white or off-white part (rates).

Typically, the feces will have a stronger smell than the urates. Runny or watery poop may have a more potent odor due to the higher moisture content.

How often your ball python poops can also impact the smell. Ball pythons have a slow metabolism and may poop infrequently, sometimes only once every few weeks or after several feedings.

When they do poop, it can be larger and smellier than you might expect. Regular spot cleaning of their enclosure can help minimize the odor and maintain a clean environment for your reptile friend.

A clean and well-maintained enclosure plays a significant role in controlling the odor of your ball python’s poop. Regular cleaning and proper ventilation can help dissipate any lingering smells. Also, using absorbent and odor-neutralizing bedding materials can help keep unpleasant odors at bay.

How to Clean Ball Python Poop

I can’t stress enough the importance of maintaining a clean and sanitary environment for your scaly friend. In this section, we will discuss the daily and monthly cleaning routines that will help you keep your pet’s habitat in tip-top shape.

Daily Cleaning Routine

1. Spot Cleaning: Spot cleaning is crucial for maintaining a clean environment for your ball python. It involves the removal of soiled substrate, feces, and urates as soon as you notice them.

This helps prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and keeps your pet healthy. When spot cleaning, use a pair of disposable gloves and a designated scoop or tweezers to remove waste materials. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterward to prevent the spread of germs.

2. Replacing Soiled Substrate: Once you’ve removed the waste, it’s essential to replace the soiled substrate with fresh, clean material. This keeps the enclosure smelling fresh and helps maintain a hygienic environment for your pet.

When doing this, ensure you use a substrate that is safe and appropriate for ball pythons, such as aspen shavings, coconut coir, or cypress mulch.

Monthly Cleaning Routine

1. Deep Cleaning the Enclosure: At least once a month, it’s necessary to give your ball python’s enclosure a thorough deep cleaning. This involves removing your pet and all the accessories from the enclosure, then disposing of the old substrate.

Next, use a reptile-safe cleaner or a mild soap and water solution to scrub the interior surfaces of the enclosure. Be sure to rinse the enclosure thoroughly with water to remove any residue and let it air dry completely before adding new substrate and returning your pet and its accessories.

2. Disinfecting Surfaces and Accessories: During the monthly deep cleaning, make sure to disinfect your ball python’s accessories, such as hides, water dishes, and decor.

You can use a reptile-safe disinfectant, like chlorhexidine or a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water). Be sure to rinse the items thoroughly with water after disinfecting them to remove any residue, and let them air dry before placing them back into the enclosure.

Remember to wear gloves when handling cleaning agents and to follow safety guidelines as outlined by the product manufacturer.

Preventing Ball Python Poop Problems

By following the following guidelines and maintaining a vigilant eye on your ball python’s health, you can prevent most poop-related problems and ensure a happy, healthy life for your slithery companion.

1. Temperature and Humidity Levels

Maintaining appropriate temperature and humidity levels in your ball python’s enclosure is crucial for their overall health. Ideal temperatures range from 88 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit on the warm side and 78 to 80 degrees on the cooler side. For humidity, aim for 50 to 60 percent, increasing it to around 70 percent during shedding.

2. Clean and Secure Enclosures

Regularly clean your ball python’s enclosure, removing feces and soiled substrate as soon as possible. A clean environment minimizes the risk of bacterial infections and promotes a healthy digestive system. Ensure the enclosure is secure to prevent your snake from escaping or feeling stressed.

3. Appropriate Prey Size

Feed your ball python appropriately sized prey, usually about the same width as the widest part of their body. Overfeeding or offering prey that’s too large can lead to regurgitation, constipation, or diarrhea.

4. Feeding Frequency

Young ball pythons should be fed every 5 to 7 days, while adults can be fed every 10 to 14 days. Consistent feeding schedules help prevent digestive issues.

5. Observe Your Snake

Keep an eye on your ball python’s behavior, as sudden changes might indicate health problems. If you notice your snake soaking in their water bowl more often or exhibiting unusual lethargy, it could signal an issue with their poop or overall health.

6. Check for Consistency

Regularly monitor the consistency and appearance of your ball python’s poop. Healthy feces should be firm and dark brown, while urates should be white and chalky. If you observe any abnormalities, consult a reptile veterinarian.

7. Regular Checkups

Schedule routine checkups with a qualified reptile veterinarian to ensure your ball python stays in top condition. They can help identify potential issues early and provide advice on proper care techniques.

Snake Poop or Regurgitation? Here’s How to Tell the Difference

Snakes excrete waste in the form of feces and can also regurgitate their food. While both may look similar, there are some key differences between snake poop and regurgitation that can help you tell them apart.

Snake poop, is the solid waste that a snake eliminates after digesting its food. It is usually brown or black in color, and has a soft or firm consistency, depending on the species and the type of food that the snake has eaten. Snake feces may also contain traces of undigested food, such as bones, fur, or feathers.

On the other hand, regurgitation is the act of bringing up partially digested food from the snake’s stomach. This can happen if the snake is disturbed while digesting its meal, if it eats something that it cannot digest, or if it has a health issue that affects its digestive system.

Regurgitated material often looks slimy or mucousy and may contain undigested pieces of food or stomach contents.

To tell the difference between snake poop and regurgitation, you can look for the following signs:

  1. Consistency: Snake poop is generally solid, while regurgitated material is often slimy and liquid-like.
  2. Content: Snake poop may contain traces of undigested food, while regurgitated material may contain partially digested food or stomach contents.
  3. Smell: Snake poop may have a distinctive odor, while regurgitated material may have a foul smell due to the presence of stomach acids.
  4. Timing: Snake poop is usually passed after digestion is complete (around a week’s time), while regurgitation occurs before digestion is complete.


Understanding and monitoring your pet’s waste is a crucial aspect of providing the best possible care for them. From recognizing healthy and abnormal poop colors to addressing issues like runny or smelly feces, being knowledgeable about your ball python’s poop can help you keep them happy and healthy.

If you ever have concerns about your ball python’s poop, don’t hesitate to reach out to the reptile community, consult with a reptile veterinarian, or even share your experiences to gain insights from fellow enthusiasts.

Filled under: Snakes

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