Why yes, it is time for breeding.
For some lucky folks, there is never a delegated breeding TIME persay, but for Ball Pythons, there is (kinda).
In an effort to clarify the breeding season, we shall begin from the beginning.
Technically you can breed Ball Pythons all year long if one should so choose, but you need to have the correct temps to stimulate the fall season, as well as some outside stimuli as well.
We are going over this as if it were naturally the fall, beginning in October.
October is a good time to start thinking about the breeding season depending on where you are and the environmental temps.
If it really is fall and the leaves are turning and you have to wear a sweater when going outdoors, you are good to go! If not (like here in Southern California, where the seasons come and go as they please), it may be more difficult.
Anyway, assuming that the weather is cooperating and that the temps are getting down into the 60's and below, you can begin cooling your animals. THIS step may not be necessary, but it doesn't hurt to try it IF YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH IT.
Turn your thermostat down to around 85 on the hot side. Let the ambient temps get down to around 70. Now these are not solid numbers to live by, but what has worked out for me in the past. You can go higher, but I would not suggest going much lower than 80 on the hot spot for fear of digestion issues.
Let the animals be for about a month or so. You can begin pairing if you so choose, but don't expect much.
Fast forward to November.
Pair away! Males in the females tubs, 3 days in 4 days out, then rotate.
If you have some finicky males, what I tend to do is find him a girl that suits him. Some of these males can be VERY picky. Some like them BIG, some like them small, some like just one... It happens, and be prepared for it.
BE PREPARED FOR DISAPPOINTMENT.
Some males just aren't ready. Some males don't develop as soon as others do.
Do they have sperm plugs yet? Are they sexually mature? Just because they are "old enough" doesn't mean that they will breed for you...
A couple tricks I have learned to get some males going is to put a male in with a female who has just shed. You can also spray them with a water mist to simulate rain. They breed in the rainy season, so make it RAIN!!!
Or, (and I have yet to try this, but I may) place another males sperm plug on the females back to stimulate competition, which may get the male raring to go.
Another trick is to battle two sexually mature males, but I have never needed to or wanted to do so, so I really don't suggest it.
The loser may just be too upset to do anything, and then, well... you just made your snake sad and unwilling to breed, and possibly upset with you for putting him in that situation.. RAWR. (Just kidding)
But it is true that the loser may just give up for the season, and I don't think the fragile emotional state of a snake is anything to toy with. They bite.
Anyway, pairing continues until February or March, and eggs (if you are sucessful) should be showing up in April-September, depending on the females and breeding.
It takes a LONG TIME.
Be patient. Watch your animals for cues as to how they are doing...
Soon enough I will have photos available for the second part of breeding. THE FEMALE aspect of it, aka follicle development, ovulation, prelay shed, etc...
I hope this helps those of you out there that feel a bit overwhelmed. There is a lot to learn, but remember, its NOT YOU WHO IS BREEDING. The snakes know how to do it WAY better than you do. Let them be.
Enjoy the season!!! It's going to be fun!