Feeding Rabbits to Ball Pythons (Are They Harmful Feeders?)
One day you found out that mice and rats from your go-to supplier are out of stock, and the owner says it will take a couple of months before they sell again. But then you saw that there are feeder rabbits for sale. Are they going to be good for a ball python?
In general, rabbits can be eaten by a ball python as long as it is of the appropriate size. Common feeder rabbit breeds are Florida white, New Zealand white, California fryer, and champagne d’argent. Ball pythons should only be fed rabbits no older than 1 month.
A rabbit’s large size made them an uncommon feeder for a ball python. But are there benefits? Or is it harmful to feed them to ball pythons? Read down below to find out!
Can You Feed Rabbits to Ball Pythons?
Young and small rabbits can be fed to ball pythons in captivity. However, adult rabbits must be avoided. In general, ball pythons can only eat rabbits in sizes that fit them which will depend on the age and breed.
Even though ball pythons can be fed rabbits in captivity, I recommend following the 10-15% snake-feeder ratio at all times.
This means for a standard 1,500 grams adult ball python, it can only be fed feeders that weigh 150-200 grams. Rabbits in this size range are often 1-3 weeks old depending on their breed.
I also suggest feeding rabbits only to ball pythons that reached 1,500 grams. This applies to both male and female ball pythons.
However, adult rabbits, which range from 2,000-4,000 grams, should not be given to ball pythons since they are too large.
>>What about feeding mice? Check our guide on giving ball pythons feeder mice!
Effects of Feeding Rabbits to Ball Pythons (Is it Harmful?)
Rabbits are a viable food source for ball pythons and don’t harm the snake when proper precautions are followed. A ball python can digest young rabbits that are around 150-200 g in a span of 7-10 days depending on the temperature.
While digesting their prey, ball pythons typically stay under a hide and have slow movements. Because during this time, most of their energy is being utilized for digestive processes. 
Rabbits are leaner and have more protein percentage in calorie intake. So the main benefit of feeding rabbits is that they do not have as much fat as other rodents. This means feeding rabbits to an obese ball python can result in it losing some weight.
Rabbits can be part of a ball python’s staple diet. But I do not recommend them because of their size and cost. When feeding adult ball pythons, you should have a stable supplier of 1-3 week old rabbits which are hard to find.
Breeding rabbits solely for ball python consumption will also be hard since rabbits grow fast. Meaning, that you must be able to produce baby rabbits monthly because if they are over a month, there is a high chance they will be too big for a ball python.
Rabbits can produce up to 6-8 litter a year. So on average, a healthy doe can produce a litter every 2 months .
Nutritional Value of Rabbits Compared to Rats
Even though both are rodents, rabbits tend to be slightly leaner than rats. Regarding nutritional value, both are almost identical when compared at equal weight.
|Nutrient||Rabbit (100g)||Rat (100g)|
In reference to the table above, the only major difference is the amount of fat in them. Rabbits are leaner and much larger than most feeders making them staple in diets of bigger snakes rather than ball pythons [3, 4].
4 Rabbit Breeds Used as Feeders for Ball Pythons
Rabbits that are generally used as feeders are those who provide the best meat-to-bone ratio. These meat-type rabbits include 1) Florida white, 2) New Zealand white, 3) California fryer, and 4) champagne d’argent.
Adult feeder rabbits cannot be taken down by an adult ball python. Adult rabbits can weigh ranging from 2,000-5,000 grams which cannot be eaten by an adult ball python.
1. Florida White
The Florida white rabbit is one of the smallest breeds recommended as a feeder reaching only 5-6 lbs as adults. Ball pythons can only eat weaned ones that weigh approximately 200-400 grams which is optimal for adult ball pythons 2,000 grams above.
Florida whites are similar in appearance to the new Zealand white rabbits but can be differentiated by their smaller size.
2. New Zealand White
New Zealand white rabbits are one of the most common meat-type breeds in the world. As a ball python feeder, the recommended ages for a New Zealand white are 1-2 weeks old which can weigh 150-300 grams.
New Zealand white rabbits are bigger than their distant relative the Florida white. Adult New Zealand whites can reach 10lbs upwards in weight.
3. California Fryer
Another common meat-type breed, the California fryer rabbit can weigh from 8-10lbs. As a ball python feeder, the recommended ages for a California fryer are 1-2 weeks old which can weigh 150-300 grams.
California fryers are similar in size to New Zealand whites. One difference is that most California fryers have distinct black markings on their face and ears.
4. Champagne D’argent
Champagne d’argent rabbits are a meat-type breed that can weigh up to 12 lbs as full-grown adults. As a ball python feeder, champagne d’argents can be fed only from 1-2 weeks old (200-350 grams) because of their large size.
Champagne D’argens are slightly bigger than California fryers. They are distinguishable by their silver coat and dark-colored nose.
3 Things to Remember Before Feeding Rabbits to Ball Pythons
Before feeding rabbits to ball pythons, it is recommended to keep in mind their 1) size, 2) frequency, and 3) feeder state.
Since rabbits are larger than typical feeders, they are recommended to be fed to adult ball pythons 1,500 grams and above. As ball python feeders, the recommended age for a rabbit must be less than a month, preferably 1-3 weeks old.
As mentioned earlier, I recommend the 10-15% feeder ratio in feeding rabbits for your adult ball python . For example ball pythons weighing 2000 grams are recommended to be fed 200-300 grams of feeders.
|1-6 days old||50-80|
|1 week old||100-150|
|2 weeks old||200-250|
|3 weeks old||300-400|
|4 weeks old||500-600|
In rare exceptions, some adult female ball pythons can reach sizes of over 5.5-6ft in length and weigh around 4kg and 5kg.
Ball pythons that reach this size can also be fed juvenile rabbits once a month with the appropriate weight (500-600g).
If ball pythons are fed rabbits weighing 200 grams and above, it is recommended to only feed them once a month. For rabbits weighing 150 grams below, it can be given at least twice a month.
I recommend giving your ball pythons some rabbits as occasional treats if you are not planning to make it a staple diet.
This means that if there is no stable supply of young rabbits, it will become difficult for you when your ball python refuses other types of feeders.
Ball pythons can eat rabbits as live, pre-killed, and frozen-thawed feeders. However, it is recommended to give them as pre-killed feeders when they are at the weaned or juvenile stage.
Baby rabbits that have not yet opened their eyes can be given either live, pre-killed, or frozen-thawed. I suggest that you choose which one you are ethically comfortable with.
Nevertheless, weaned and juvenile rabbits are ideally given pre-killed or frozen-thawed.
Rabbits at the weaned and juvenile stages are already large and can inflict serious injuries if offered to ball pythons while alive. They can use their long front teeth and sharp claws to defend themselves so smaller snakes like ball pythons can be harmed by them if fed live.
Can a ball python digest a rabbit’s fur?
Ball pythons cannot digest a rabbit’s hair because is made up of keratin. So when they are finished digesting food, they will excrete the undigested waste into feces. That is why sometimes a ball python excretes 2 feces, One with the regular color brown and one that varies depending on what color of the fur of your feeder.
Do ball pythons eat rabbits in the wild?
Ball pythons have not been sighted to eat rabbits in the wild. Though they can if the opportunity arises since they are ambush predators. They will eat anything that is appropriately sized for them. There are even reports of wild ball pythons eating domesticated chickens so a rabbit is possibly included in their diet in the wild.
Summary of Can a Ball Python Eat Rabbits?
Ball pythons can eat rabbits however, it must be size-appropriate for them. Compared to other feeders, rabbits are leaner and have more protein percentage in their calorie content.
Rabbits that are generally used as feeders for pythons are those who provide the best meat-to-bone ratio. Some meat-type rabbits are Florida white, New Zealand white, California fryer, and champagne d’argent.
Before feeding a rabbit to a ball python, ensure that it is of the appropriate size, frequency, and state. Otherwise, the python could be seriously injured due to feeding.