Ball Python Female vs Male: Learn How To Tell The Difference

Telling apart male and female snakes is difficult if you aren’t familiar with the key differences. And when it comes to ball pythons, it is perhaps even more tricky!

If you want to own a ball python, it is essential to familiarize yourself with some basics. And one of those essentials surely is gender. But how can you tell the difference between a ball python female and a male? This guide will tell you.

The critical difference between ball python females vs male is their size. A male ball python tends to be smaller in size as compared to their female counterparts. Tales of the female are longer than the males and are pretty thin and slender. Moreover, male anal spurs are bigger and more pronounced than females.

Even though these are the basic differences, let us now have an in-depth analysis of ball python female vs male. 

Male Ball Python vs Female Ball Python: Main Differences 

ball python female vs male
Female Ball PythonMale Ball Python 
Length (Adult)4 to 6 feet2.5 to 3.5 feet
Weight (Adult)4.40 to 6.60 lbs1.98 to 2.64
PoppingDoesn’t pop hemipenisPops hemipenis
ProbingSmall probe length of 3-5 scale rowsLong probe length of 9-15 scale rows
Tail ThicknessThick tail with a prominent bulgeThick tail with prominent bulge
Anal SpursSmall anal spurs; less prominent Large anal spurs; more prominent 

It is important to note that no gender is better than the other. If you are looking for a ball python and are confused about which one to pick, you should know that both a female ball python and a male ball python have unique features. 

But they are ball pythons. So, most of their characteristic features are going to be the same. 

However, here are the main distinguishing features that will help you determine the gender of a ball python. 

  • Female ball pythons are noticeably heavier than male ball pythons and are also longer. Male ball pythons, on the other hand, are small and light. 
  • Male anal spurs are more prominent than female ones. They are bigger than those of females.
  • The female ball python’s tail is slender, pointed, and longer than the male’s. Whereas the male ball python’s tail is blunt and square shaped, smaller in size. 

How to Tell if a Ball Python is Male or a Female: Distinguishing Methods


ball python close up look

The appearance of a ball python female vs male is an excellent parameter while determining the gender. 

A female ball python is usually quite slender, longer, and heavier as well. The adult female ball pythons grow anywhere between 4 to 6 feet. An adult female ball python can weigh anywhere between 4.40 to 6.60 lbs. 

On the other hand, a male ball python only grows up to 2.5 feet to 3.5 feet. And weighs approximately 1.98 to 2.64 lbs. 

If you want to use this method to determine gender, you can do this by examining the length of the snake. However, as we know that ball pythons love to coil themselves in a ball, and knowing their length may not be easy without picking them up.

So, to examine the length, you can pick the ball python up in your hands and have a look at its length and feel its weight to know the gender. 

Here’s an in-depth guide to figuring out the gender of a ball python:

Tail Thickness

female ball python tail

A male ball python has a square-shaped, blunt, more bulged tail. However, a female ball python’s tail is usually quite slender, pointed, long, and sleek. 

The reason why male ball pythons have bulged-out tails is that their hemipenis is located below the cloaca. That’s why their tails are naturally bulged in that region. Whereas in females, due to the lack of hemipenis, their tails have no bulge. 

If you just have a look at a ball python’s tail, determining its gender becomes quite easy as a tail is a very prominent part of its appearance. 

Editor’s Note
This method will work best only if you have both a male and a female ball python right in front of you so that you can have a closer look at their tails and differentiate their appearances. Otherwise, it can be a bit tricky! Unless you are an expert.

Anal Spurs

ball python anal spurs

Anal spurs of male ball pythons are usually bigger than those of females and are used by them for clasping or tickling while mating.

These anal spurs are located beside the cloaca and are tiny leg structures that help the ball pythons not only during mating but also while combating the other snakes. 

A female ball python’s anal spurs however are far less prominent than those of the males and are relatively smaller because anal spurs are mostly used by their male counterparts. 

Editor’s Note
Even though a male’s anal spurs are usually bigger, in some cases they can be just as big as a female’s. This is because the size of anal spurs is also quite subjective. Therefore, this parameter may not be enough while determining a ball python’s gender. 


popping ball python snake

Popping is one of the best methods to determine the gender of a baby ball python. The popping method involves holding the baby snake’s body just before the tail and attempting to release the hemipenis of the snake. 

This is a great method to determine the gender of a baby ball python. However, for adult ball pythons, the popping method is usually not used because it not as effective as it is for baby ball pythons. 

If there is a release of hemipenis by this method, then the gender of the ball python is male. However, if there is no release, then the gender is female. 

Just like any other method, this method also requires that you pay extra care while doing the method as lack of it can be dangerous for the snake. 

Editor’s Note
The reason why the popping method works best for baby ball pythons is that adults have great muscular control and can usually prevent their hemipenis from releasing against their will. So, the popping method would likely not be effective in the case of an adult ball python. 


holding ball python with cloaca showing

Probing is a more professional method of determining the sex of a ball python and is also a more versatile one.

Determining the gender of a ball python using the method of probing involves inserting a thin, long, and lubricated rod inside the snake’s cloaca. How far the rod can go will help you determine the gender of the ball python. 

You can use a probing kit that consists of various probing rods that you might need while following this method. 

If the rod can go further up to the 9th or 15th scale row, then the ball python is a male. However, if the probe rod only goes up to the 3rd or the 5th scale row and doesn’t go any further, the gender is female.

While inserting the rod, you should not go any further than the point where the rod stops moving. If the rod doesn’t go deeper, you should not forcefully try to insert it further. You can mark the point where the rod stops going down. 

Probing is one of the most reliable methods of determining the gender of ball pythons as their features are more prominent. 

While inserting the rod, extra care must be given so as to not hurt the reproductive organs of the ball python. Make sure that only a professional does this method and someone who knows how to handle ball pythons.


Which One’s Better? Ball Python Female Vs Male?

Both have very unique features and unique temperaments. Both make for a docile and friendly pet. However, when it comes to temperament, female ball pythons tend to be less aggressive than male ball pythons. Of course, this is also quite subjective. 

Can Ball Pythons Lay Eggs Without Mating?

Usually, ball pythons reproduce by mating. However, quite rare, ball pythons can have a virgin birth and can lay eggs without mating. This is called parthenogenesis and can be seen in ball pythons. 


Telling apart a ball python female vs male is easy if you take into consideration a few parameters such as their weight, length, tail, etc. 

Female ball pythons are heavier and longer than male ball pythons, and their anal spurs, however, are less prominent than the males’.

Knowing how to differentiate between a male ball python and a female can help you in your search for a perfect snake pet!

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